I was born in India to a regular working-class family. I have seen a fair bit of the country due to the transferable jobs of my parents. I spent my childhood in small towns and close-knit campuses. When I look at the dull urban life, I feel lucky to have grown up in carefree environments. I am agnostic, apolitical, and support logic & reason. I am allergic to myths, miracles, superstitions, and godmen alike.
I went to junior school at various Kendriya Vidyalayas and finished high school at DPS SAIL Township, Ranchi. I joined Manipal University for my undergrad in engineering. College life was pretty interesting, exposing me to new and exciting ideas. Computational imaging fascinated me quite early. I interned with Siemens Healthcare in my junior year and worked at IIT Delhi for my senior design project. I got selected by Stanford University Biodesign Program as a graduate fellow in 2009-2010. I worked on low-cost breathing devices, inspired partly by the growing number of respiratory illnesses in India and China.
I was offered an M.S opportunity at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Columbia University. I declined them for the lack of adequate funding. I joined an integrated Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech, where I worked with Dr. Ge Wang on computational imaging and inverse problems. I lived in an idyllic town and worked with a brilliant group between 2010 and 2013. Sadly, Dr. Wang moved to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and I had to discontinue working with that group. I graduated with a Master's in Electrical and Computer engineering in May 2013. I got generous help from Dr. Guillem Pratx of Stanford in finishing this project.
I had packed my bags to return to India. I had planned on letting go of research and even declined a doctoral opportunity from NTU Singapore. But fate had other designs: Dr. Robert Kraft, an MRI physicist, offered for me to stay back and give Ph.D. another try. I started working on quantitative magnetic resonance imaging. During this period, I contributed to the fat/water separation package under development at Siemens Healthcare US. Due to personal difficulties, my equations with Dr. Kraft didn't remain the same. I bailed out with a second M.S in 2015.
I took a sabbatical in India after returning from Virginia Tech (Late 2015 - Summer 2016). I was awarded Japan's MEXT fellowship in 2016 for doctoral research at The University of Tokyo. I researched machine learning and optimization in computer vision. I defended my thesis on small regime learning models in early 2021. Currently, I am with Anymind Group Japan as an ML scientist, where I work on product development and emerging technologies.
With all the meanders in my story, I realize that some mistakes were avoidable. But these events were destined to change my journey. It is life's way of teaching valuable lessons. There is always a second chance. It is up to us to grab them in time. As closing thoughts, I am reminded of Randy Pausch, who said in The Last Lecture: "Brick walls are for people who don't want that goal badly enough".