The prestigious IIT Madras Distinguished Alumnus Awards were instituted in 1996. They are awarded annually to alumni of the institute in recognition of their professional or individual achievements or for service they have rendered to the community. The awards are presented annually.
Shri Rajesh Jha received his Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 1988, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1990. He serves on the Advisory Board for the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Jagran Foundation in Bellevue, Washington. He is the holder of multiple patents from his early days as a software engineer.
Shri Jha joined Microsoft in 1990, developing multiple product releases with the Microsoft Works team. He moved on to create multimedia technologies in the Consumer Division and, as a Director of Development, worked for several years developing early versions of cloud-delivered services. Continuing on his path of success in the company, Mr. Jha then became the Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Project and Microsoft Outlook. He oversaw the early planning, subsequent execution and scale-out of the cloud-based commercial services that grew into Microsoft Office 365.
As Executive Vice President of Microsoft's Office Product Group, Shri Jha leads the development and service engineering teams for Microsoft Office – spanning Office 365, Office applications, SharePoint, Exchange, Skype, Project and OneNote. Most recently, he served as Corporate Vice President, leading teams that helped reinvent productivity and collaboration, including delivering Office 365 cross platform and through the cloud. Office 365 is one of the fastest-growing commercial services in the industry, and is used by businesses, governments and educational institutions worldwide, providing powerful security controls, advanced analytics, and voice communication. Office 365 provides industry leading productivity, communication and collaboration services that are used by hundreds of millions of users on their PCs or mobile devices – secure, trusted and powered by intelligence to allow users to achieve more. By pioneering new online services, Shri Jha and his team are at the forefront of enabling Microsoft Corporation's transformation to a mobile-first, cloud-first world a reality.
For his exceptional business acumen coupled with innovations in software and productivity systems, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Shri Rajesh Jha.
Shri V. M. Thomas' career illustrates how commitment and vision, along with leadership in building a highly-committed and motivated work force, led to the astounding growth of Johnson Lifts into a leading national player for lifts and escalators.
Shri Thomas graduated from IIT Madras with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1973. He then joined Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. as a Management Trainee. In 1982, he joined TI Diamond Chain as Production Manager. Two years later, he joined his family venture, Johnson Lifts Pvt. Ltd., as a Director. His tenure at Johnson Lifts has succeeded in transforming this small-scale firm into a well-known brand and a leading manufacturer of lifts and escalators, an Indian company matching the multinationals in every aspect of business.
Shri Thomas' venture into the mechanical engineering industry began with his decade-long service at HAL, where he implemented the SRE-G7 Antenna manufacturing with Italian collaboration. During his brief stay at TI Diamond Chain, he established the Solid Roller division and introduced new systems and concepts which led to record production. Most notable among his achievements is the tremendous growth of Johnson Lifts into a leading national supplier of elevators and escalators, competing with the multi-nationals such as Kone, Schindler, OTIS, etc. Johnson Lifts as an SSI Unit produced 24 lifts in the year 1984, whereas in 2017, it produced around 10,000 lifts and more than 300 escalators from 4 plants. Shri Thomas' monumental accomplishment exemplifies his managerial and leadership flair, as does governing a company for more than 30 years without losing a single man-hour on account of labor issues. Manufacturing lifts and escalators for national clients such as Metro rail projects, Airports, the Parliament House, the Supreme Court of India, etc., has resulted in prodigious growth in the face of fierce competition in the industry. All his factories are ISO 14001 certified.
Shri Thomas also holds the Directorship of the Joint Venture, Toshiba Johnson Elevator India Pvt. Ltd. His contributions extend beyond the industrial realm. He is an active social worker and a nature lover. Actively connected with YMCA, he was the Chairman of YMCA - Kilpauk during the period 1988-90. He has also served the Lions Blood Bank, Egmore, in the various capacities of Trustee, Secretary and Chairman. He is a passionate farmer, having planted and nurtured over 3000 trees in his farms.
For his business leadership and acumen, and for his social and ecological commitment, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Shri V. M. Thomas.
Prof. Anand Raghunathan received his Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from IIT Madras in 1992, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University in 1994 and 1997, respectively.
Dr. Raghunathan is currently a Professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Purdue University, and directs research in the Integrated Systems Laboratory. Dr.Raghunathan is also the C.R. Muthukrishnan Distinguished Chair Professor (Visiting) at the Centre for Computational Brain Research at IIT Madras. Previously, he was a Senior Research Staff Member at NEC Laboratories in Princeton, New Jersey. He received “Patent of the Year Award” (an award recognizing the invention that has achieved the highest impact), and two Technology Commercialization Award from NEC.
Prof. Raghunathan has authored a book, 9 book chapters, and more than 230 refereed journal and conference papers (with 8 best paper awards and a most-cited paper award) in top-tier IEEE and ACM journals, and holds 22 issued patents. He was honoured among the top-10 authors over the first fifty years of the ACM/IEEE Design Automation Conference, and his paper was among the 10 most-downloaded from the entire ACM Digital Library (across all conferences/journals) in 2004. He was chosen by MIT's Technology Review among the TR35 (top 35 innovators under 35 years, across various disciplines of science and technology) in 2006, for his work on "making mobile secure".
Dr. Raghunathan has been a member of the technical program and organizing committees of several leading conferences and workshops. He has served as Technical Program Chair for four premier conferences and on the Editorial Board of seven top-tier IEEE and ACM journals. His sterling work has resulted in manifold forms of awards and accolades including the IEEE Meritorious Service Award (2001) and Outstanding Service Award (2004). He is a Fellow of the IEEE and was elected a Golden Core Member of the IEEE Computer Society in 2001, in recognition of his contributions.
For his praiseworthy commitment to excellence in innovative and impactful research, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to bestow this award upon Prof. Anand Raghunathan.
Dr. K. Virupaksha Reddy graduated with a Master’s degree in Chemistry from IIT Madras in 1972, after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from the Government Arts College in Anantapur. During his Ph.D. in the Physical Chemistry Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he developed pulsed and CW lasers to study rates of chemical reactions using intra-cavity laser excitation schemes. This work was widely cited, gaining appreciation from stalwarts across the field.
Dr. Reddy joined the Amoco Research Center in 1981 after brief stints at Allied Chemicals and McDonnell Douglas. It was at Amoco that his innovative talents came to the forefront and paved the way to the invention of a primer-less painting technology for composite panels by flash evaporation with nanosecond duration ultra-violet lasers. Significantly, he also invented ultra-stable direct ablation of Teflon using the same ultra-violet laser. He had the technical insight to identify and build, in 1992, the world’s first commercial femtosecond fiber laser in a compact box.
In 1995, Dr. Reddy founded PriTel, Inc., to commercialize Femtosecond Fiber Lasers (FFL), in close collaboration with the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton, UK. In 1996, he ingeniously combined optical technologies with RF electronics to develop a mechanism to provide a stable train of optical pulses at repetition rates of up to 1200 Gbps. Over the course of 22 years, Dr. Reddy continued to innovate and maintain his focus on this niche hardware market. PriTel, Inc., now has a global customer base with 80% of its revenue derived from outside of the USA.
Dr. Reddy and his wife, Sarveswari, support the institutions that laid the foundation for his success through contributions to IIT Madras, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Southampton in the form of endowed Chairs, endowed scholarships, lecture series, and numerous other philanthropic mechanisms. Dr. Reddy has also served as the President of the IIT Madras Alumni Association of North America from 2013 to 2015.
For his revolutionary work in the area of Optoelectronics, and for his business leadership and acumen, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Dr. K. Virupaksha Reddy.
Dr. M. R. Madhavan graduated with a B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1990 before obtaining a Management degree(MBA) and a Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 1992 and 1996, respectively.
He is currently the President and Co-founder of PRS Legislative Research, a public policy research institution that focuses on the legislative processes in India. PRS was established in 2005 with three broad objectives: to support the work of MPs and MLAs with research to make the legislative process better informed; to collate and disseminate the work of legislators and legislatures for greater transparency; and to create and catalyse channels of engagement between citizens and elected representatives to make the legislative process more participatory. PRS publishes "legislative briefs" (short commented analyses) of Bills in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and other articles related to legislation in India. Over the course of his research career, Dr. Madhavan has made several pioneering contributions towards strengthening the functioning of Indian legislatures including analysis of Bills introduced, interactive sessions on key policy issues, policy updates and workshops for MLAs, inputs to the media on the legislative agenda, workshops for journalists on tracking the activities of MPs and MLAs, and creating an agenda for reforming legislative processes. “The Laws of India” website is a web-based public database created by PRS that is the only publicly available source of all state laws. PRS team is often approached to contribute columns to provide a viewpoint on various key Bills.
Prior to PRS, Dr. M. R. Madhavan joined ICICI Securities as Vice President in 1996 and worked there for four years, until August 2000. He then became the “Senior Strategist and Economist India” in October 2000 and “Senior Strategist for Asia Region" in February 2004, at the Bank of America.
Dr. Madhavan is a featured speaker in NDTV and TEDx, and has contributed chapters to several academic volumes. His cutting-edge work in demystifying Indian Legislature and leadership has resulted in numerous recognitions and accolades, including the ‘Distinguished Alumnus Award’ from IIM Calcutta in 2014.
For his exemplary commitment towards improving the quality of political discourse through analysis and dissemination, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Dr. M. R. Madhavan.
Dr. P.V. Venkitakrishnan graduated with a Masters and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1989 and 2006, respectively. He obtained his B.Tech. from Cochin University in 1983. He also holds an MBA & Post-Graduate Diploma in Production Management to his credit from Annamalai University. Currently, he is the Director of ISRO Propulsion Complex, ISRO – Mahendragiri. He started his career as Grade Scientist in 1983 in VSSC. Over the course of his career, he has contributed significantly in aerospace-related manufacturing and materials, as well as in infrastructure development. Previously, he was Deputy Director, LPSC during 2010 to 2015, and Deputy Project Director, GSLV Mk-III from 2002 to 2010. He held the post of Deputy Director, VSSC before taking over as Director, IPRC.
Dr. Venkitakrishnan is also the current National President of the Society of Aerospace Manufacturing Engineers (SAME). He was instrumental in setting up the HAL Aerospace Division in the development phase of PSLV Programme, and has contributed significantly in the developmental phase of hardware for ASLV, PSLV, GSLV Mk-II and Mk-III. He was also instrumental in initiating the establishment of the Integrated Cryo-Engine Manufacturing Facility (ICMF) at HAL, Bangalore, and in the introduction of latest technologies and practices. Under his able leadership, the Cryogenic Engines for GSLV Mk-2 and GSLV Mk-3 were developed and realized. The LAM engine for the prestigious Mangalyaan was also realised and tested under his leadership. The efforts taken by him for the indigenisation of aerospace metallic materials is noteworthy. He has various affiliations with professional bodies, including as Fellow of Institute of Engineers (India) and Fellow of Indian Institute of Metals.
Dr. Venkitakrishnan is a recipient of ISRO's individual Merit Award in 2013, Team Leader – ISRO Team Excellence Award for the years 2011 and 2015, and the ANWESHAK Award from SAME in 2009. He has numerous publications in national and international journals. He is an excellent leader and team builder with effective communication, motivational and administrative skills.
For his exemplary contributions to India's Space Program, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Dr. P.V. Venkitakrishnan.
Prof. Dutta received his Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1987 after a bachelor's from IIT Kharagpur. He obtained his Ph.D. from Columbia University. After an engagement as a National Research Council (NRC) Fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School, California, he held faculty positions at Columbia University and at Tennessee Tech. University, before joining the Indian Institute of Science as a faculty member in 1996.
Prof. Dutta’s research group focuses on development of advanced energy technologies related to solar energy, cooling of electronics, spacecraft thermal management, and on thermal technologies related to solidification and advanced casting processes for light weighting. Prof. Dutta has published three web-based books for undergraduates and postgraduates, co-authored several book chapters and published over 250 papers in international journals and peer-reviewed conferences. He is widely acknowledged for his vast knowledge and rich experience in advanced energy technologies and has been elected a Fellow of the ASME, a Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Science (IASc), a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), and a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences India (NASI). Prof. Dutta has received the VASVIK Award for Industrial Research (2010), IISc Alumni Award for Excellence in Engineering Research (2012), INAE Chair Professorship (2012-2014), INAE Outstanding Teacher Award (2014), IIT Kharagpur Distinguished Alumnus Award (2015), and most recently the J. C. Bose National Fellowship in 2017.
He serves in the Editorial Board of IEEE Transactions on Components and Packaging Technology, and of ASME Journal of Electronic Packaging. At IISc, he has been a co-founder of the National Facility for Semisolid Forming, and co-Director of the General-Motors-IISc Collaborative Research Lab. Currently, Prof. Dutta is the Chairman of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IISc, and co-leader of the India-US Consortium SERIIUS (Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States), under the Indo-US Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center programme.
For his praiseworthy commitment to excellence in development of advanced energy technologies, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to bestow this award upon Prof. Pradip Dutta.
Prof. Ramayya Krishnan received his Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1981, and both his Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin in 1983 and 1987, respectively. He is currently the W.W. Cooper and Ruth F. Cooper Professor of Information Systems at the H. John Heinz III College and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy in the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. A faculty member at CMU since 1988, Krishnan was appointed Dean when the Heinz College was created in 2008. In 2014, he was reappointed upon the completion of his first term as Dean. In 2016, INFORMS, the global Operations Research and Management Science (OR/MS) Society, recognized the Heinz College with the UPS George D. Smith Prize for educational excellence in Analytics.
Since he joined CMU in 1988, Krishnan has compiled an outstanding research record in Operations Research and Management Science (OR/MS) and its applications to Information Systems. His contributions have been recognized by INFORMS, through its highly-selective INFORMS Fellow award, and in 2015, he was conferred with the Y. Nayudamma Award for his contributions to information technology and telecommunications management. He has been the President of INFORMS Computing Society and INFORMS Information Systems Society, and has edited premier journals in the fields of Operations Research, Management Science and Information Systems Research.
Krishnan has a worldwide reputation for his expertise in data sciences, with many papers and book chapters to his credit. He was invited to speak on data analytics at the World Economic Forum in 2011. As U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton appointed him to serve as a STEM expert of US Delegation to APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Consortium) in 2012. In September 2014, he provided a private briefing on “big data” to the 10 ICT Ministers of ASEAN. He is a former member of the Global Agenda Council on Data Driven Development at the World Economic Forum.
For his seminal contributions to the field of Information Systems, and for his administrative excellence, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to bestow this award upon Dr. Ramayya Krishnan.
Prof. S. Sudarshan received his B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Madras in 1987, and completed his Ph.D from the Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison in 1992. After working for 3 years at AT&T Bell Laboratories, NJ, USA, he joined the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay in 1995, where he is the current Subrao M. Nilekani Chair Professor. He was the Head of the Department from 2013-2016.
Prof. Sudarshan is widely recognized among computer scientists for his vast knowledge and rich experience in the area of database systems. He has built a variety of software systems, one of which is used in a large number telephone switches manufactured by Lucent USA. He is a co-author of the internationally best-selling textbook "Database System Concepts", which is now in its 6th edition and translated into 4 languages. He has made foundational and impactful research contributions to a variety of areas within database systems over the last two decades. His research contributions in the areas of query optimization, and keyword search on semi-structured data are highly cited, and have earned him the “Influential Paper Award” at the IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2012, one of the top 4 conferences in the area of database systems, as well as the Best Paper award at COMAD 2012. Several of his papers have been selected as among the best papers at top conferences, and invited for publication in journals. He is among the most highly cited computer scientists in India, with a total of 12,000+ citations, and an h-index of 43, as per Google Scholar. He is a Fellow of the ACM, USA, as well as Fellow of INAE and NASI.
His work has been recognized through a number of awards and accolades including the IBM Faculty Award in 2001 and 2006, and the Bell Labs President’s Silver Award, 1999. He was a Member Board of Trustees, Very Large Data Base (VLDB) Foundation (2010-2016), and an Advisory Committee Member for the Proceedings of the VLDB Foundation, in addition to being Associate Editor of ACM TODS, and IEEE TKDE.
For his laudable commitment to excellence in database system sciences, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer this award upon Prof. S. Sudarshan.