At 16, based on an annual India-wide entrance exam taken anonymously, and nothing else  —  to preclude tribalism, classism 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 received the First Prize for Academic Excellence in the Core Curriculum in 1981 and 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 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. 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 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 concurrently taught at Princeton University, which led him to write A Guided Tour of Computer Vision, Addison-Wesley, 1993  —  a course text used to qualify PhD candidates in artificial intelligence and computer science, as by Stanford University. He's been recognized for his patents and publications; prevailed in every patent litigation to which he's been a party, as in this IPX, or an expert; and been invited to lecture worldwide, as at MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Google, Technion, UBC, TU Delft, IIT Delhi, HKU and INRIA SA. He was an 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),
a governor of
Kashmir who joined the
Sikh Army at 16 and rose to lead it,
is best known for driving Afghan rule out of India to beyond the
Khyber Pass, dying defending its exit successfully.
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