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Dr. Sam Pitroda

Dr. Sam Pitroda is better known as “The father of India’s communication revolution”. Presently he is the Chairman of India’s National knowledge Commission, besides being the chairman and CEO of World- Tel Limited and the founder and CEO of C-SAM, Inc, he also worked as an advisor to the United Nations in 1992. He is an inventor, entrepreneur and policymaker. Sam Pitroda was born on 16 November, 1942 in Titlagarh, Orissa. His real name is Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda. His parents had migrated to Orissa from Gujarat. They were deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy. Sam Pitroda did his schooling at Anand Vallabh Vidyalaya in Gujarat, and completed his Master degree in physics and Electronic from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujarat. In the year1964, Sam Pitroda went to the US and did his Masters in Electrical Engineering in Chicago.

Sam Pitroda has many technology patents to his name. He was involved in research work on telecommunications and handheld computing. He introduced microprocessor in telephone switches leading to digital switching and invented the Electronic Diary in 1975. He designed his own computer-themed card game called Compucards in 1983. He returned to India in 1984 on the suggestion of the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi and founded the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DOT). In 1987, he became advisor to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and was responsible for revolutionizing India’s foreign and domestic telecommunications policies. He is widely known as the brain behind the introduction of the public Call Offices (PCO) across the length and breath of the country. He left the country once again after an argument with K.P. Unnikrishnan, the minister for telecommunication in the V.P. Singh government. He has served as an advisor to the UN. In 2004, Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh recruited him to head the National Knowledge Commission.

When we think about yellow phone booths all across India, we must remember to Sam Pitroda. For this facility to public, totally credit goes to Sam Pitroda. It is interesting to know that Sam Pitroda first used a telephone only after moving to the US. The biggest virtue of Sam Pitroda is that he has a definite vision to use technology for the benefit and betterment of society. Along with being a pioneer in telecom, Sam Pitroda has been made strong case for food, clean water, and adequate shelter for the unprivileged section. Due to his hard work, Sam Pitroda has brought telephones to some of the worlds previously isolated regions. In the field of telecom, Sam’s emphasis was on accessibility rather than density. By providing public access to telephones, Mr. Sam Pitroda revolutionized the state of telecommunications in India. Sam Pitroda has also featured in several newspapers, magazines radio, and TV programs.

In July 2009, the Government of India invited Mr. Sam Pitroda to head an expert committee on ICT in Railways. In October 2009, Sam Pitroda was appointed as Advisor to Prime minister of India (Dr. Manmohan Singh) on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations with the rank of Cabinet Minister. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan award in 2009 by the Government of India for his contribution to Science and Engineering.

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Scientist Raja Ramanna (1925-2004)

Raja Ramanna was a talented personality – an eminent nuclear physicist, a highly accomplished technologist, an able administrator, an inspiring leader, a gifted musician, a scholar of Sanskrit literature and philosophy, and above all a completed human being. He is well known for his work in “Indian Nuclear Program”. He was born on January 28, 1925 in Tumkur, Karnataka. He was the son of B. Ramanna and Rukminiamma. His father was in the judicial service of the Mysore state and earned the reputation of being a kind-hearted judge.

Raja Ramanna started his studies at “Bishop Cotton Boy’s School, Bangalore. After that he completed graduation from Madras Christian College. He obtained Ph. D. in nuclear physics and L.R.S.M. from King’s College, London. He specialised in nunuclear physics, nuclear reactor physics and design, European music and philosophy. Dr. Raja Ramanna was the director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for over a decade. He was also the Union minister of state for defence in 1990 in the V.P. Singh government. In 1997, he became a Member of Parliament through the upper house, the Rajya Sabha. He was also the first director of National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

On May 18, 1974, India tested its first nuclear device in the Pokhran desert in Rajasthan. The credit for this achievement goes to Raja Ramanna and his colleagues, as also to Bhabha, who laid the foundation for the country’s nuclear programme. This was, however, not Ramanna’s first success. He was also the man mainly responsible for designing and installing the country’s first series of nuclear reactors, Apsara, Cirus and Purnima. He died on September 23, 2004.

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Professor Raj Reddy

Dabbala Rajagopal Reddy was born on June 13, 1937 in Katoor, Andhra Pradesh, India. His father Srdenivasulu Reddy was an agricultural landlord and his mother, Pitchamma, was a homemaker. He is a world-renowned researcher in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Human-Computer Interaction better known as "Professor Raj Reddy". Currently, he is serving as the Director of the West Coast campus of Carnegie Mellon University, USA. He received his Becholor degree in civil engineering from Guindy Engineering College of the University, Madras, (Now Anna University, Chennai), India, in 1958. After that Professor Reddy moved to Australia, and there he received his Master’s degree in technology from the University of New South Wales, Australia, in 1960. He also received a doctor’s degree in Computer science from Stanford University in 1966.

On the same year he started his academic career as an Assistant Professor in the same University. After that he joined a member of Carnegie Mellon University faculty in 1969. He was the Founding Director of the Robotics Institute at the University from 1979 to 1991. Now as the Director of the West coast campus. Dr. Reddy’s research interests include the study of human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. His current research project includes speech recognition and universal digital libraries, an Information Appliance for rural environments for use by illiterate people, where all creative works of the human race are available to anyone anywhere.

On the personal information, Dr. Reddy’s hobbies are walking and basically reading. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife of 37 years and they have two daughters. His daughters live on the West Coast, in Silicon Valley, California. He visits his native country once a year, his seven brothers and lives near Bangalore. Today, this brilliant scientist is among the most respected names in the US in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by India in 2001 and the Legion of Honor by President Francois Mitterrand of France in 1984. He is also a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, IEEE and AAAI, Fellow. He received the 2005 IJCAI Donald E. Walker Distinguished Service Award For, “His outstanding service to the AI community as President of AAAI, Conference Chair of IJCAI-79, and his leadership and promotion of AI internationally,” He also received the IBM Research Ralph Gomory Visiting Scholar Award in 1991.

Recently, Dr. Reddy received the Honda prize for his, “Contributions to eco-technology, the concept that “Contributions to eco-technology, the concept that technology should not pursue efficiency and profits alone but should be geared toward harmony with the environment surrounding human activities.”

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Professor Raj Reddy With Scientist Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

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