Welcome to my website!

I will update this website periodically with snippets from my honors classes, and other interesting things in my life!

That's me!

In the summer of 2009, I had made a long journey from India over a vast stretch of land and sea, from the comfort of home and presence of near and dear ones to a far off shore about whose Universities and Institutes I had only heard. But I had heard enough to make me take the decision to come over once the opportunity arose. I had heard about Nobel Laureates teaching students, about how undergraduates also pursued research and even had publications and filed for patents. I had heard about the system where the student albeit under certain guidelines and limitations, was free to select courses which interested her and in a way write her own curriculum for undergraduate study.

There was no ambiguity in my mind about my majors. It had to be Engineering and Math. These were my electives from my high school days and I had no inclination to pursue another field of study, at least at the time I joined UW. It has since been a long journey punctuated by occasional  falls and bruises, but by and large it has been a period filled with the joy of learning from academicians deeply involved in their areas of research and me having had the opportunity to do some little research work of my own as well. The opportunity of internship during the summer quarters has been an added bonus.

The uncharted territory into which I ventured has to be Interdisciplinary honors. When I accepted to pursue this area of study, I had the vague impression that science was getting increasingly interdisciplinary and it would be a good idea to venture into areas related to Computer Science and Math and broaden my education. When I realized that I would have to take courses in medieval history, current topics such as the ban of the Islamic hejab in French schools, learn Biblical creation and Greek mythology and so on, I knew that I was on a sticky wicket. My fears turned out to be true when I submitted my first paper on a relative study between Abu-al-fazl ibn mubarak  and Abdul Qadar al Badouni, both of whom were Islamic scholars at the court of the Moghul emperor Akbar, one being a Sufi moderate and the other a orthodox Islamic cleric. I got just about below average for my effort. This seemed far removed from what I had come to UW for. However, I worked on about 8-10 rewrites for every paper submitted during the course and managed an average grade for my effort, the last paper getting me a reasonably good score. There were many lessons I learned during this down period which have helped me in the latter part of my undergraduate years. One was that I needed to put in effort to gather information for my papers, that I needed to do wide reading on the topic, organize the material coherently and write in a lucid style with one paragraph flowing seamlessly into the next one and culminating in a well reasoned conclusion at the end. This effort and experience helped my write my reports well in my CS projects. My last three efforts in interdisciplinary honors have fetched me fabulous results. Though the subjects of science and humanities are different, the process of acquiring information, analyzing it and writing in a coherent manner are similar.

My forays into medical science during my course work on HIV/AIDs, something far removed from my area of Math and Computer Science, gave me an introduction to the study of diseases, their prevalence and socioeconomic importance, and their complex management. What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. Patients vary in their disease presentations, compliance with treatment, response to treatment and recovery from the disease. My senior Undergraduate project in Computer Science is about Stroke rehabilitation using Brain Computer Interface (BCI) which is an interdisciplinary area between Neurology, Statistics, Electronics and Computer Science.

Interdisciplinary studies to my mind create an awareness of different ways of relating to a problem and different dimensions of a problem. For example, it may be possible to program a humanoid robot to follow instructions originating in the human brain using EEG mediated BCI, but the ultimate utility to the patient depends on his or her mental agility, whether they are able to master the mental calisthenics to generate the appropriate brain signals by imagery alone. They are by and large sick patients with less than normal mental vitality, who may not be able to use an otherwise brilliantly conceptualized and manufactured robot. So, the solutions envisaged have to be patient friendly to be acceptable to the patient population. Studies in sociology and epidemiology help understand the dynamics of patient receptivity of medical advice. What is acceptable in an advanced western society may not be acceptable in the orthodox Islamic or Hindu family or a backward Sub Saharan society.

Overall, it has been an interesting journey for the past four years. I have learnt outside of my core areas of Math and Computer Science and am a better student and individual for having done so. I know that I do not live in isolation, but in an interdependent society with highly individualistic people with different needs. One solution does not solve all problems and the search for better services and facilities in all areas is a continuing one.

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