At 16, based on an annual India-wide entrance exam taken anonymously, and that alone — 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 its 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 its Neural Networks, Robotics and Statistics Departments to automatically authenticate credit-card signatures, he suggested that the state of the art, its equal error rate, could be improved by an order of magnitude, tenfold. He was challenged to prove this, which he did that summer. The President of Bell Labs, who'd been seeking his resignation for insubordination, thereon afforded him unfettered freedom, 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 qualify PhD candidates in computer science and artificial intelligence, as by Stanford University. He's been recognized for his patents and publications; he's prevailed in every patent litigation to which he's been a party or an expert; and he's been invited to describe his research worldwide, as by MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Google, Technion, TU Delft, IIT, HKU and INRIA. He was Associate Editor of IEEE PAMI over 1994 – 98 and he was elected Fellow of IEEE in 2004.
His dad, a
midshipman in WWII at 16, was court martialed in 1946 for the
Royal Indian Naval Mutiny, which
Indian independence. Another ancestor,
Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837), who joined the
Sikh Army at 14 and rose to lead it, is
widely mythologized for driving Afghan rule from India.
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