At 16, based on an annual India-wide entrance exam taken anonymously  —  and nothing else, to preclude tribalism, cronyism and corruption  —  he skipped his senior year at St. Columba's School for the 240-odd freshman class at one of the then five Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). At IIT Kanpur, 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 from Stanford University, on its inaugural ISL Fellowship, the M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) degrees in EE.
Between Stanford and FullView, he was with Bell Labs Research. After a talk there in 1993 that described an ongoing multiyear competition between teams from its Neural Networks, Robotics and Statistics Departments to authenticate 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, which he was challenged to prove  —  and did, over that summer. The President of Bell Labs, who'd been seeking his resignation for insubordination, thereon afforded him unfettered freedom instead, which led to 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 write A Guided Tour of Computer Vision, Addison-Wesley, 1993  —  a text used to teach and qualify PhD candidates in computer science and artificial intelligence, 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, as in this IPX, and been invited to lecture widely, as at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Google, Technion, TU Delft, IIT Delhi, HKU and INRIA SA. He was Associate Editor of IEEE PAMI over 1994 – 98 and was elected a Fellow of IEEE in 2004.
His dad, a
midshipman in WWII at 16, was court martialed in 1946 for his role in the
Indian Naval Mutiny that
Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837),
who joined the
Sikh Imperial Army at 16 and rose to lead it,
widely mythologized for his military exploits that drove Afghan rule off the
Indian Subcontinent to beyond the
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