At 16, based solely on an anonymously taken nationwide entrance exam and nothing else  — to preclude tribalism, cronyism and outright 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 was the Best Student in Electrical Engineering (EE) upon receiving the B.Tech. Degree in 1983, both jointly. He next received the M.S. (1985) and Ph.D. (1987) Degrees in EE on a fellowship from Stanford University.
He then joined Bell Labs Research, a hive of invention. After a talk there in 1993, describing competing multiyear efforts by its Robotics, Statistics and Neural Networks Departments to authenticate signatures on signature pads such as in use today, he suggested that these efforts, their equal error rates, could be improved tenfold  —  which he was challenged to prove, and did, over two summer months. The President of Bell Labs Research, who'd been seeking his resignation for insubordination, thereon afforded him unfettered freedom, which led to FullView. Also for this, in 1994, he was the sole winner of a Bell-Labs-wide competition on applications of smart (chip) credit cards.
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 for PhD qualifying exams in artificial intelligence and computer science, as by Stanford. He's been recognized for his patents and publications, and been invited to describe his research worldwide, as by MIT, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CMU, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Google, UBC, Technion, TU Delft, IIT Delhi and INRIA SA. He was an Associate Editor of IEEE PAMI over 1994  – 98 and was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 2004.
His dad, a
midshipman in WWII at 16, was court martialed in 1946 for the
Indian Naval Mutiny that
Indian independence. And he descends from
Hari Singh Nalwa (1791–1837),
governor of Kashmir,
then Commander-in-Chief of the Sikh imperial army, who's best known for driving Afghan rule off the
Indian subcontinent to beyond the
Khyber Pass, where he died in battle.
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