Sundar Picchai Pays Visit to IIT Kharagpur after 23 Years
Sundar Picchai, CEO of Google, was on a visit to his alma mater, IIT Kharagpur, from where he graduated. He graduated in 1993 and since then it was his first visit to the college. After, he went to the US to study Material Sciences and Engineering at Stanford. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of Business.
When asked about his memories he quoted saying, “The last time I was here, I was leaving for the railway station to catch my train. It was a sad journey leaving the institute. I have not been back since.”
He addressed 3500 students in the Tagore open air theatre at IIT-KGP. Students from different departments queued up in the theatre to listen to their world famous alumnus.
Sharing a funny incident he said, “When I first came to Kharagpur, didn’t know Hindi too well as I had just arrived from Chennai. But over the weeks I picked up a phrase of the language that everyone used to speak. So I went to the mess and called out to the server – ‘Abey Saaley’ – I didn’t know what it meant, but assumed that it was a common greeting because that’s how everyone around me would greet each other. The mess guys became so angry that they shut down the mess for a while.”
Answering to one of the question about his days at the college, he told students that he used to bunk classes like everyone else but at the same time worked very hard.
He also told that during those times when there were no mobile phones he used to walk over to the only girls hostel at the time, SN Hall, and ask the mates to call Anjali, his classmate, to meet her. Anjali is now her wife.
He said, “I come to India every year. The rate at which things are progressing in the country is phenomenal. Growing up we didn’t have access to computers. The first computer I ever saw was in the IIT campus. And now there are 300 million smart phone users all over the country. I just went to Nehru Hall before coming here however, and that looks just the same – I guess something will never change.’’
Pichai joined Google ten years after he left IIT Kharagpur and ten years after that, he became its CEO.
Talking about Google, Pichai stold that google’s R&D focus right now is on machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. Google have recently published a paper on diabetic retinopathy – which is the fastest growing cause for blindness in the world. The company is working on applyied machine learning to all fields such as the eye disease so that one would no longer have to go to an ophthalmologist for diagnosis but a regular doctor will be able to diagnose such diseases.
Pichai also shared that they are doing everything to be able to reach out to India’s rural population and do better there. They want to provide Internet to whole country.
Watch the full video of Sundar Pichai here: