Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism Consolidated Blog Document


Book Summary: Digital Republic, India’s Rise to IT Power by Mathai Joseph



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Book Summary: Digital Republic, India’s Rise to IT Power by Mathai Joseph


Net url: http://eklavyasai.blogspot.in/2013/06/book-summary-digital-republic-indias.html



Last updated on 18th June 2013

This document is a summary-addressed-to-author with some additional comments of mine of the book titled "DIGITAL REPUBLIC" and sub-titled "India’s Rise to IT Power" which is a "History & Memoir" by Mathai Joseph. The book website is: http://mathaijoseph.com/. It has been created from the mails I sent to the author as I was reading his book in May and June 2013. I am afraid I do not have the time to convert the summary-addressed-to-author document to a proper summary for a third person. However, I feel that even this summary-addressed-to-author document may give a decent idea of the book to third persons who have not read the book.

I shared an earlier draft version of this document (which was modified only slightly for this version) with the author of the book, Dr. Mathai Joseph, who wrote back over email, "That is an excellent account (summary) of my book." Further please note that Dr. Mathai Joseph, who also holds the copyright for the book, has given me permission (over email) to share this document with others over email and also put it up on my blog. 

[The Creative Commons Attribution license, CC-BY, does not apply to this post.]


A few words about Dr. Joseph picked up from this book (there may be some small slip-ups). After doing B.Sc. and M.Sc. Physics from Bombay, he did a PhD in the new field of Computer Science from the world famous Cambridge University in UK. He returned back to India and joined Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1968 as a researcher (and system software developer/manager) in the nascent field of Computer Science in India. After a long period of around 17 years in TIFR he moved in 1985 to UK academia by becoming a Professor of Computer Science in the University of Warwick. After 12 years in UK academia he came back to India again this time as a Deputy Director of Tata Research Development and Design Centre (TRDDC), the research arm of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). He retired from TRDDC as Director in 2007.

I found the book to be an utterly fascinating view of a distinguished CS academic and industry professional, of computer hardware and software development in India and, to some extent in the West, right from the mid-sixties, and the story of other aspects of his life during this fascinating software ‘revolution’ journey. I thought a quick view of his book from my summary-to-author may be interesting to many, some of whom may then go ahead and read the book itself.

I also think there will be quite a few youngsters in the software industry in India who would like to read this book, once they come to know of its contents, to get some idea about the roots of the Indian software industry that employs them, treats them very well, provides interesting work most of the time (when compared to many other professions in India), and gives them a very affluent lifestyle (as compared to many other Indians). 

The chapter names are given in bold in the summary-to-author [and Ravi: comments] below. Some of my comments are intertwined in the summary-to-author itself but some are separately given within square brackets and in italics.

Prologue and Self at BBVT, Chowpatty Chaat and Byculla Byways chapters:
I thoroughly enjoyed most of it. I liked your style of writing and felt that it had the ring of truth in it. You were frank in sharing incidents about those years of your life and so it made for riveting reading.

I could not relate very well to your early train journeys years as I did not do much outstation traveling during my early youth years. But I can very well imagine a single youth being made a 'bakra' for advice from all and sundry on long train journeys! Your accounts were interesting to read. It did not have much about your early boyhood/school days and the influence of growing up in whatever cultures you were exposed to in that period. Yes, I did get the Coonoor bit but it was rather scanty. Perhaps it was more of a base station rather than the focus of your boyhood years.

I thoroughly enjoyed your Bombay/Mumbai accounts while you were doing your B.Sc. and M.Sc. BTW I was born and bred in Bombay/Mumbai + Dombivli and love them very dearly, despite their many flaws! 

I liked the Wilson college/hostel life account along with the life you saw then as a B.Sc. student around that area. Hostel and nearby hotel food issues [Ravi: it is after I associated with a university campus that I realized how vital hostel food issue is to the life & happiness of students!] ... Sunil Dutt, Nargis, Raj Kapoor, ... paan + charas given to the stars ... mosambi/narangi type local brew in 'prohibition' Bombay then ... some politics ... some sports you played ... writing to the newspaper ... Blitz accounts ... the girls including the cabaret ... South Bombay ... Parel – working class community. Pretty good accounts which I was able to relate to quite well and enjoyed.

Your point about the teaching being rather humdrum during B.Sc. days and not inspiring typically is interesting. I also enjoyed your M.Sc. account. A different hostel, inspiring teachers (the famous politician Madhu Dandavate being one of them!), experiments being rather tough to do due to equipment/budget constraints ... 3 quotations :) [Ravi: I heard that first when I joined the university here as honorary staff] ... film society ... Daman booze trip :) ... Joy! It’s a boy! way to conveying that you passed (with first class) and your mother getting upset with that way of conveying it :), and the move on to Cardiff. I liked your frankness about waving from the top of the gangway/entrance of plane like the others even though there was no one to wave to. I recall that I was very sensitive about such matters during my youth. I wanted to blend into the crowd. 

Liked your account of the books you read and also some films you saw including the bit about predicting the story/end of Hindi movies by looking at the posters!



Indian Origins chapter of your book was interesting. I got a pretty good picture of computing history at that time (early 60s).


Splott:
Enjoyed reading Splott and getting a picture of a young Indian student (perhaps you were around 21/22 then) getting exposed to life in a European country (Cardiff in Wales, Great Britain). The cold ... the people and how they interacted with a young Indian (no racism mentioned at this point, which I was happy to note), the Welsh people remembering relations who had been in India, the colleagues & friends (Indian background + English/Welsh), computers in the college/university, getting exposed to programming, Asian bus conductors, their plans, the 'immigrant' issue, future plans, taking a shot at Cambridge!, for a short time working as a waiter!, London trips.


'Technically Madingley'
 goes into academic elite space! I liked the description in Splott where the Maths teacher, IFIRC, advises you strongly to take up Cambridge PhD instead of doing it at Cardiff! He would have known how different it is from academic rigor point of view and did not want you to lose out. I appreciate the academic sincerity.

The living quarters, the way you are treated by people, the student colleagues, the elite Labs ... Quite interesting how getting into Cambridge from Cardiff changes the atmosphere you were into rather dramatically (upwards socially). Cavendish lab ... Rutherford ... legendary names in Physics.  It must have been really something working in a lab. close to Cavendish lab. which is part of the same institution!

David Wheeler (PhD guide of Dr. Mathai Joseph) has a wiki page - I just went through it, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Wheeler_%28computer_scientist%29 (Note that the link may not work from the pdf file perhaps due to presence of special character. Copy-pasting the url into browser address bar works). Jump instruction being referred to as Wheeler jump (in the context of subroutine loop) is mentioned in the Wiki page too. Interesting.

Interesting to note how Wheeler guided you. Social life with Indian/India groups was quite interesting.  Farukh Dhondy, Adil Jussawala are names that certainly ring a bell but I don't recall having read their works. You certainly had some would-be-elite-later companions at Cambridge.


The research grind, frustration, sage advice from supervisor ... How new "computer science" was as a field then even in one of the top "computer" academic institutions in the world! Some Cambridge dons being Nobel prize winners in established areas of Physics, Maths & Economics! CS must have been looked upon as hardly a field of serious academic endeavour by some, or maybe most, of the Cambridge academics. Cooking challenges part was quite funny. The trip to the European continent by car was interesting.


Trafalgar Road chapter: Separate house as against hostel room. ... Computer time challenges ... Titan time-sharing system resulting in more computer time for you ... Bourne of Bourne shell being a student contributing to the system! Farming system in Rajasthan lecture - very interesting that Cambridge exposed you to that as well ... Carcanet magazine work along with Farukh Dhondy

Reccomendation from Maurice Wilkes for IBM scholarship. Just read up his wiki, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Wilkes. Very impressive. The wiki page mentions Wheeler too and EDSAC and Titan. Wilkes moved to DEC in Mass., USA in the 1980s! Interesting. I loved this quote from his memoirs on the wiki page: "As soon as we started programming, we found to our surprise that it wasn't as easy to get programs right as we had thought. Debugging had to be discovered. It was on one of my journeys between the EDSAC room and the punching equipment that 'hesitating at the angles of stairs' the realization came over me with full force that a good part of the remainder of my life was going to be spent finding errors in my own programs."

An interesting part about the IBM scholarship thing was how the IBM guy was kind-of bored and just wanted to know how much to pay and for how long, and how Wilkes was not surprised at all by you getting the scholarship! A recommendation for scholarship from Wilkes was something that IBM could not deny! Wow, that's the clout that top researchers had then with computer companies and probably have even now. [Ravi: As I have spent time in academia and then read up about academic world on the Internet I realize that the old-boy network is a very, very powerful one in the academic world.]


Holiday Camp: Cairo experience was interesting. Telangana movement was making itself felt even then! Interesting Cambridge Research magazine experience. Elliot Automation research group doing research quite differently! First mentioned shave with racism and that too around the time of Enoch Powell's infamous 'rivers of blood' speech! Pulsar work Nobel prize winner Tony Hewish having to talk to Wheeler while you were having a ceremonial kind-of dinner with him - that was quite interesting. Noted the very unfortunate aspect of the research glory business where the research student's key contribution got overlooked for the Nobel prize. I wonder whether the prize winners at least publicly and unequivocally stated the research student's contribution. And you get the PhD finally. Noted that research paper publication was not mandatory. But scientific community would accept the research work only after a paper is published (in a suitable publication).


Marking Time: Interesting account of how computing was tightly controlled by Indian government in those days (60's). Fear of clerical staff becoming redundant ... lack of indigenously produced computers made India dependent on foreign suppliers ... [Ravi: As I am not into research aspects of Computer Science or deeply into algorithms I do not fully appreciate the impact of Dijkstra, Backus-Naur, McCarthy etc. Of course, they are well known names even to me but since I never did fundamental system software stuff like designing a programming language I am not in a position to appreciate their contribution like I appreciate the contribution of Kernighan & Ritchie et. at. (C, Unix), Stroustrup (C++), Grady Booch (OOAD, UML), Erich Gamma et. al (Design Patterns), Tim Berners Lee (WWW), James Gosling (Java) etc.]


CODA: Quite insightful account of how a university town forgets the passed out students and welcomes the new. ... "While there, Cambridge endowed them with entitlement, purpose and posture: on leaving they lose the entitlement but may have found direction from the purpose; some chose to live off just the posture." Beautifully put, sir.

Quite a decision you made to come back to India, sir. Many of the people in your shoes would have stayed back in UK or even migrated to USA. Touching account of your father's illness and the treatment prescribed which may have been correct according to knowledge of that time & place but now is known to have been an incorrect approach. Such is life - these medical issues are very tricky stuff, even today - I mean it is not an exact science like Physics.

The people of TIFR you have mentioned are very famous names, sir. S. Ramani was a well known name even to a solely-software-industry-no-research guy like me as I think he headed NCST Bombay during my times in SEEPZ. Narasimhan, M.G.K. Menon - really big names. I loved the account of your first experience of Narasimhan's managerial skills (being separated from S. Ramani as you two were getting along too well for him)! About the passing away of your father, "I told them there was nothing more to be said or done about a life lived well; his memory would stay in the minds of those who knew him." Fantastic, sir! IMHO, parents who shower love & affection on their children and raise them well, and lead a good & ethical life, have lived their life very well and earn the love of the people that they have interacted with.


Job Description: I found this chapter to be of gripping interest! Choosing your research area - interested in OS & related areas ... Narasimhan suggesting Graphics ... You were not interested ... More importantly, one guy had already staked out the field! 

You along with another person wrote a small time-sharing system which did not attract the interest of TIFR computer users who preferred the batch system similar to what was used by their peers! Hmm. Must have been a huge disappointment so early in your career. Good work getting ignored because of lack of knowledgeable users!

View of one person that computing being an applied science should not be done in TIFR which should only do fundamental research! 

Homi Bhabha's genius and TIFR ... if a person wants to leave, I want to know why ... Having to work very much on your own without much guidance ... [that must have been really tough] ... Journals helped to keep abreast with the West ... Labour unions against computers ... George Fernandes ...

Enjoyed the family life and cultural life account. Lots of plays... Interesting account about Prohibition in Bombay. … 1971 war ... [Ravi: I did not know about General Jagjit Singh Arora breaking Gen. Niazi's sword over his knee - tried Google Image search for it but did not find suitable results (in the initial set at least).] Project of National Importance ... patriotically passed on by the physicists and mathematicians to the computer group :) ... PDP-11 real-time OS design (and development) followed by application development [Ravi: Wow! That is an awesome, awesome achievement for those days. While I have not done any core OS design or development (different from backup tools, networking products etc. which I have worked on), I have studied and taught a course on kernel development (tinkering would be closer to the truth) using Minix (Tanenbaum's OS). So I have some idea of the complexity involved and this was way back in the 70s I guess.] ... Field situation turning out to be quite different from what you'll were told! ...

Eventually system moving into production at ECIL. ... And then all this really awesome work not getting proper recognition from the TIFR management - that must have really hurt. 'The Institute' would take the unpleasant decisions ... Not much consultation with persons about their career interests. ... presumption that people will not leave the privileged institute ... Your work provided visibility to government ... government committees ... IBM and ICL competition ... difficult job to be on these committees ... told only part of government's intention ... NCSDCT budget preparation ... INRIA research ... Indian emergency ... EPW anonymous article authored by you which was critical of BARC [Ravi: Wow! That would have needed some courage considering you were in TIFR, a government funded setup, and it was emergency time. Agree entirely with your view that the BARC guy could have given a rejoinder article. Hmm. Narasimhan spoke to you about it ... talk of pressure] ... 1977 elections with Indira Gandhi's defeat ... you joining in the exhilarating celebrations [Ravi: I was studying in a school in  Bandra (East), Bombay at that time, perhaps in ninth standard. I recall that people would say that the buses and trains run more closely to schedule and that there is more discipline now. But IFIRC I was told by my benchmate in school (a Sikh boy) who used to live, I presumed, in a rougher and poorer locality in Khar(E), about sterilization vans catching hold of young men and sterilizing them by force! And when I and a friend of mine elder to me by a few years were walking on the road around election results time discussing the elections in perhaps loud voices a police van pulled up and took my friend to the police station! I was terrified (around 15 years old then) - maybe since I was younger the police did not pick me up. My friend returned after some time - IFIRC, he was given a tight slap at the police station and warned not to speak about such things publicly! What a blot the emergency was on our democracy! We owe a great debt to people who fought for democracy then as well as the general voting public as they turned out to be quite wise and threw the tyrants out.]

TDC-16 suite of basic software ... work duplicated by ECIL ... ECIL not distributing your software  ... ECIL lacking financial and technical accountability ... Taking over as editor of Computer Society of India journal

Annual review of activities of NCSDCT ... visiting lecturers ... [Ravi: I found this to be fascinating. Perhaps it was the main centre of computing research in India in those days. During the mid 80s and 90s we would associate IIT Bombay and NCST (NCSDCT later got renamed as NCST – National Centre for Software Technology, which in turn seems to have got renamed as CDAC-Mumbai – Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Mumbai,http://www.cdacmumbai.in/ ) as the key computing research centres in Bombay and I don't recall coming across TIFR's name for computing research in Bombay then. But then my view was a software practitioner view and not a CS researcher view.] ... "We began to understand how much research is a game of balancing results and opinions, of judging where consensus lay and guessing what would be the big new problems." [Ravi: Interesting insight though being a non-researcher I can't really understand it/empathize with it.]

Development of CCN multiprocessor system ... co-design of concurrent programming language ... OS and utilities allowed user to work in a virtual environment ... few other comparable projects anywhere else in the world at that time [Ravi: Wow! That is another awesome, awesome achievement from my software practitioner point of view.] Remote node for DEC system handled by S. Ramani ... Issues faced [Ravi: Utterly fascinating! How far has network connectivity and reliability and network products come now! Utterly mind-boggling change having unbelievably high level of social impact/transformation in a matter of just a few decades.]

CCN systems demonstrated at NCSDCT annual review time ... Jerry Saltzer of MIT, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Saltzer, jumping on the floor near the system [Ravi: Wow! That must have been really something. The name Jerry Saltzer did ring a bell but I was not sure what I had known him for. I just read his wiki and him being a team leader for Multics which was the inspiration for Ken Thomson (& other Bell Labs. chaps) to develop Unix. During the mid-80s and early 90s Unix was a very, very big thing for us in Indian software consultancy industry. Bell Labs. is a hallowed name to me :). I think I may have read about Saltzer when I was reading up on Unix history.] … Narasimhan gets it moved to IIT! It was unwelcome there and did not get used again. [Ravi: My God! Horrifying!] … But publications on the CCN system were made ... and it got noticed by the researcher community ... [Ravi: Nice to know about this benefit even if the project had been disposed of.]



Research administrators focusing only on publication counts and ignoring software development [Ravi: That problem continues to this day!] "You could build less software and write more papers (which most people in academic research ended up doing) [Ravi: I agree fully and I believe the situation is the same today not only in India but worldwide including the USA], or you moved to an institution where you built more systems and worried less about papers. Paradoxically, my masters in TIFR wanted both demonstrable projects and copious publications. NCSDCT may have had more freedom in the choice of work, but people were judged exactly as in TIFR." [Ravi: Hmm. It is quite a learning for me, though an unhappy learning, that even a prestigious institution like TIFR could not come up with better norms for appraisal of computer science researchers & engineers/developers. Perhaps the issue is that they are applying fundamental research mindset to appraisal of an "applied science" and engineering area. Maybe that is the same mindset that prevails in UGC/AICTE top committees that decide on appointment and promotion norms for all academics ranging from Physics, Chemistry to Electrical engineering, Chemical engineering, to Literature and also Computer Science and Information Technology.]

Slow Progress was quite an interesting account of Indian government attitude towards computing field and industry in the 60s and 70s.

Shadyside has your one year CMU (Carnegie Mellon University, USA) stint account. Noted the wise decision to stay away from "writing mountains of code for the impossibly ambitious software systems" ... FST&TCS conference founding - fascinating ... back to India ... book writing [“Multiprocessor Operating Systems” (A Multiprocessor Operating System) by Mathai Joseph, V.R. Prasad and N. Natarajan published by Prentice Hall International, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21511239 ] - 'Ah! A book. Of course it's not research' comment you got from the administrator when you gave him a copy of the book, followed by, ‘I suppose it can be used as a college text somewhere’ !!! ... "Science at TIFR was run as a collection of fiefdoms with the suzerainty of each leader unquestioned and unchanged till his eventual retirement (usually delayed as long as possible). This was true in several groups, and the Computer Group followed the pattern." [Ravi: that says a lot] ... Time for you to get a move on from TIFR/NCSDCT but at 41 years of age with family including two growing children you moved to UK academia as a professor! That was some move and would have taken huge amount of self-belief, courage and support from your family.

Acacia Road describes your twelve years at Warwick and I found it to be fascinating and very useful for getting some understanding of UK academia (then). "You never go to the VC unless you want something out of him. And I'd say it's a bit early for that." [Ravi: captures the 'VC' aura so well.] ... settling down to English life (school for children, home, neighbours ...), Registry and teachers interactions – [Ravi: I think that model fits in with what I have seen]  ... teaching ... research grants, research, visits abroad related to research (and lecturing) ... students issues including the human ones ... external examiner duty ... buying Pune flat ... another book written (jointly) and published [Real-time systems : specification, verification, and analysis; edited by Mathai Joseph, published by Prentice Hall International, http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/21605574. A later update and download of the book is available here: http://www.cs.york.ac.uk/rts/books/RTS-SVABook.html ] ... (UK) polytechnics converted to universities; teaching-quality assessments ... move back to India into yet another field of software industry research with TCS research (Tata Research Development and Design Centre – TRDDC) at Pune.

Increasing Pace is a short account of how the computing field in India (hardware to some extent, and software) picked up in the 80s and 90s.

Koregaon Parked is about your TRDDC/TCS stint ... joining as deputy director TRDDC, chalking out your own role, "I realized I had to find a place for the research and development work of TRDDC, making it contribute to TCS projects in a measurably significant way and still continue its research activities." ... notion of some TCS guys that they earn the money and R&D guys spend it! ... "In academic computer science there's a myth that people in the computing industry do mundane jobs and get paid far too much (this rankles most with poorly paid university teachers). It didn't take me long to discover a few mundane jobs and people doing them, but across most of TCS large teams of talented and hard-working people built complex systems against changing requirements and in quick time." [Ravi: Very well said, sir] ... tools that generate code from specs.; selling them/the idea to project managers ... TRDDC software group building software specific tools ... TRDDC tool generator would produce automatically a tailor-made tool in about a month! [Ravi: Wow! That's something; Code generation tools were quite popular then (4th gen. was one name I recall for such efforts) and many of my friends used one such tool from Baan Info. Systems for Baan ERP stuff. But the tool itself being generated automatically seems to be something special.] ... publicity for TRDDC tools and brand-building ... water filter innovation - fantastic stuff ... Information Security work, Masketeer ... hectic work schedule for you, lots of traveling ...

American friend Luke raising the matter of Indians taking away American jobs like his! ... VP of large corporation saying, "We came to India for the costs, we stayed for the quality and we're now investing for the innovation." [Ravi: I think that captures the Indian software consultancy success story over the last two to three decades very well] ... How life changed for the better for the software professional from Moradabad, "Ajay might have done better than others who joined the software industry but, like them, he was transforming his family's life and expectations in less than a generation." [Ravi: So well put, sir]. ... Old friends from research and academia looking down upon your move to "commercial" work [Ravi: I think intellectual haughtiness is a terrible kind of haughtiness and, unfortunately, many academics and researchers, IMHO, are guilty of it; I wonder whether they have heard the term, "dignity of labour"] ...

"Creating a link between academic research and its practical use worked both ways: taking new results into practice and bringing new problems for academic scrutiny and research. Finally, I had something that followed my idea of research from my TIFR days: 'models for theory and paradigms for practice'."  [Ravi: Brilliant! That's the kind of research that I really like. Now I know that abstract research has its value - it may result in fantastic applications over time, or may simply contribute to better knowledge/understanding of some fundamental aspects of matter, life or an abstract field like Mathematics/Logic. But sometimes in academic research, the impression I have is that the research stuff just stops at paper publication and the credit the academic and his/her institution gets. There does not seem to be a concerted effort to take the research work/results into practice.] ... TECS week ... Retirement.

Epilogue gives a nice overview of computing in India over the decades with the key concerns and issues that have to be tackled .. how India has impacted world IT industry ... "Modern software systems represent some of the most complex artifacts ever produced and an increasing number of them now have their origins in India." [Ravi: that's quite some statement about Indian IT role in world software industry]. 

"The amalgam of computing and communication has reached more people and more corners of the country than any other technical development in the country's history. Messages, e-mail and social networking are widely used today by people who until twenty years ago had been left largely unaffected by political policies and economic processes." [Ravi: And the cell phone in particular; in rural and semi-urban India it is the cell phone that has become/is becoming a life-changer even for the rather poor. Once a good, cheap and reliable tablet with affordable Internet connectivity hits rural and semi-urban India I think there will be a huge growth in knowledge in these areas. The kids in these areas are so hungry for knowledge - they just need access to good teachers on the net via cheap & reliable tablets and cheap & reliable internet.] ... online education.



Concluding Comments by Ravi: Thanks for the wonderful book, sir. I enjoyed reading it, learned some new things, and confirmed some views of mine. I think it is a great contribution to the literature on history of computing involving research, academia and industry, mainly from the Indian perspective, and a nice memoir too.


P.S. Book Omits The Bangalore System Software Product-Development Story
I think the book misses out on the Bangalore system software product-development part of the Indian software story (or does not have enough coverage of it). As I saw it, in the 80s and initial half or more of the 90s, the big software stories were in Bombay or around Bombay (like Pune). And these were primarily a software services story. Most of it was database oriented business app. development for customers and maybe some similar type product development. There was some system software product development kind of services provided by consultancy service companies to their customers - a good part of my industry career related to this kind of work. But system software product development in general was not the focus area of the Bombay software stories, IMHO.

Towards the late 90s Bangalore and, to a lesser extent, cities like Hyderabad and perhaps Chennai too, started housing software development centres for US product development companies like Microsoft, Oracle etc. (I am not sure of the exact dates/periods). I think they found Bombay unsuitable - too crowded - as compared to Bangalore, Hyderabad etc. One young colleague in system software development who had taken up a Bangalore job in late 90s but returned to Bombay due to family considerations, told me that conditions were good and salary was better than Bombay (SEEPZ). Of course, Bangalore, Hyderabad & Chennai also housed software consultancy companies like Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, Polaris etc.

After I started teaching and acting as technical consultant to students in the Maths & CS dept. of a 'deemed' university in Andhra Pradesh (South India) from Jan 2003 onwards, I came to know the South India software story better through passed out students who started working in South India based software companies. One student who did his M.Tech. (CS) from IIT Bombay is now working in Google Bangalore, another who did his M.Tech. (CS) from the university here worked with Lucent in Bangalore for some time and is now pursuing a CS PhD in USA, yet another who did his M.Tech. (CS) from the university here worked with Nokia and then Yahoo, and is now pursuing a CS PhD in USA. These examples are the brighter students from the university here who became part of the core product development teams of top tech. companies of the world, not in USA or Finland, but in Bangalore! Some passed out students work/worked with IBM Bangalore on its Power PC - one of them moved to Intel in Bangalore; some work for a Chennai based company which focuses on software to detect flaws in silicon wafers (that, I presume, would be used to create Integrated Circuits (ICs) - microprocessors are an advanced type of IC)!

And all these students are from a relatively unknown deemed university of Andhra Pradesh! So, one can imagine, how many more CS graduates from various universities of the country would be employed in top tech. firms of the world, in their Bangalore and other South Indian city offices, doing system software hi-tech product development stuff.

I think this book does not cover this part of the Indian software story (or cover it well enough).

I must also state that many students from the Maths & CS dept. of the deemed university in Andhra Pradesh I mentioned earlier are employed with software consultancy service type companies in South India too.

Saturday, March 24, 2012



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