Archive for July, 2008

Professor Randy Pausch is no more

July 26, 2008

CMU Professor Randy Pausch of “the last lecture” fame is no more. He died of cancer on July 25, 2008.

 

On September 18, 2007, Professor Randy surprised everyone in CMU by giving a talk with an unusual title “The Last Lecture – Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. Quoting from his personal experiences he related to the career goals and personal goals of students during their formative years. It was such a touching, inspirational and thought provoking talk that millions of students watched his lecture that became the top video in YouTube video sharing service.

 

He was just 47; has 3 small children. The positive way in which he took life as it unfolds – cancer of pancreas and with just months of life left – is a lesson for all human beings. It reminds of Parikshit – the king and grandson of Arjuna, who had only seven days left; Parikshit used the seven days to listen to Srimad Bhagavatam in the form Saptaham (7 days), the tradition behind Bhagavata Saptaham till date.

 

Randy is no more; but he has left behind a better world – millions of people whom he influenced in the past 10 months are better human beings. That is ultimately the purpose of life!

Intel Teach Program event

July 25, 2008

It was a great experience to be with nearly 300 Principals of the various schools where Intel Teach program is active on Wednesday July 23, 2008 at RV Teachers College, Jayanagar.

 

Organized by Prerana Educators Network (President Ms Padmini being an extra-ordinary teacher & organizer), the event was well attended and organized.

 

Mr. Ashok Manoli in his keynote talked of the need to address issues of “digital divide” and “rural urban divide”.

 

Mr. Subodh Manav and Mr. Suryanarayanan of Intel were there; it is nice to see the young managers not only arranging Intel funding, but also contributing their personal time.

 

In my brief talk I brought the attention of the teachers to the fact that Intel Chairman Dr Craig Barrett was a professor at Stanford with an outstanding textbook to his credit.

 

I also urged the teachers to realize how lucky we are to be the teachers, who shape “India’s Tomorrow” (the true “IT) and how IT will be increasingly “invisible”. I also hinted to them that access (PC, network penetration), availability (reliability & costs) and affordability (costs) will NOT be an issue 5 to10 years from now. The challenge will be to engage the students in all the 4 L’s of Learning, namely, Lecture (e-Learning), Library (Digital Library), Laboratory (remote lab access like iLab) and Life. It will be possible to give “individual” attention to every student using technology (like N=1 of Professor CK Prahalad)

Using the experiment of installing ring tones where COO’s failed but the drivers succeeded, I also put at bay the “digital divide” is more of “digital dividend” (the same can be said of “rural urban divide” too.

Karnataka Chief Minister addresses the captains of IT & BT industry

July 24, 2008

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka Mr. Yeddyurappa addressed the CEO’s of several IT (Information Technology) and BT (Bio Technology) companies on July 23, 2008 at 8 PM over a Dinner meet.

 

He was joined by several of his cabinet colleagues (including Hon’ble IT Minister Mr. Naidu) and several senior IAS officers (including the Chief Secretary).

 

I was asked to give my opening remarks. I was a bit out of place (the only other Professor being Prof. Sharat Chandra of IISc). I used the opportunity to get across to the government that IT & BT industry have contributed a lot to the growth of Karnataka in general & Bangalore in particular.

 

There is no city in the world like Bangalore – the top 2 firms in every segment being present – HP & IBM, Intel & AMD, Microsoft & Oracle, SAP & Oracle, nVidia & ATI, TI & Intel, Samsung & LG, Siemens & ABB, Cadence & Synoptics, Philips & Samsung, Nokia & Motorola, Accenture & EDS, Microsoft & Redhat, Freescale & Infineon, and, of course, the world headquarters of Infosys & Wipro

Karnataka is No 1.

 

Yet, I also pointed out that just in the last year AP grew 40+ percent, Tamil Nadu grew 20+ percent, while Karnataka grew only 10+ percent. Companies like SAP who planned to grow only in Bangalore are growing elsewhere. It is time the government recognizes the trend, make it an inviting place and arrest the falling growth. Like human beings, industry also “want to be wanted”

 

Several eloquent speakers followed me; Kiran of Biocon and Kris of Infosys.

 

The team came on time; in fact, the CM was ahead of time. Everyone appreciated the spirit; one hopes Karnataka will be in the growth path again.

 

The CM agreed to meet 3 months later and apprise every one of the “ground level action”; it will be interesting to watch