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.
Dr. Krishna Bharat graduated in 1991 from IIT Madras with a B.Tech. degree in Computer Science. In 1996, having obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech, he joined the staff at DEC Systems Research Center in Palo Alto, California. He joined Google in 1999, where he holds the position of a Distinguished Scientist. At present he is a venture capitalist, and invests and advises startups and non-profits in the technology and journalism areas. He also played a pivotal role in setting up Google's R&D operations in India in 2004, and served as its first Director until 2006.
Dr. Bharat is a technical visionary whose innovations are transforming the consumption of news worldwide. His research interests lie in the area of interactive systems for information access and content creation based on content analysis and predictive intelligence. He is unique in his grasp of both sides of the news equation-technology and media. He has earned the distinction of being one of finest minds in the field of computer science with his innovations such as Google News and Google Finance. Google News, the brainchild of Dr. Bharat, has revolutionized the manner in which news and information is shared and understood by content creators and consumers in this digital age. It sends about 10 billion clicks each month to news publishers' websites. At the core of the system are algorithms and analyses built by Dr. Bharat. He is also credited with being one of the co-inventors of the "Captcha" which is extensively used to determine whether a putative user is a real human. This idea is invoked billions of times every day.
Dr. Bharat's efforts to make professional journalism more widely accessible, and his continuing research in the field of digital dissemination of news and information, has made him the only technologist appointed to the Board of Visitors of the Columbia University School of Journalism; he also serves on the Board of Visitors at Stanford University's John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship program. Other honors that have come his way include: the 2003 World Technology Award for Media and Journalism; the 2003 Webby Award in the News category; and a 2012 GQ India listing among the World's Most Powerful Digital Indians.
In recognition of Dr. Krishna Bharat's research contributions and renowned innovations in the field of interactive systems for information access, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Dr. Krishna Chivukula graduated with a M. Tech. in Aeronautical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1970, following a B. Tech. (Honors) in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Bombay in 1968. He received an MBA from Harvard University in 1980, and was awarded a Doctor of Letters (D. Lit.) degree from Tumkur University in 2012.
Dr. Krishna Chivukula rapidly rose though the engineering ranks of Hoffman Industries in USA to become Chief Engineer in 1976. In 1984, after his Harvard MBA, he returned to Hoffman Industries as Group President and CEO, but left in 1990 to start his first company, Shiva Technologies Inc., in Syracuse, New York. Under his leadership, Shiva Technologies grew to # 1 position in the world in the area of trace element analysis using advanced mass spectroscopic techniques. In 1997, Shiva Analyticals Pvt. Ltd. was established in Bangalore.
Also in 1997, Dr. Krishna Chivukula brought state-of-the-art engineering manufacturing technology - metal injection molding (MIM) - to India, while it was still an emerging technology in USA, by starting a second company-- INDO US MIM Tec Pvt. Ltd. -- in Bangalore. Presently, INDO US MIM Tec occupies the number one position in the world in MIM technology in terms of capacity and sales, employing over 2000 highly-qualified personnel, including two Vice-Presidents who are IIT Madras alumni. The firm is the only large scale MIM industry in India, and has a projected turnover of nearly Rs. 1000 Crores. The clients are drawn from around the world, and span a range of industries including industrial, consumer and medical sectors. INDO US MIM Tec has received many international awards in recognition of excellence achieved in various categories. A third company, Gowri Ventures, was started in 2009 in Renigunta with specialization in high - precision investment castings.
Dr. Krishna Chivukula has also engaged in significant philanthropic activities. He is sponsoring a well-coordinated mid-day meal program for 2,200 primary and secondary school children in Bangalore. These children are also provided with healthcare through the Bangalore Baptist Hospital, which receives funding every month so that they can provide free or subsidized health care for poor patients. The Asha Foundation, which provides counselling and healthcare for patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS, is also supported financially. His donation of one million dollars in 2006-07 to Bangalore Baptist Hospital has funded a state-of-the-art operation theater and laboratory facilities. In 2014, he has also adopted a school at Chamarajanagar near Mysore, taking care of the entire expenses of running the school of 300 children from economically weaker backgrounds, including orphaned & destitute children.
In recognition of Dr. Krishna Chivukula's professional excellence and contributions to the community, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Dr. Periannan Kuppusamy obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from IIT Madras in 1985, and earlier completed his B.S. in Chemistry from Government Arts College, Namakkal in 1975, and M.S. in General Chemistry at the Pachaiyappa's College, Chennai in 1977. He is currently Professor of Radiology and Associate Director at the EPR Center for the Study of Viable Systems in the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College. Prior to this, he was Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Ohio State University, Columbus. He also served as Director of the Center for Biomedical EPR Spectroscopy and Imaging at Ohio State University from 2002-13.
Post-doctorate, Dr. Kuppusamy was Fogarty Fellow (1986-87) at the National Institute on Aging, NIH, Baltimore, MD, and also served as Research Fellow (1987-90) at John Hopkins University, School of medicine, Baltimore, MD. During this period, he worked with two renowned biophysicists - Dr. J.M. Rifkind and Dr. J.L. Zweier - thereby beginning the journey from chemistry to physics to biology. Dr. Kuppusamy was a pioneer in connecting the technologies of imaging and EPR (Electron Paramagnetic Resonance) Spectroscopy, giving rise to the EPR Imaging field, which still has only a few expert practitioners worldwide. His positions of responsibility in fields as diverse as heart and lung care, cardiovascular medicine, and spectroscopy reflect the interdisciplinary nature of his work.
Dr. Kuppusamy considers it his mission to create new knowledge, and to disseminate it to a large number of intelligent young men and women. The large number of students he has mentored bear testimony to this. His 300+ plus publications over 30 years in high-impact factor journals, and the 7 patents are indicative of the quality of his technical vitality. Dr. Kuppusamy has, more than anything else, created Centers of Excellence to produce quality manpower and research. Noteworthy among his many awards are: Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa, conferred by the University of Pecs, Hungary; Silver Medal for Biology/Medicine awarded by the International EPR Society; and the Lumley Award for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Research, awarded by the Ohio State University College of Engineering in 2011. To highlight another facet of Dr. Kuppusamy's contributions, his development and production of multilingual (Tamil/English/French/Malay) multimedia software for learning Tamil language and literature has enabled the Tamil diaspora to stay connected to their roots. His contribution to the digital Tamil revolution has been recognized by a Doctor of Letters award conferred in June 2012 by the International Tamil University.
In recognition of Dr. Periannan Kuppusamy's pioneering contributions to the field of EPR Imaging and his commitment to mentoring of young minds, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer on him this award.
Dr. Prakash Keshaviah graduated with a B.Tech. degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1967. He went on to complete an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis in 1970. His interests switched to the medical field soon thereafter, and he became a part of the "Artificial Heart Program" at the University of Minnesota. He obtained a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the same University in 1974. He joined the Regional Kidney Disease Program (RKDP), Minneapolis in 1973 and his dialysis research at RKDP earned him an M.S. degree in Physiology in 1980. With joint appointments at RKDP and at the University of Minnesota, he attained international recognition as a dialysis researcher with numerous peer-reviewed publications and speaking engagements all over the world. He held the positions of Director of Dialysis Research, Education and Training at RKDP and that of Adjunct Professor, Departments of Chemical and Mechanical Engineering and Member of the Graduate Faculty, Biomedical Engineering Program at the University of Minnesota. After an illustrious academic career spanning 15 years in dialysis research, Dr. Keshaviah decided to delve into the corporate world, He excelled in the corporate world as well, working his way up to Vice President, Research and Advanced Development, at Baxter Healthcare Corporation. At Baxter, he worked on several advanced dialysis products and received several patents and technical awards.
After 30 years in the United States, Dr. Keshaviah returned to India to devote himself to a life of service and spirituality. Dr. Keshaviah was appointed as Professor of Physiology in the medical college of the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust (HIHT) in Dehradun. The non-availability of dialysis facilities in the region prompted him to set up a dialysis program at HIHT in 1999 and a kidney transplant program in 2005. The dialysis unit at HIHT now performs over 15,000 dialysis procedures per year. Dr. Keshaviah has also been involved in the water and sanitation programs of the Rural Development Institute of HIHT and has helped in setting up a vocational training program for rural youth. He is a member of the Governing Body of HIHT, is on the Board of Governors of Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU) and is Advisor, Finance to the Vice Chancellor of SRHU. As a disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas, Dr. Keshaviah continues to pursue his spiritual development and is actively involved in spreading the teachings of Swami Rama through books, audio CDs and videos. He has co-authored the book, 'At the Feet of a Himalayan Master: Remembering Swami Rama, Volume 1' and has served as the editor of all 5 volumes of the series.
In recognition of Dr. Prakash Keshaviah's academic excellence and research contributions in the field of Biomedical engineering, and his selfless service for humanity at the Himalayan Institute Hospital Trust, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Prof. Srikant graduated with a B.Tech. in Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1985. He later obtained his M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 1988 and 1991, respectively. He was a member of the Technical Staff at AT & T Bell Laboratories from 1991-95. He is currently the Frederick G. and Elizabeth H. Nearing Endowed Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and a Professor in the Coordinated Science Laboratory at UIUC.
Prof. Srikant has made fundamental contributions in at least four major areas in networking: scheduling of wireless networks, analysis of cellular systems, wireline congestion control, and design and analysis of peer-to-peer systems. In each case, his work is characterized by seeking of rigorous quantitative answers to problems of topical interest. Indeed, one could claim that all areas in networking have been influenced by him and bear his imprint.
Prof. Srikant's work on optimization, control and heavy traffic analysis has provided theoretical clarity to central problems in communication networks such as congestion control in wireline networks, and the MaxWeight scheduling algorithms in wireless networks. Prof. Srikant's research has also spawned several real world applications. His design of the TCP-Illinois protocol, in the field of congestion control, is now a part of Linux releases. Further, his work on peer-to-peer systems using both stochastic and deterministic models has provided significant insights on the file sharing protocol on BitTorrent. Even within networking, these are just a sampling of Prof. Srikant's contributions, and he has contributed greatly in other areas outside networking as well.
The above contributions clearly show the great adaptability, creativity and depth of research that has been sustained by Prof. Srikant over a long period of time. As topics in networking have evolved, he has continued to contribute imaginatively and rigorously to the emerging challenges in topical problems. He was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2006, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions in Networking.
In recognition of Prof. Srikant's fundamental and sustained contributions to a broad swathe of topical problems in networking, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Dr Ramakrishnan, former Director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), is one of the key architects of the Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) program. He is noted for his decisive role in enhancing the performance of PSLV through systematic upgrading and evolving robust operational protocol to ensure sustained vehicle reliability and mission success. His major work has been in the areas of Propulsion Systems Development, Launch Vehicle Engineering and Project management. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he received 'Padma Shri' in the field of Science & Engineering in 2003 from the Government of India. After 42 years of dedicated service, he recently retired from the post of the Director, VSSC in June 2014. Subsequently, he is conferred with Vikram Sarabhai Distinguished Professorship at the Department of Space.
Dr Ramakrishnan joined ISRO in August 1972 as a member of the SLV-3 Project team responsible for developing the first Indian Satellite Launch Vehicle. When this was successfully accomplished, he was inducted into the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Programme (PSLV) in 1983 where he played a major role in the development of liquid propulsion stages, vehicle engineering and system integration tasks for PSLV developmental flights. He was designated as Project Director in 1996 to lead the PSLV Continuation Program. In this capacity, he functioned as Mission Director for PSLV C1, C2, C3 and C4 missions and successfully accomplished the first multi-satellite deployment, as well as the first GTO mission using PSLV. After serving about two decades in PSLV programme, in 2002 he was entrusted with the development of the next generation launcher GSLV Mk-III (LVM3) and as the first Project Director, he steered the programme through the most crucial phases of design, engineering and realization of first-off hardware.
His proven abilities and leadership qualities saw him being elevated as Director (Projects) at VSSC in 2007, where Dr Ramakrishnan played a vital role in the much acclaimed PSLV-C11/Chandrayan-I mission, which was recognized by a Team Achievement Award from the International Academy of Astronautics. From June 2010 to December 2012, he functioned as Director, Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), and led the LPSC team in carrying out failure analysis on the first flight test of the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) in GSLV-D3 mission. He chaired the Design Review Team for cryo propulsion system, and played a lead role in the realization of the cryogenic engine and stage for the subsequent GSLV-D5 mission which successfully validated the Indian CUS in January 2014.
In January 2013, Dr Ramakrishnan was appointed as the Director of VSSC, the lead Centre for Launch Vehicle Development at ISRO. He was actively involved in the planning and execution of the recent PSLV-C25/MOM mission to Mars by ISRO, and functioned as an expert reviewer for the spacecraft propulsion system design and operations.
In recognition of Dr Ramakrishnan's intensive and extensive role and contributions leading to significant accomplishments of India's space program, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Shri Ajita Rajendra graduated with a B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1976, and subsequently obtained his MBA from Carnegie Mellon University in 1978. He has since held a wide range of finance, operations, marketing, and executive management positions at numerous leading organizations such as Corning Inc., Kennametal Inc., etc. through the course of his 36-year career in American industry, excelling in each of them. He is currently the Chairman and CEO at A.O. Smith Corporation, a global leader in water heating and treating technologies. Shri Rajendra was elected to the A.O. Smith Board of Directors in December 2011.
Of particular note is his tremendous contribution to improving the quality of life in India by generating employment and investing in a large manufacturing facility in the Bengaluru area. Shri Rajendra has been the driving force behind A.O. Smith's implementation of a large-scale manufacturing facility for water heaters in Harohalli, Bengaluru. The investment of $ 25-30 million was greenfield - adding capacity by purchasing land and building a factory, rather than simply purchasing existing assets. The factory, established in 2010, manufactures residential water heaters specially designed for robust use in the Indian subcontinent, and is now adding capability to manufacture water purification products. The Company is growing its business while generating employment in India, and providing a technologically advanced product to the Indian consumer. A.O. Smith continues to invest its proceeds from this operation back into the Indian business, benefiting the community greatly. The Company exclusively uses national talent in India, and consequently there are no expatriates in Harohalli. Current employment is about 400, of which approximately 50 are professionals.
Shri Rajendra's professional accomplishments are reflected in the various corporate awards he has been a recipient of, such as the Corporate Marketing Award in three different years, and the highly-regarded Individual Outstanding Contributor Award from the Board of Directors of Corning. Further, he was elected as the Chairman of the Air conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), a major industry trade organization. His extensive involvement in community activities makes him a truly respected business leader, as does his serving on various prestigious Boards in a leadership capacity. He is a Director of Donaldson Company, Inc. and The Timken Company. He was a Board Member of the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association and of the Tennessee Business Roundtable.
In recognition of Shri Ajita Rajendra's focus on bringing manufacturing excellence to India, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Shri Lalit Mahajan graduated with a B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1968, and is currently the Chairman and Managing Director of J Mitra & Co. Pvt. Ltd. He is credited with the phenomenal growth of the company. He is recognized as both an inventor and an entrepreneur, motivated by his strong vision to see India become self-sufficient in medical diagnostics through indigenous products. He has rendered his philosophy of preserving the life of the critically unwell into a practical realization through the innovative products created and successfully marketed by J Mitra & Co.
Shri Mahajan has demonstrated how a technology company can be built in a globally competitive space through integrated efforts of R&D, innovation and entrepreneurship. His strong focus on innovating for the country is illustrated by the success of products such as diagnostic kits for infectious, and even life-threatening, diseases. While a sustained focus on R&D has allowed Shri Mahajan to develop these novel products, indigenous production, with innovative procurement and marketing strategies, has enabled him to make these products affordable to the Indian healthcare system and patients. The products developed under the leadership of Shri Mahajan are among the rare successes of indigenous diagnostic kits in the country, making India self-reliant in these areas and reducing the need for imports. His focus on delivering quality products is underlined by the credit given by the World Health Organization for quality and sensitivity of the test kits for HIV, Dengue NS1 and Hepatitis. With 23 patents granted in the five years from 2007-2011, Shri Mahajan was recognized by the Indian Intellectual Property Office as India's leading individual inventor on World IP Day in 2011. He currently holds 26 patents to his name.
Shri Mahajan is also the Chairman of two running Hydro-Power projects located in Kulu, Himachal Pradesh. The electricity generated is being distributed to the town of Manali, HP. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of Biotech Consortium India Ltd., Government of India, and is a Member of the Taskforce formed by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GoI, for framing guidelines for WHO-GMP norms for Medical Diagnostic Kits and Devices.
In recognition of Shri Lalit Mahajan's innovative contributions to the field of indigenous medical diagnostics, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.
Shri Sekhar Vasan graduated with a B.Tech. in Metallurgical Engineering from IIT Madras in 1975, and went on to found a world-class manufacturing company, Sansera Engineering in 1986. In the interim, he worked with Rambhal Industries and pursued an MBA from IIM Bangalore, both of which helped to prepare him for his entrepreneurial venture. Creating a world-class manufacturing company from scratch is a commendable achievement given the capital requirements of the sector (automobile components), as well as the legal and bureaucratic challenges involved in launching such an enterprise in India.
Started in 1986 from a small workshop, Sansera Engineering has become a Rs 700 crore company today, with 9 plants located all across the country and more than 3,000 employees. Meeting the stringent requirements of demanding clients, who include Maruti Suzuki, General Motors, Yamaha, Honda Motors, and Ducati, is no easy task, but Shri Vasan has proved time and again to be up to the challenge. When the firm just started out, it received an order to supply 5,000 pieces per month against a capacity to produce only 1,000 pieces; this was accomplished by a quick and efficient ramp-up, an early indicator of similar achievements in future. Shri Vasan has led from the front and from the floor, often machining in the workshop himself to ensure that production needs are met. During the last 6 years, turnover has grown at a 20% compounded rate every year, from Rs. 210 crores in 2008-09 to Rs.700 crores in 2013-14.
All of Sansera's forgings are produced in-house in one of the best facilities for high-precision small forgings in the country. Another commendable feature of Sansera is the in-house design and production of most of the 450+ machines installed and in operation in the various units. Sansera has won many awards from its customers both in India and abroad, including a Best Practices Recognition from General Motors and a Quality Award from Yamaha Motors in 2012. Acknowledging the dedication and the commitment of the founder, Citi Ventures has recently invested Rs 300 crores into the firm.
The Sansera Foundation has undertaken many socially-responsible initiatives around the residential area of its workforce, including provision of scholarships to rural students, sponsorship of a Government School building, employment for the physically-challenged and volunteer work in waste segregation and recycling.
The struggle to achieve excellence, and to gain acceptance of the most demanding automobile customers in the world is a Himalayan task. In recognition of Shri Sekhar Vasan's ability to build and sustain such a large and successful manufacturing organization in India, IIT Madras and its alumni are proud to confer upon him this award.