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Indian-born Stanford Professor Thomas Kailath given Lifetime Achievement Award by US-based Marconi Society

Born on June 7, 1935, in Pune to a Malayalam-speaking Syrian Christian family, Kailath graduated in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Pune in 1956

Stanford Univerity
Indian-born Stanford Professor Thomas Kailath given Lifetime Achievement Award by US-based Marconi Society. Twitter

New Delhi, August 15, 2017: The US-based Marconi Society has announced its Lifetime Achievement Award to Indian-born Stanford University professor Thomas Kailath, for his outstanding contributions to modern communications.

“Kailath is the sixth scientist to be honored with our Lifetime Achievement Award for his research contributions, which advanced modern communications technologies over the last six decades,” the Society said in an e-mail to IANS on Sunday night.

The 82-year-old who was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 2009, is currently the Hitachi American Professor of Engineering, Emeritus, at Stanford.

The society named after Nobel Laureate Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), who invented the radio, was set up in 1975 by his daughter Gioia Marconi Braga through an endowment. It annually awards individuals whose scope of work and influence emulate the principle of “creativity in service to humanity” that inspired Marconi.

The rare honour also makes Kailath join five other recipients of the 43-year-old Society’s prestigious award, including Gordon Moore of the Moore’s Law fame and father of Information Theory Claude Shannon.

The award will be presented to Kailath at the Society’s Awards dinner at Summit, New Jersey on October 3.

At the same event, it will also honour another Indian-born and former Bell Labs president Arun Netravali, 71, with a $100,000 cash prize for his pioneering work in digital video technology, used in smartphones and TVs.

ALSO READ: India-born, US-based Arun Netravali wins 2017 Marconi Prize for Digital Video Technology

“The award is being conferred on Kailath for mentoring a generation of research scholars and writing a classic textbook in linear systems that changed the way the subject is taught and his special purpose architecture to implement the signal processing algorithms on VLSI (Very Large-sale System Integration) chips,” the Society said in the e-mail.

Kailath and his students, who together hold a dozen patents, have transitioned a part of their research into industry and co-founded four technology firms, including Integrated Systems in 1980 and Numerical Technologies in 1996.

Intel acquired Integrated as part of its WindRiver buy in 2009, while Synopsis bought Numerical earlier in 2003.

“The Marconi Award is humbling and moving, as it puts me alongside Shannon, who laid the foundation for our digital age and was one of my teachers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), though I do not consider being at his level,” Kailath told IANS.

Born on June 7, 1935, in Pune to a Malayalam-speaking Syrian Christian family, Kailath graduated in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Pune in 1956. He went to the US in 1957 to join the MIT, with research assistantship in the Information Theory Group.

He was also the first Indian-born student to be awarded a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering by the MIT in 1961.

Kailath began his career by joining the Digital Communications Research Group of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a federally funded research and development centre of NASA in Pasadena, California.

He was also a visiting professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in the 1960s.

Kailath was a research guide to about 100 doctoral and post-doctoral scholars, including Indian-born scientist Arogyaswami Paulraj, emeritus professor in electrical engineering at Stanford, and whom the Society honoured with the Marconi Prize in 2014 for his work on developing wireless technology to transmit and receive data at high speed.

“Kailath has been an influential mentor to a number of Indian academics, including me. He hosted many of us at his research group at Stanford, even in lean times when federal funding was limited,” the 72-year-old Paulraj recalled.

Kailath and Paulraj are joint holders of the original US patent for Multiple Input, Multiple Output technology that makes wireless networks more efficient.

“While Marconi’s Award recognises Kailath’s achievements at the global level, we in India can take pride in his contributions to the country in advanced technologies,” added Paulraj.

Kailath, who maintained close links with the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for over three decades, was advisor to the Defence Ministry in the 1970s for setting up research centres at the state-run Indian Institute of Technology to support the Air Defence Ground Environment System (ADGES) plan of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Kailath’s distinguished career earned him scores of awards and honours, notably the National Medal of Science from former US President Barack Obama in 2012 for transformative contributions in information and system science, mentoring young scholars and translating scientific ideas into entrepreneurial ventures that impacted the industry.

“Kailath has been an inspiration for generations of Indian students in communications and information systems. Many of them were privileged to listen to him for the first time, when he spoke at our convocation ceremony in 2011,” said S. Sadagopan, Director, International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-B) in Bengaluru. (IANS)

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Astronomers discovered Sun-like star that devoured its own planets

Astronomers discovered Sun-like star that devoured its own planets

New York, Oct 13: Astronomers have discovered that a Sun-like star lurking around 350 light-years away consumed the rocky equivalent of 15 Earths.

Dubbed Kronos after the child-eating Titan of Greek mythology, the star is the clearest and most dramatic case yet of a Sun-like star consuming its own planets, said Semyeong Oh, astrophysicist at Princeton University in New Jersey and lead author of the study.

“Even if our Sun ate the entire inner solar system, it wouldn’t come close to the anomaly we see in this star,” study co-author David Hogg from the Flatiron Institute in New York added.

The research did not begin as a hunt for a planet-eater.

Oh was analysing a catalog of new star data collected by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft for pairs of stars with similar speeds and trajectories.

Such duos are typically twin stars that formed close together from the same ingredients.

The analysis ultimately led to the identification of Kronos and its lesser known brother Krios.

Their official designations are HD 240430 and HD 240429, and they are both about 350 light years from Earth.

The keys to the discovery were first confirming that the widely separated pair are in fact a binary pair, and secondly observing Kronos’ strikingly unusual chemical abundance pattern, Oh explained in a statement released by the Princeton University.

Other co-moving star pairs have had different chemistries, Oh explained, but none as dramatic as Kronos and Krios.

Most stars that are as metal-rich as Kronos “have all the other elements enhanced at a similar level,” she said, “whereas Kronos has volatile elements suppressed, which makes it really weird in the general context of stellar abundance patterns.”

In other words, Kronos had an unusually high level of rock-forming minerals, including magnesium, aluminium, silicon, iron, chromium and yttrium, without an equally high level of volatile compounds — those that are most often found in gas form, like oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and potassium, the study said. (IANS)

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Researchers Claim The Existence Of Planet Nine

Researchers from an American University have laid evidences to prove the presence of Planet Nine

Planet Nine
Kuiper Belt indicates the presence of Planet Nine
  • The science communities since a long time have been debating upon the existence of Planet Nine. 
  • Space highlights different shreds of evidence based on which scientists are stating the claim.

What Is Planet Nine?

Planet Nine is a hypothetical planet present in the far outer Solar System, whose mass is estimated to be 10 times more than the mass of Earth. The planet is said to be 20 times farther than the sun than Neptune is.

What Do Researchers Have To Say?

Dr Konstantin Batygin, a planetary astrophysicist at the California Institute of Technology, said that there were five different lines of observational evidence which pointed to the existence of Planet Nine. He stated that if this theory does not sound believable, then people would have to come up with the answers of the five pieces of evidence which could lead to further confusion.

Also Read: Five Students from Telangana Selected for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge

Batygin in 2016 published a study examining the six known objects in the Kuiper Belt, a  circumstellar disc in the Solar System beyond the planets that extends from the orbit of Neptune towards interstellar space.

The study examines all the objects have elliptical orbits pointing in the same direction and are tilted the same way. These serve as evidence to the planet’s existence.

It is being said that the objects are tilted 30 degrees downward compared to the plane where the eight official planets circle the sun. Researchers also made use of computer simulations of the solar system including the Planet Nine and to demonstrate that there should be more objects tilted a whopping 90 degrees to solar plane. It was revealed that five such objects, which fit these parameters were already known.

The study led to the birth of two more ideas. Researchers said that this planet could have tilted the planets of the solar system during the last 4.5 billion years.

Planet Nine’s existence could also tell the reason as to why Kuiper Belt objects orbit in the opposite direction as compared to other things in the solar system.

-Prepared by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.

(the story was originally published in PTI)

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Recent Trends among the Indian Diaspora and its Increasing Significance

As the Indian diaspora is increasingly organizing itself in the host countries by accumulating the resources, it may have potential impact on the economic, social and political landscape in India.

Indian Diaspora
Indian Diaspora organizing community identity in the host country

The Indian diaspora is a generic term representing the people who migrated from the Indian territories to the other parts of the world. It includes the descendants of these groups. Today, over twenty million Indians which include Non-Resident Indians and People of Indian Origin are residing outside the Indian territory as Indian diaspora. According to a UN survey report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world. In 2005, Indians formed the world’s third-largest diaspora. The Indians who settled overseas in the 1960s for more developed countries such as US, UK, Canada, Australia and Western Europe formulate the category of the New Diaspora.

What are the popular host countries for the Indian Diaspora:

The 2010 estimates of Census data of US, UK and Canada suggest that Indian diaspora constitutes three million people in US, 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom and one million in Canada. Indians are the fourth largest immigrant group in the United States. Also, five million emigrants from India residing in the Gulf region at present.

The History of Indian Diaspora:

A brief overview of the history of Indian diaspora suggests that the first group of Indians immigrated to Eastern Europe in the 1st century AD from Rajasthan during the reign of Kanishka. Yet another evidence of migration was witnessed in 500 AD when a group immigrated to Southeast Asia as the Cholas extended their empire to Indonesia and Malaysia thereby spreading the Indian culture in these states. Thus the early evidence of the diaspora was found during ancient times. The medieval period witnessed the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism during the Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms. Mughals took Indians as traders, scholars, artists, musicians, and emissaries to the other parts of the country.

Old Diaspora:

The first wave of the Modern Indian Diaspora, also called the Old Diaspora, began in the early 19th century and continued until the end of the British rule. The Dutch and French colonizers followed the suit. Indians were sent in large numbers to become the bonded labourers for sugar and rubber plantation in their colonies.

Indians in Caribbean, Africa, and Asia:

By the end of World War 1, there were 1.5 million Indian laborers in the colonies in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. At present, around 60% of Indian diaspora is constituted of this Old Diaspora.

Impact of Immigration policies on Migration from India:

After the Indian independence, a large number of unskilled and some skilled Punjabi male Sikhs migrated to the UK from India due to favorable immigration policies in the United Kingdom. Similarly, the 1990s onwards, due to software boom and its rising economy, H-1B was introduced in the US immigration policy that allowed the entry of highly skilled IT specialists, doctors, scientists and engineers in the US. Further, the 1970s witnessed oil boom in the Middle East that led to significant growth of Indian diaspora in the Gulf region.

While the low skilled and semi-skilled workers are moving to the Gulf region for better economic opportunities, highly skilled labor is moving from India to US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Has Indian Diaspora started impacting the economies and societies:

With the growing rate of international migration since the beginning of millennia, there is a significant impact of diaspora on the economies and societies of the world. In recent years, the diaspora is influencing the economic, political and cultural affairs in their homeland. It is so because the influence of the diaspora communities increases as they organize themselves and accumulate resources in their host countries for several years. The mobilized diaspora are now influencing the affairs of the homeland countries. A common form of exchange is the financial remittances provided to the relatives by the diaspora community. Overseas family networks of the political elites in India are shaping the political landscape as well. Culturally, the diaspora is influencing the music and literature trends in India as the content is consciously structured to cater to the tastes of the diaspora.

What actions have been taken by the government of India to tap the potential of Indian Diaspora:

The first Pravasi Bhartiya Divas was organized in 2003 by the Government of India to expand and reshape the state of India’s economy by the use of the potential human capital which the Indian diaspora reflects. Clearly, Indian diaspora has a larger role to play in the Indian economy over the coming years as the efforts to mobilize them increase in the homeland.