At 16, based solely on a nationwide entrance exam taken anonymously  — and nothing else, to preclude tribalism, cronyism and corruption  — he skipped his senior year at St. Columba's High School in India for the 240-odd freshman class at IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Kanpur. At IIT, he won the First Prize for Academic Excellence in the Core Curriculum in 1981 and he was the Best Graduating Student in Electrical Engineering (EE) in 1983, both with two others. He then received the M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) Degrees in EE on a fellowship from Stanford University.
Between Stanford and FullView, he was with legendary Bell Labs Research. After a talk there in 1993 that described an ongoing multiyear competition between its Neural Networks, Robotics and Statistics Departments to verify signatures signed on signature pads such as in use today, he suggested that the performance of these efforts, their equal error rates, could be improved by an order of magnitude, tenfold. He was challenged to prove this, which he did over that summer. The President of Bell Labs Research, who'd been seeking his resignation for insubordination, thereon afforded him unfettered freedom instead, which culminated in FullView. Also for this, in 1994, he won a Bell-Labs-wide competition on applications of credit cards with a chip.
In 1989, he was concurrently on the faculty of Princeton University, which led him to author A Guided Tour of Computer Vision, Addison-Wesley, 1993  — a course text used to test PhD candidates in artificial intelligence and computer science, as at Stanford University. He's been honored for his patents and publications; prevailed in every patent litigation to which he's been a party or an expert (e.g., IPX); and been invited to describe his research worldwide  — as by MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Google, Technion, TU Delft, IIT Delhi and INRIA SA. He was an Associate Editor of IEEE PAMI from 1994 to 1998 and was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2004.
His dad, a
midshipman at 16
during WWII, was court martialed for the
Royal Indian Naval Mutiny that
Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837),
a governor of Kashmir who joined the
Sikh Army at 16 and rose to lead it,
is best known for driving Afghan rule off the
Indian subcontinent to beyond the
Khyber Pass, which he died defending.
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