IIT-K Alumni excel at a wide variety of fields. Let this diversity be our inspiration for the future.
What do a renowned bird watcher, a retired chemical engineer, a neurologist, an internet-savy educator, and a successful hedge fund manager have in common? That's right, they are all IIT-K alums! Come meet an eclectic collection of IIT-K graduates who showed that we can be successful in the world beyond engineering equations. Let their histories serve as an inspiration to us, no matter what path we choose to follow.
Devendra K Shukla (BT/CE/67)
Dr. Devendra Kumar Shukla, after completing his B. Tech. degree in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1967, left for USA and completed his post-graduate degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Delaware, USA.
In 1973, he embarked into the corporate world through D'Appolonia Consulting Engineers as a Senior Project Manager and led many successful projects related to earth dams, waste repositories and nuclear waste facilities. He continued his expedition as General Manager of IT Corporation and built a multi-disciplinary and integrated work force while working on many challenging civil, geotechnical and environmental engineering projects. From 1987 to 1994, as Vice President of Environmental Solutions Inc., he was responsible for all aspects of geo-environmental projects in the northwestern United States and earned the glory of success in many major landfill projects. In 1994, Dr. Shukla took a major leap in his career by founding Innovative Technical Solutions Inc. (ITSI).
His fierce competitiveness, passion for excellence, and tenacity are the energy behind the global firm of 350 persons, 26 offices, that has a reputation for boldly challenging its much larger industry peers on every opportunity. In 1999, the Department of Navy, USA, honored ITSI with the Nationwide DoD Nunn-Perry Mentor Protégé Award recognizing the company's excellence in the areas of quality and technical assistance. Subsequently, his company received the 2001 Small Business Administration: National Minority Small Business Firm of the Year award for its superior achievements and quality performance. In addtion, Dr. Shukla has made substantial international contributions, as he assists the US Government in rebuilding infrastructure in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Shukla's concern for his employees and the community has led him to sponsor programs in journalism and drama, as well as youth sports activities. He is also giving back to the community by volunteering his personal time and funds by supporting local schools by lecture series, scholarships etc. For his services to community at large, he has received many letters of appreciation from government and public organizations. In recognition of his outstanding entrepreneurial and managerial contributions Dr. Devendra Kumar Shukla is being conferred the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.
Jagjeet Singh Bindra (BT/CHE/69)
Jagjeet Singh Bindra, popularly known as Jeet, graduated from IIT Kanpur in 1969 with a Bachelor of Technology degree with Distinction in Chemical Engineering.. He received a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1970 and an MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California in 1979.
Jeet joined Chevron Research Company in 1977 as a Research Engineer and subsequently held many senior management positions in technology, project management, refinery engineering and operations and strategy and planning. Jeet led the negotiations to finance, design and construct a crude oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea in Kazakhstan to the Black Sea in Russia. He was subsequently named President of Chevron Pipeline Company. In 2002 Jeet was appointed Managing Director and CEO of Caltex Australia Limited, and returned to Chevron in 2003 as President of Chevron’s Global Manufacturing business with responsibility for 21 refineries with total capacity exceeding 2.2 million barrels.
Jeet retired from Chevron on July 1, 2009 and now serves on the Board of Directors of Larsen & Toubro in India; Transfield Services Limited in Australia; Sriya Innovations, Inc. and Hart Energy Consulting in the U.S. Jeet is also the Chairman of the IIT Kanpur Foundation Board of Directors and a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Kanpur, as well as the University of Washington, College of Engineering.
Ramana Athreya (MSc/Phy/89)
Ramana Athreya is an astronomer and an ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune. In 2006, he described a new species of bird, the Bugun Liocichla from the Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in western Arunachal Pradesh, North-east India. This discovery has been described by Birdlife as the most sensational ornithological discovery in India for more than half a century. He was awarded the Pakshishree award in 2009 for this discovery by the Government of Rajastan.
At a function organized by WWF-India at the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun on May 11, 2007, Dr Ramana Athreya was awarded the inaugural WWF conservation award for discovering the bird species. Dr Athreya is a graduate from IIT-Kanpur, a radio astronomer of international standing and an ardent bird watcher. He is working with the tribal communities of Eaglenest to secure the long-term conservation of the sanctuary, during which project the new species was discovered.
Anil Kumar Chopra (BT/CHE/76)
Anil Kumar Chopra obtained his B.Tech. in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Houston in the area of fluid mechanics and multi-phase flows. Dr. Anil Chopra entrepreneurial skills eventually led him to start PetroTel Inc. in 1999. His company’s vision is to help find major sources of hydrocarbons in India and across the globe using the latest technology available to only a few multinationals. One of the first consulting projects of Dr. Chopra and PetroTel was the seismic interpretation of Reliance's onshore and offshore blocks. This work led to the biggest discovery of gas in India. PetroTel also helped Reliance put together the very first field development plan of the Dhirubhai field. Today, Dhirubhai field produces more than 1 BSCF/day of gas and is supplying India's energy needs. Dr. Chopra and his company PetroTel's work led to another giant discovery in the KG basin in India with GSPC. As a result of this discovery, PetroTel has executed the field development plan for GSPC for commercialization of the Deen Dayal Field. Dr. Anil Chopra is presently the Chairman and Founder of Petro Tel Inc. as well as Plano Research Corporation. Dr. Chopra is a visionary entrepreneur who has pioneered a number of technological innovations in the field of energy resources across various countries in the world, including India. He is one of the few IIT-ians that have had long-term success in the oil and gas industry. Today, Dr. Chopra’s PetroTel is recognized worldwide as an industry leader in oil and gas field consulting in the areas of enhanced oil recovery, reservoir characterization and simulation, coal bed methane, production, and exploration technologies. It provides professional consulting and advisory services along with integrated project management support to domestic and international petroleum companies. Dr. Anil Chopra has been continuing his dream of providing the world with its energy needs for over three decades. He started a new company, PetroJava International Inc. in 2004. Dr. Anil Chopra has always been very thoughtful in supporting cutting edge research and giving back to the society. In the year 2004 he funded the Distinguished PetroTel Lecture series in Chemical Engineering at IIT Kanpur. He has been a prominent supporter of the Ispatbharti Foundation, which works towards energy efficiency technologies for the small and medium manufacturing enterprises in India. To help deserving students to achieve their dream of high quality education Dr. Chopra started the Legacy Park Foundation in 2003 to provide scholarships for under-privileged students.
Ashish Gupta (BT/CSE/88)
Dr. Ashish Gupta is a co-founder of Helion and serves on the boards of Gridstone Research, Jivox, Kirusa, MuSigma, Naukri.com, and SMS Gupshup. He has co-founded two successful companies - Tavant Technologies and Junglee that pioneered comparison shopping on the internet. He has also worked at Woodside Fund, Oracle Corporation and IBM research. His investments include Daksh (IBM), Odesk, Obongo (AOL), Speedera (Akamai), MakeMyTrip, Merittrac (Manipal Group), and Kaboodle (Hearst).
Ashish also serves on the Board of the Kauffman Fellows Program, the leading educational fellowship in venture capital; and the Foundation for Excellence that promotes education in India.
Ashish is a Kauffman Fellow, holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University, and a bachelor's degree from IIT Kanpur where he was awarded the President's Gold medal. He has authored several patents, publications, and a book by MIT press.
Mriganka Sur (BT/EE/74)
Mriganka Sur is the Newton Professor of Neuroscience and Head of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Professor Sur studies the organization, development and plasticity of the cerebral cortex of the brain using experimental and theoretical approaches. He has discovered fundamental principles by which networks of the cerebral cortex are wired during development and change dynamically during learning. His laboratory has identified gene networks underlying cortical plasticity, and pioneered high resolution imaging methods to study cells, synapses and circuits of the brain.
Professor Sur received the B. Tech. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, in 1974 and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, in 1978. After postdoctoral training at SUNY Stony Brook and a faculty position at Yale University, he was appointed to the MIT faculty in 1986. He has chaired the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences since 1997. He is also an Investigator of the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, a Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and Director of the Simons Initiative on Autism and the Brain at MIT.
Professor Sur has received numerous awards and honors, including the Charles Judson Herrick Award of the American Association of Anatomists, the A.P. Sloan Fellowship, the McKnight Development Award, the Hans-Lukas Teuber Scholar Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, the Sigma Xi Lectureship, and the Foundation Day Medal of the National Brain Research Center, India. A prolific scientist and educator, he has published over 200 papers and trained over 70 doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom occupy major positions in academia and industry. At MIT, he has received awards for outstanding teaching and been recognized with the Sherman Fairchild and Newton Chairs. He has delivered numerous keynote and distinguished lectures worldwide, and served on the editorial board of major journals. He has been honored as an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of the UK, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Neuroscience Research Program, the National Academy of Sciences, India, the Rodin Academy, Sweden, and the Third World Academy of Sciences.
David B.K. Thomas (BT/ME/77)
David Thomas has a long track record of bringing the worlds of IT and education. Ahead of the times, he was the founder of Datasophy, an early e-learning company in Chennai in 1987 that wrote educational software for use in Indian schools. The software covered topics in the sciences and the social sciences. David also ran IBM's Learning Services Division for ASEAN and South Asia.
In 2004, David left the IT field to engage in social and economic development projects in the Palani Hills region of South India. With a few friends and volunteers, David works towards women's empowerment using micro finance as a tool and enabler. In partnership with the Gandhigram Trust, his organization currently serve more than 4000 women in some of India's poorest villages in the Palani Hills. This organization, the Nirman Sangh, is funded only through his own savings and through generous support of friends.
David is also an Advisor to the Gandhigram Trust and the Gandhigram Khadi and Village Industries Public Charitable Trust, long established institutions in Tamilnadu in South India. He has been helping Gandhigram particularly in the formulation of marketing strategies, always a weak point for traditional village industries. He has created and implemented a rural marketing plan using barefoot saleswomen which has successfully helped increase the sales of Gandhigram village products. It has also helped provide employment to more than a hundred poor women in villages. The strategy is an implementation of Gandhi's exhortation to 'produce locally and sell locally'.
David is also a Trustee of the Sathya Surabhi Trust in Kodaikanal. Through this trust, running a small primary, free school for underprivileged children at Attuvampatti near Kodaikanal.
In 2010, David was awarded the IIT Kanpur Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions to rural development.
Pradeep Sindhu (BT/EE/74)
Dr. Pradeep Sindhu, Vice-Chairman and CTO of Juniper Networks, a company that he founded in 1997. Pradeep is responsible for its technical road map and plays an active role in the day-to-day design and development of future products. Juniper Networks is today a leading internet infrastructure company with market capitalization of about sixty billion US dollars. It provides purpose-built systems routers that meet the scalability, performance, density and compatibility requirements of rapidly evolving, optically enabled internet protocol networks, Since going publicin 1999, the company is second only to Cisco in market share for Internet backbone routers and provides new IP infrastructure solutions for the world’s leading service providers.
After completing his BTech in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1974, Dr Sindhu obtained his MS and PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie-Mellon University. Prior to founding Juniper, Dr Sindhu was a key member of the technical team at the Computer Science Lab at Xerox PARC. His research specialized in VLSI design tools and high-speed interconnects for shared-memory multiprocessor systems. This work led to the commercial development of Sun Microsystem's first high-performance multiprocessor system family, which included the SS1000 and SS2000. Dr Sindhu played key roles in the architecture, design, and development of these machines. Dr Sindhu also played a central role in the architecture, design, and development of the M160/M40/M20 routers ? Juniper's flagship Internet router family. The Juniper device fuses Dr Sindhu’s VLSI expertise onto fiber optic breakthrough to deliver any-to-any IP connectivity at multi-gigabyte speeds, complete with quality-of-service (QoS) management.
Manoj Singh (BT/EE/74)
Manoj Pratap Singh received his B. Tech. in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur in 1974. He also holds an M. B. A. from Carnegie Mellon University, USA. He is an outstanding Management Consultant and has practiced the art of management for the last 25 years in several countries and many sectors. He is currently the Global Managing Partner, Operations, of a world reputed consulting company Deloitte Touché Tohamatsu (DTT) in New York, USA. Mr. Singh has been involved in the broad area of Strategy & Operations with special focus on technology, manufacturing and energy industries. He has been a partner in Deloitte Consulting since 1986 and has vast experience in the energy industry. In his current role, Mr. Singh is one of the five global managing partners reporting to the global CEO. Under his leadership, Deloitte's revenue growth outpaced the competitors and established DTT as the leader in this field. With overall responsibility for global operations, including strategy, finance, knowledge management, information technology, human resources, and legal, Mr. Singh is focused on developing Deloitte investments around the world, and is especially involved in high-growth countries and emerging markets. With a strong track record of growing the Americas consulting practice, Mr. Singh was appointed Asia Pacific CEO of Deloitte Touché Tohmatsu in 2003, a role he held until 2007. His most significant accomplishment was taking Deloitte China and Deloitte India to new levels of prominence in the market. During those four years, Deloitte China tripled in size and Deloitte India grew to even a larger size. Recognized for his knowledge and insights on doing business in China and India, the Asia Pacific business and economic environment, operations excellence, and leadership, Mr. Singh has appeared on CNBC and the BBC, in other media, and presented at regional World Economic Forum events. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Mellon University, USA. For his achievements in 2003, Mr. Singh was recognized as one of the Top 25 Consultants in the US by the Consulting Magazine.
Manindra Agrawal (BT/CSE/86)
Dr Manindra Agrawal, professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering of the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, was born and schooled in Allahabad, after which he joined IIT Kanpur for the B Tech in Computer Science and Engineering. Manindra subsequently obtained his doctoral thesis in Complexity Theory in 1991 also from IIT Kanpur. He then did a three-year stint at the Chennai Mathematical Institute in Madras before bagging the prestigious Humboldt fellowship at the University of Ulm in Germany. He returned to IIT Kanpur as a member of the faculty in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering in 1996. Manindra Agrawal is thus a home-grown Computer Scientist who began his work on complexity theory at IIT Kanpur itself.
While also interested in Computational Number Theory and Cryptography, Manindra Agarwal is known as one of the foremost researchers in Complexity Theory. His work on the p-isomorphism conjecture has rejuvenated this field, and the strongest current result in this field is due to him. A major work on a polynomial time algorithm for primality testing has recently been announced by Manindra and his two students. The result is now considered as the biggest advancement in a decade in computational number theory. What has astounded the scientific community is the elegance of their solution - their algorithm is only thirteen lines long, and its proof of correctness takes less than three pages. For this work Manindra was also awarded the Clay Research Award in October, 2002.
Brij Kothari (MSc/Phy)
Brij Kothari and his team have innovated, researched, and nationally implemented Same Language Subtitling (SLS) on TV in India, for mass literacy. The SLS project delivers regular reading practice to over 150 million weak readers, in several Indian languages. President Bill Clinton called it, “A small thing that has a staggering impact on people’s lives.”
Brij is on the faculty of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, an Ashoka Fellow, and Schwab Foundation’s Indian Social Entrepreneur of the Year (2009). He founded PlanetRead, a non-profit, and BookBox, a for-profit, as a Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford.The SLS innovation has received awards and honors from Development Marketplace (World Bank), The Tech Museum of Innovation (San Jose), and the Institute for Social Inventions (London). Major supporters of SLS have included: IIM Ahmedabad, Google Foundation, Sir Ratan Tata Trust, DELL Giving, and significantly, the Department of Education (Govt. of India) and India’s national broadcaster, Doordarshan.
Brij grew up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. He has a Masters in Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, and a Masters in Development Communication and a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University.