You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2007.

Roger Federer is on his way to the pantheon of greats. He is scaling heights at a never heard before pace. This Swiss poses the ultimate capacity limits in question. Almost 5 seasons without a loss, which is hitherto unheard of! I am not quite sure, whether the quality of opponents positioned a logarithmic scale negative with respect to him. or just that his game made to belittle others by this maestro’s impeccable tennis?. In any case, he is confident, brilliant and at times genius, all displayed on tennis courts. I have become a huge fan of him. Ever since Sampras retired, he put tennis to an ever green loving game, with champion performances.

“I mean, look, I guess I’m the best tennis player in the world. You can call me a genius because I’m outplaying many of my opponents, kind of maybe playing a bit different, you know, winning when I’m not playing my best. All of that maybe means a little bit of that. So it’s nice,” This is what stated by a ‘humble’ Roger Federer after winning his third Australian Open title, couple of days ago in Melbourne.

…and this is what Sampras has to say about his chances against Federer.

“I think our games are pretty similar. It would have been a great clash to see us in our prime. Roger is doing what I never did; dominate the way he is. He’s lost five matches in two years, that’s unheard of. But I feel like my game is too big to be dominated by someone. When my game was on, my serve was on, I felt I was tough to beat. I felt unbeatable.”

Thought this is quite interesting! And intuitive:-) (This nice cartoon is found in the old book by Lathi, Signal processing and linear systems, Berkeley Oxford publishers)

Much to my surprise, a newspaper regular puzzle has caught avid interest among people of all age. While crosswords remained a riddle for the selected few, that is not quite the story of sudoku. Even grandmothers and children of young age find this simple looking (but not that easy compared to word jumble riddles) puzzle fascinating. It is not that, old people never dared to solve puzzles, but the percentage is what is stunning. Well, the completed sudoku grid will form what Euler (Leonardo Euler) called the Latin square. He wouldn’t have ever imagined that, three hundred years later ordinary people (not just mathematicians) would play with it so often! More often that not, you may find kids with little sudoku books, trying to put numbers in the 9×9 grid, while on trains and buses and parks. I for one, was of the early opinion that, it is kids game. But once you get a kick of it, then it is very intimidating and often addictive. Much like crosswords (and another craze in the school and college days was carom, even though that didn’t call for anything intellectually stimulating as a word or number puzzle game). Some are very easy (you can fill it in a brisk), some medium level and some hard, when it comes to easiness of solving. There are also ‘very hard’ category, which takes some serious search and scan to get through.

Well, the popular sudoku is a 9×9 grid. It is fanciful to think of an arbitrary numbered square grid. Interestingly, I found a paper which proves that this is an NP complete problem [1]. Well, of course a 9×9 program can be easily programmed and solved by a computer. Fun of course is solving manually. The beauty of this little puzzle is that, this doesn’t require any further background. For the same reason this attract interest from all ages. I heard that there are people buy multiple newspapers just to get that extra sudoku game. Not a bad market idea for newspapers yeah?

Even though Euler did discuss about Latin squares, this puzzle in the current form has a somewhat recent origin. According to Wikipedia, this game in its modern version was invented by Howard Garns, in 1979 and published by Dell Magazines under the name “Number Place“. Having said that, the craze spread all over very recently, perhaps one or two years old craze! Once thing for sure. This small riddle is definitely going to simulate some minds locked far from any puzzles for long. For them this is just an appetite to stimulate some portion of their brain, left idle for long!

Well, for details, there is always Wikipedia. The name itself stands for “the digits must occur only once”, when translated to English (from Japanese. It is Sujiwa Dokushin ni Kogiru)


Looks like (after the London meeting) the 802.11n proposal is moving towards Draft2.0! The draft proposal 1.10 now has got the voting approval by 100-0 (5 absentees as well). I guess this is a good sign after all those funny and at times enthralling debates and fights to get a standard up. Now that this is getting standardized, we could all wait to see the 600Mbps maximum reach (in ideal case, which is not practical anyway) wireless lan soon. It say be very soon, because the solution is almost ready to get into market. I guess you could guess who all have this draft 1.10 solution all ready and raring to the dollar stage!

Today morning I get to hear that apple is ready to give a firmware upgrade to enable 802.11n draft support. They don’t give this free however. You got to pay about 2 USD to get this upgrade. Not bad yeah! Do you want to make a guess on whose 11n solution was it? Well you got it right!

A very simple illustration of adhoc network (Found it from Prof Andrea Goldsmith’s presentation slides). As they say, a picture is worthier than thousand lines:-).

Adhoc networks

Felt a little sorry to hear that Art Buchwald passed away. The first memoirs of his humour columns which used to appear in the last page of “The Hindu” Sunday (and later on Mondays) newspaper, came calling once again. These days, those columns are hardly seen in Indian newspapers, but thanks to Internet, I still get to read some of his, very occasionally though. One of the recent one, I found very interesting was in the “The Washington Post” column [1] of his, titled “When the going gets tough, the war gets going”. In his own style he could sent the right message to the folks responsible. I thought that was very apt and brief to send a clear message to those proponents of war. Well, fact can be harsh and unpleasant, but the truth is that millions of innocent people pay the price for fault not of theirs. To be courages to tell the truth is wisdom in itself.

Interested by his writing, I was once curious to know his background. My intention was to find out, how and why he turned into writing humorous articles. Often, I hear that comedians and humourists and writers who write such articles have a very difficult life story to tell. In a way Buchwald too had his difficult childhood. His mother was in a mental hospital/asylum for a good part of his childhood. It is heard that he couldn’t see his mother for about 30 years or so. My heart goes to a child with such a terrible childhood. Perhaps, his intense sorrows made him to cover up all those and present a brighter spot to millions of readers all over the world, through his columns.

This morning, I came across with the news [2] of his demise. His unique styled articles will be a big miss from now on. But he has made a mark through his brilliant short columns. His death wasn’t entirely unexpected (I guess he was critically ill in early 2000), but the news of his sad demise had created an irreplaceable void in the literary circles.


In Gentoo Gnome (not sure whether this is a common problem for Gnome) a user can do su (to login as root from a command line) only if they (user) are included to the wheel profile. This can be resolved (by the root) as follows (login the system as root first)

>> gpasswd -a ratna wheel

Here ratna is the user
I ahve doen the following optional profile add as well.
>>gpasswd -a ratna audio
>>gpasswd -a users

The architecture of this duo core processor is [1]

Correct (the one which seems to work) cflags should be
In the make.conf set the following

CFLAGS="-march=prescott -O2 -pipe -fomit-frame-pointer"


Processor Brand: Intel
Processor Class: Core Duo Processor
Processor Number: T2400
Processor Speed: 1.83 GHz
Bus Speed: 667 MHz
Mobile Technology: Centrino
L2 Cache Size: 2 MB
System Chipset: Intel 945GM Express
Memory Speed: PC2-4200 (533MHz)
Memory Technology: DDR2-SDRAM
Installed Memory: 1 GB
Maximum Memory: 2 GB
Hard Drive Capacity: 100 GB
Drive Controllers: SATA-150
Rotational Speed: 5400 RPM
Additional Drives: DL DVD+/-RW
Sound Support: Digital Audio (16-bit)
Video Chipset Brand: NVIDIA
Video Chipset: GeForce Go 7400
Installed Video Memory: 128 MB
Resolution: 1280 x 800
Display Size: 13.3 in
Display Type: Active Matrix LCD (TFT)
Port Connectors: Audio Interface: Microphone jack, Headphone jack
Graphics Interface: VGA out with Smart Display Sensor
1 VGA output
1 i.LINK connector (IEEE 1394) (4 pin)
2 USB 2.0 ports
Port replicator connector

Card Slots: Memory Stick Duo
(1) Type II / Type I CardBus
Network Support: Ethernet (10/100 Mbps)
Wireless Protocol: 802.11a
Modem Speed: 56 Kbps
Input Devices: Keyboard
Battery Life (average): up to 6.0 Hours
Number of Batteries: 1
Installed Operating System: Windows XP Professional
Included Software: Anti-Virus and Recovery Software:
Norton Internet Security 60-Day Subscription – Norton AntiVirus, Norton Personal Firewall, Norton Privacy Control, Norton AntiSpam, Norton Parental Control
TrendMicro Anti-Spyware 30-Day Trial
Sony VAIO Security Center
Sony VAIO Update software
Sony VAIO Recovery Wizard software
Sony VAIO Support Central
Supplied Applications:
Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition
Intuit Quicken 2005 New User Edition (previous Quicken users may require additional upgrade)
InterVideo WinDVD
Microsoft Works 8.5 – Word Processing, Spreadsheet, Calendar, Scheduling, Contact Management, and Database
Roxio DigitalMedia SE
Sony Original Software:
Click to DVD – DVD Creation
DVGate Plus – Digital Video
SonicStage Mastering Studio – Audio Mastering and Remastering
SonicStage – Digital Music
VAIO Media – Network File Sharing
Image Converter – PSP Transfer
In the Box: Sony VAIO SZ120P/B Notebook
Standard Lithium-ion battery (VGP-BPS2C)
AC adapter (VGP-AC19V10)
Memory Card Adapter (VGP-MCA20)
Power Cord
Height: 1.5 in
Width: 12.5 in
Depth: 9.3 in
Weight: 4.1 lbs

Well, the power consumption comparisons of intel core Duo processors are as follows (grabbed from intel website)

Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology Featuring
Intel® Core™ Duo processor



Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition
Architecture Cache Clock
Power Dual-core Intel®
Disable Bit°
T2700 65 nm 2 MB L2 2.33 GHz 667 MHz 31W
T2600 65 nm 2 MB L2 2.16 GHz 667 MHz 31W
T2500 65 nm 2 MB L2 2 GHz 667 MHz 31W
T2400 65 nm 2 MB L2 1.83 GHz 667 MHz 31W
T2300 65 nm 2 MB L2 1.66 GHz 667 MHz 31W
T2300E 65 nm 2 MB L2 1.66 GHz 667 MHz 31W

Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology Featuring
Intel® Core™ Duo processor Low Voltage



Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition
Architecture Cache Clock
Power Dual-core Intel®
Disable Bit°
L2500 65 nm 2MB L2 1.83 GHz 667 MHz 15W
L2400 65 nm 2MB L2 1.66 GHz 667 MHz 15W
L2300 65 nm 2MB L2 1.50 GHz 667 MHz 15W

Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology Featuring
Intel® Core™ Duo processor Ultra Low Voltage


Intel® Pentium® Processor Extreme Edition

You press the button. We do the rest.

Remember this famous Kodak slogan? Are we in line to hear a similar mantra for converting matlab to something close to implementation? Perhaps yes. As a first step, here is one such method, which help to convert a matlab implementation to equivalent C.

Catalytic Inc seem to have a solution to that “algorithm to product implementation dilemma”. They have come out with a tool which convert matlab to equivalent C models. Well, some sort of this conversion did exist in various forms, but this one, appears to be more genuine and targeted for real world product design.


Here is the Xorg.0.log. The solution follow…

X Window System Version 7.1.1
Release Date: 12 May 2006
X Protocol Version 11, Revision 0, Release 7.1.1
Build Operating System: Linux 2.6.11-gentoo-r11 i686
Current Operating System: Linux shannon 2.6.11-gentoo-r11 #6 Mon Jul 11 20:03:31 UTC 2005 i686
Build Date: 09 January 2007
Before reporting problems, check
to make sure that you have the latest version.
Module Loader present
Markers: (–) probed, (**) from config file, (==) default setting,
(++) from command line, (!!) notice, (II) informational,
(WW) warning, (EE) error, (NI) not implemented, (??) unknown.
(==) Log file: “/var/log/Xorg.0.log”, Time: Mon Jan 15 11:10:40 2007
(==) Using config file: “/etc/X11/xorg.conf”
(==) ServerLayout “Simple Layout”
(**) |–>Screen “Screen 1” (0)
(**) | |–>Monitor “sony vaio wxga xbrite”
(**) | |–>Device “ATI Radeon IGP 345M”
(**) |–>Input Device “Mouse1”
(**) |–>Input Device “Keyboard1”
(**) FontPath set to:
(**) RgbPath set to “/usr/lib/X11/rgb”
(**) ModulePath set to “/usr/X11R6/lib/modules”
(II) Open ACPI successful (/var/run/acpid.socket)
(II) Module ABI versions:
X.Org ANSI C Emulation: 0.3
X.Org Video Driver: 1.0
X.Org XInput driver : 0.6
X.Org Server Extension : 0.3
X.Org Font Renderer : 0.5
(II) Loader running on linux
(II) LoadModule: “bitmap”
(WW) Warning, couldn’t open module bitmap
(II) UnloadModule: “bitmap”
(EE) Failed to load module “bitmap” (module does not exist, 0)
(II) LoadModule: “pcidata”
(WW) Warning, couldn’t open module pcidata
(II) UnloadModule: “pcidata”
(EE) Failed to load module “pcidata” (module does not exist, 0)

Fatal server error:
Unable to load required base modules, Exiting…

(WW) xf86CloseConsole: KDSETMODE failed: Bad file descriptor
(WW) xf86CloseConsole: VT_GETMODE failed: Bad file descriptor

Now the solution is:


For a long time, xFig [1] remained (still is…) my best figure creation utility. There is hardly anything that work as well as this, when it comes to suitability with LaTex. It has its limitations, but it work beautifully (even though slow at times). There is hardly any other software, which take care of the LaTex (Math symbols). Tfig, which is more or less same as xFig (tfig has the back end using xFig, but re-written in Java). In the recent times, I am looking forward to Inkscape [4]. I am yet to explore this good looking software.

Interestingly, I found some softwares, which are very easy and convenient for graphs. They are uDraw [2] (earlier Davinci, developed and maintained by some German University folks) and Graphviz [3] (the grand old AT&T child).

[1] Xfig 3.2.4 user guide
[2] uDraw
[3] GraphViz
[4] Inkscape web page

After much speculation, the cat is finally out. Apple formally announced that the rumour indeed had substance. Like its landmark product launches in the past, they unveiled the apple version of mobile phone in grand style. What do they call? No point in guessing it. It has to be an ‘iphone’ (Wait a minute though! Cisco has already come out in public to state that the name “iPhone” is something, that they have copyrighted. Now, will Apple change this name altogether? Well, we have to wait and see)

The rumour that Apple is targeting the mobile phone world was in the air for sometime. Their 200 odd patents filed/granted, all related to mobile phone development (mainly operating system and application side of it) perhaps substantiated the much talked about rumours. Whatever it may be , I just liked the look of it. Myself haven’t seen a model in reality, but the picture looks awesome. Quite stunning to the eyes! It is priced a little high, but then with apple, you may say that it is worth its price. Myself, being a mobile phone system designer, I am keen to know the performance of these phones…and a little bit more about their design. Am I too greedy here? It is very unlikely that apple developed all by itself. Surely, the design must have come from various design houses and semiconductor companies. Who may have provided the baseband solution/design? We will get to know it soon. If my guess is any good (I am pretty bad at it anyway!) the bluetooth must have come from CSR (Well, this is no insider information!). Perhaps, the big names in the semiconductor industry soon turn up with credits! Surely, they must be proud. As a gadget, the appearance and style are very unlikely to be questioned, but let us see how good a mobile phone it is.

After ipod, is this the break Apple looking for? I see a huge opportunity unexplored (yet!, yes, but true and I strongly believe it) on the mobile market. Putting all these bits and pieces, I see apple rocking in the coming days. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an amazing electronic design company shaping up from here. Now, after mobile phones, they must be surely looking into other consumer electronics products as well. Perhaps, this was the right door to step in, for Steve Jobs’s now champion company. Are we all set to see another Sony in the making, after all?


A very interesting pictorial method to perform multiplication of two numbers has instantly caught my attention. Any two numbers (arbitrary number of digits in each) in decimal form (well, you can extend this to any finite field as well) numbers could be multiplied. Well, this is not my invention. It came as an Email forward (a video showing the method. Unfortunately, I cant upload the video onto this blog). I have prepared some examples, I myself worked out using this method.

Example: Multiply 21 x 35
1.Draw two lines corresponding (two lines for digit2. For 7 draw 7 lines) line for the first digit of 21
2.Draw a line parallel (at a distance) corresponding to the second digit (here 1, in the example 21. Hence draw a single line)

3.Draw the next line at a perpendicular position (only for clarity; The angle doesn’t really matter). Draw 3 lines for the first digit (3) and 5 lines (at a distance) for the second digit (here 5 as in 35).
4. Partition the regions based on the interconnect. Count the number of joints and write down the number of joints from top left to bottom right. If the number of joints are more than single digit, carry forward the left most digit to the previous number. See the figure for illustration

While this method appears to be a lot simpler, I don’t think this is computationally more efficient. The counting complexity need to be considered while you implement this in logic. However, this is quite a nice method to perform multiplication pictorially. The theory is not that complicated. Essentially the normal multiplication steps are represented in a more pleasing structure (matrix like).

Bangalore has changed a lot. I spotted this car in Indiranagar, Bangalore, a couple of weeks back. Was just pondering, how much the scene has changed. Now, you have all in one training schools. In the last decade or so, you would find notices and advertisements for coaching classes for IIT JEE. Now, with outsourcing very hot, no wonder that has caught in the line. These days the youth is busy making some quick money from the good outsourcing and BPO opportunities. With the current trend, things must go mobile. Why not training/coaching schools?

Once again India’s celebrated cricketers messed up a game (and the series in the process) which they should have won comfortably. It was a pathetic performance by the Indian team in the second innings. The Indian cricket fans must be sorely disappointed by this team with celebrated names like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Lakshman. It was a spineless show by the batsmen in the second innings. The way, Tendulkar, who was supposed to be a champion batsman and Dravid crawled against a south African left arm spinner (Mind you Indians are known to play the best against spinners). Tendulkar had a bad back, but then this was one of the best opportunity for him to show his dominant skills. Not often you see an Indian team on the verge of winning a test series abroad. They had their nose in front for a series win, but made a colossal mess out of it. What a shame. Time and again our celebrity rated cricketers let the multi billion fan followers in India, by the hapless approach to the game. Tendulkar who was immune to criticism, must surely be getting some share for this performance.

This same week, the English cricketing team got perfect rubbing from Australians with a 5-0 white wash in Ashes test series. I was reading angry remarks and criticisms by former English cricketers and fans for the way England team performed during this Australian summer. I am sure, Indian cricketing fans, former players and journalists must be feeling very similar against this Indian team. Not that, the team of the past were any better, but this is a classic example, where a match and series thrown out, from a clear winning position. The cricketers, especially the senior batsmen (including Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and Lakshman) must feel shame for themselves. They are elevated to stardom by this poor cricket fans, but when the opportunity arrived, they forgot all about cricket. What a shame to this multi billion dollar sports business run with money predominantly from this poor, poverty stricken “developing” country!

This picture is taken on 2004, May 03. The day has no big significance, but for the first time, I was there watching an English premier league soccer game live. Thanks to Jeff Torrance who managed to get an extra executive ticket, I could avail a feel of this fabulous experience of live soccer game in Europe and that too in England. Jeff, a huge Chelsea fan was so thrilled to get into the Chelsea gate, through the team restaurant. The entry to the stadium gave me an experience, that I never had before. Throughout the journey from Cambridge to London and then to Sanford bridge we had quite a lot of laugh pulling Cyrian for his Irish jokes and what not!

“Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.”

Gabriel Marquez mention this in the epigraph of his autobiographical sketch Living to tell the tale. He is one of my all time favourite writers. This is an incredible book from an incredible writer. Even though I was having this copy for a while, I couldn’t complete reading this book, until the year end holidays. Thanks to the time spared while traveling, I managed to read the book in whole. I truly enjoyed this fascinating journey into a somewhat mixed style personal story with truthful memoirs, myths and smell of south America.

The book was set with a perfect start, with a birth. Well, not quite the biological birth, but what the author call as the “birth as a writer”. The author was 22 years old. He and his mother then set of for a journey to Baranquilla, with a plan to sell their ancestor house. A touch of nostalgia ignites there in his mind and a whole lot of imagination started build around to give a fantastic setup. A setup, where his imagination overtakes history.

I believe that, these South/Latin American countries often brought powerful stories, perhaps because of the difficult situations the authors go though in their childhood. Pablo Neruda, my favourite poet, had sketched it beautifully in many of his works. Like Neruda, Gabriel Marquez as well could portray a vivid sketch of the social situation in Columbia. Even in this book, it is touching when he says that he had joyful memories of his childhood, in spite of the turmoil in Columbia during his early life. Poverty and social agonies can be painful, but then a childhood has its beautiful moments, for any child.

In all, a very very satisfying book. The book, even though autobiographical, is not quite written in chronologically. It contains truth, sincerity to life, myths, imagination and also some humour. The translator Edit Grossman should get the credit for bringing this outstanding work to English readers. I don’t know much about the original work in Spanish, but you could hardly make out that this is translated.

Both Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath have just played their last test match. The fifth and final test in this Ashes series, which have had whitewash written all over, ever since Steve Harmison bowled that terrible first ball (to the slip!). The Ashes series is won by Australia 5-0. In a way, Aussies hit the final nail on the coffin by hitting a six to a 5-0 whitewash (In fact, a six from Mathew Hayden leveled the score, which was followed by a single to win). I never believed that England was in any sort of vicinity to win Ashes, even though the hardcore English fans may disagree.

More than the commanding Aussie win, what make this day so important is the news that two of crickets all time bowlers, one a champion spinner and the other a supreme fast bowler, are no longer in line to play a cricket test match from now on. That is sad; very very sad indeed. Cricketing world will miss them sorely. I don’t think too many people would disagree with me, if I dare to say that without Mcgrath and Warne, Australia wouldn’t have been a champion team of this class. This statement should not be taken to diminish the importance of many of their other class players (including Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting).
It has been a pleasure watching Shane Warne at the bowling crease. He had brought a charm of his own, when it comes to whatever he does on the cricketing field, whether it is art of spinning round the legs or the constant ‘talking’ from the second slip, or the appealing for leg before. While average batsmen of this era looked quite clueless against his bowling, it was hard work for champion batsmen when he was there in opposition. Tendulkar and Laras had their stamp of authority at times (Tendulkar perhaps was more solid…only perhaps!), but you could never say that Shane was easy picking. It is only fair to say that it was near even contest between Shane Warne and the batting mast roes.

Glenn McGrath, arguably the best accurate bowler of this generation is irreplaceable. Time and again, batsmen around the world were made to struggle against his off stump precision bowling.

Both Warne and McGrath leave behind a legacy, which cannot be replaced in the near history. They have their blocks firmly booked in the annals of cricketing history. Cricket fans are going to miss their presence in the field.

Another brilliant test cricketer have also joined the duo on retirement. Justing Langer, a fantastic opening batsman for Australia decided to call it quits. Perhaps, the two bowlers celebrated retirement dropped the shadow on Langer’s retirement, but that is no indication of the value addition this player brought to test cricket.

I was a little surprised to learn that Sanskrit fits the bill to become a computer language. Apparently, Forbes in 1987 claimed to have reported (or may have researched and produced a report) that Sanskrit is very suitable to use in computer (as a programming language?) because of its perfect syntax. Interestingly, Sanskrit has very little room for error as well. Well, I am not a linguistics or syntax expert, but this amazes me. How could a language so very perfect in grammatical sense become so obsolete? That too, a language originated and well used in a huge country (with huge population) went on to become obsolete! Well, the more quoted reasoning is that, the language and learning itself was restricted to the elite class in the earlier Indian society. Whatever be the past, there is scope for redemption now, then!

Now, I chanced upon to see another piece of report on Sanskrit and its usability on computer. This time, it is from none other than NASA. This report seconds, Forbes claim. Nasa’s study was mainly from the feasibility of using Sanskrit in artificial intelligence (AI). According to a Nasa researcher [1,2],

“In ancient India the intention to discover truth was so consuming, that in the process, they discovered perhaps the most perfect tool for fulfilling such a search that the world has ever known — the Sanskrit language. There is at least one language, Sanskrit, which for the duration of almost 1000 years was a living spoken language with a considerable literature of its own. Besides works of literary value, there was a long philosophical and grammatical tradition that has continued to exist with undiminished vigor until the present century. Among the accomplishments of the grammarians can be reckoned a method for paraphrasing Sanskrit in a manner that is identical not only in essence but in form with current work in Artificial Intelligence. This article demonstrates that a natural language can serve as an artificial language also, and that much work in AI has been reinventing a wheel millennia old.

The discovery is of monumental significance. It is mind-boggling to consider that we have available to us a language which has been spoken for 4-7000 years that appears to be in every respect a perfect language designed for enlightened communication. But the most stunning aspect of the discovery is this: NASA the most advanced research center in the world for cutting edge technology has discovered that Sanskrit, the world’s oldest spiritual language is the only unambiguous spoken language on the planet. Considering Sanskrit’s status as a spiritual language, a further implication of this discovery is that the age old dichotomy between religion and science is an entirely unjustified one. It is also relevant to note that in the last decade physicists have begun to comment on the striking similarities between their own discoveries and the discoveries made thousands of years ago in India which went on to form the basis of most Eastern religions.


OK, then, what makes a spoken language suitable as a programming language. Does it mean that a language so perfect in grammar make it as a perfect candidate in computer parlance. In loose term, this make sense, since the syntax and semantic description can be defined a priori. After all, computer is a dummy box! But the truth could be a little deeper. Anyway, I cant wait to understand a little bit of those rationale behind the suitability of a good computer language.

I steadfastly believed that Rajan would come back. I always asked my wife to keep apart a bowl of rice and a plantain leaf for him. He may step in any time. He may be hungry. There should be rice ready at home for him. Yes, he will come back. Sure he will…

The above lines are from Professor Eachara Varrier’s autobiographical sketch. This is the story of a father who spent almost all his life in search of his son, who was killed in some unusual circumstances (largely political, partly inhuman). This book pops up to me again and again! Every time, I am tempted to read the lines again and again, with tears. While doing a Gmail search, in an attempt to trace an old email, I get this again! Oh! dear, this is a touching story of a father. Incidentally, I happened to study undergraduate BTech program in the same college (Regional Engineering college, Calicut, 1997). The incident (in the book) itself happened even before I was born, but we used to hear one or two stories about the horror days of the incidents during 1975 Indian emergency period.

I guess I had forwarded this to some of you. Just happened to bump across this once again. Couldn’t stop reading! Pained and saddened of course:-(This is like living to tell the tale, in a very simple way, yet…. How unfortunate a life can be?
There is a place in the book where I was completely taken to stillness! Here is that excerpt from the book (Book is freely down loadable from [1])

….He comes into my memory as shadows, moonlight and rain. One friend asked me, which is denser—the pain of the father at the death of his son or the pain of the son at the death of his father? I have no answer. My world has become empty. My sun has set. My stars have gone. Any father can cry out for his son, getting wet in radiant memories.…[1]

Another one, when the mother (victims mother and authors wife) conversing with her husband:

“Please give this to our son Rajan. I trust only you.” She didn’t utter a word after that. Cold death had already touched her. The next day after her death, I had a nap on the couch. The weight of that packet of coins, which she entrusted to me, was still in my hands.

There are many such heart stopping lines in the book. They will make you straight to ground. Here is one more example. Here (In the book excerpt, subtitled The burden that the mother entrusted) the author illustrate the difficult time to console his wife.

People used to ask me whether my wife became mentally ill after Rajan’s tragedy. Actually, she had started showing signs of illness fifteen months after the birth of our first daughter. She recovered with a course of electrotherapy. She had to be treated seven times. Later, when she was pregnant for the third time, she again started showing signs of mental ailment, but doctors told us that since she was pregnant she could not be subjected to treatment. So we resorted to Ayurvedic medicine, and she got better. After the delivery we resumed allopathic treatment, but it was useless. “She has become shock proof,” said the doctor. Still we continued the treatment.

She was not aware of Rajan’s tragedy. Whenever I came to Ernakulam from Calicut she used to ask for Rajan. I told her lie after lie. It made her uncomfortable. She started loosing faith in me, and behaving oddly with her loved ones.

Of our three children, she was closest to Rajan. One of the reasons, I thought, was that Rajan could sing well, as could she. Whenever Rajan came back from college, he used to sing for her, and she enjoyed that. He used to sing only when his mother demanded. On holidays they used to have concerts till midnight. She always took care to get ready with new songs for Rajan. That Rajan was our only son was also a reason for her to be more loving to him.

Rajan’s continued absence troubled her, and I had to suffer as a result. She expected Rajan to be with me whenever I came from Calicut, and anxiously awaited him. When she knew that Rajan was not with me a colour of disappointment would spread over her face. The depth and darkness of distress on her face went on increasing. She stopped talking to others, and went into a world of silence. Sometimes she accused me of not loving Rajan. She confided to relatives and friends that this was the reason I was not bringing Rajan along when I came. She murmured in secret that I never loved her or Rajan.

Meanwhile, many of Rajan’s friends got married. One day when I reached Ernakulam she asked me, “All of Rajan’s friends have got married. Are you not a father too? Are you not worried that he is yet to get married?” “Oh, our son is dead,” I felt like telling her then. The sentence got choked in my throat. At that moment I felt vengeance against her and the world. Regaining the balance of my thoughts, I would say, “I am trying to find a suitable girl for Rajan. But it’s not that easy, you know?” Her response used to be a lone empty stare of disbelief.

Whenever Rajan’s friends came, she used to ask for Rajan. Unable to face her, they stopped coming to see her. Whenever I came to Ernakulam, she used to ask for money, but just ten rupees. Then she bought biscuits for Rajan, and kept them safe. Only when the biscuits got rotten did she give them to other children, who used to throw them away without her seeing.

She also kept small coins safe in a box, which she hated others opening. She had no more faith in anyone.

I kept Rajan’s disappearance a secret from my family for forty days. Whenever I went to meet Mr. Karunakaran I avoided them on my return.

On March 3, 2000, Rajan’s mother left me forever. A week earlier I had been to see her. As I bid farewell, she held my hands, still lying on the bed. There was a painful request in her eyes, “Will you bring Rajan along when you come next time?” I couldn’t look at her face. The guilt of telling her lie after lie had haunted me for years. Five days later I went to her again. Death was playing hide and seek somewhere near her, but she remembered everything.

She called me, “Will you do one thing for me?”

“Sure,” I answered.

She gave a small packet of coins to me. Those were the coins she saved in that box


Time magazine [1] has come out with a good list of heroes from Asia. Some of the iconic figures from different walk of life could be seen here. The list spans across various categories from national leaders through sport stars to spiritual leaders. Only Asian heroes who lived in the last 60 years considered. The title, Time Magazine quoted states ” 60 years of Asian Heroes” is pretty apt. Why 60 years? I guess, Mohandas Gandhi is a must in the list and it is only logical to stretch back the time window to accomodate him. If not for him, Time would have content with 50 years! Anyway, how could we talk about Asian heroes without Gandhi. He is a hero for the world for all time. Asia is quite incomplete without a mention about Gandhi, just like as would Africa without Mandela! Gandhi was a remarkable personality and a true leader in every sense.

The list for sure include some of the guys I would want to be in; My heroes, which included Gandhi, Nehru, Sachin Tendulkar and Salman Rushdie, Mother Theresa, Kurosawa and Aung Saan Suu kyi. Many of the names in the list are known to me, by name, but I am in no position to judge their contributions (due to the limited know hows and largely ignorance, for which I feel ashamed of:), but certainly the neat and quite well written short description suggests that, they all truly deserve a place among the pantheons of greats.

However, one item, I have found missing is science and mathematics. Perhaps, not many acclaimed world champions there, but for sure, it wouldn’t be an empty bottle, if we were to seriously find! I would have liked to see Professor Madhu Sudan (MIT LCS), who received the coveted Nevanlinna prize in 2001. The Pakistani Physicist Abdus Salam (1979 Nobel Laureate) perhaps would make the cut against the science entry.


Aart De Geus talks about EDA (Electronic Design Automation)! Will you find a better person to talk on this subject anyway? (There is a saying often said in the lighter vein among my friends on Aart and synthesis. “Are you trying to tell Aart De Geus to write a (chip) Synthesis script?“. Obviously that reference is used to refer something very easy a task. Art is a pioneer in Synthesis! He is arguably very good at it anyway!).
Excellent interview and a must watch for anyone with an interest in technology of electronic chips. Aart is a commendable suit for any interview or discussion. He can simplify a billion gate complex topic to a layman. I remember one of his presentation, where he started with a blank slide(transparency) and then talked for an hour about the evolution of electronic design automation. (He would start writing cartoon strips on the transparency). Man, he is an awesome presenter. The full video is available for viewing (streaming video) at [1]

By the way, I found [2] very interesting. Some remarkable (literally so) interviews lined up there. I just loved it. Didnt have the time to view all of them. Managed to view a couple (One ofcourse from Aart on EDA and the other, a rather brief chat with Craig Barret who talks about the fundamental importance of Math and science in technology)


Sadly, Richard Newton left us a bit too early. The news of his death came as a shock to me. He passed away today, at a rather young age of 56 due to illness related to pancreatic cancer. So much more wisdom was due from him to the engineering community. He has already grown to become an icon in the Electronic design world. Not many people in the world can claim to have started two very successful yet competing engineering technology companies (Dr Newton was instrumental in starting both Synopsys and Cadence). He reminds very much of the famous communication duo namely, Dr. Andrew Viterbi and Dr. Irwin Jacobs, who have successfully built systems from concept (theory) to practice (chips) with good business acumen. The list for sure does not end here with these three, but they are pioneers in covering all aspect of technology. That is, Theory, implementation and business.

The first time, I ever heard his name was in 1998. I just had started working with Synopsys, my first industry experience outside academics. Even though I was more into communication system and algorithm design, his name would pop up in many of the EDA design discussions and talks. Besides, there used to be huge repository of documents available in Synopsys, prepared by mainly Berkeley professors including Dr. Richard Newton. As a young 21 year old, interested in the engineering realization of algorithms, it was treasure for me. I was very impressed by some of the lecture notes by him on the system on chip implementation of communication modems. As someone very fond of theory, I gradually developed a curiosity to see how these sojourn mathematical algorithms put into real world silicon. One of the lecture note (which was prepared by Dr. Heinrich Meyr and Dr. Herbert Dawid, who was my colleague in Synopsys, Aachen Germany) on the implementation of Viterbi algorithm was special. It instantly clarified (cleared) a lot of myths I used to have, about realizability of complex algorithms into piece of gates and eventually to working chips.

I have always been a great admirer of my Ex CEO Aart De Geus. It is told that, Dr Newton was instrumental in realizing Aart’s dream of starting, rather building a synthesis company from the synthesis program he developed (named Socrates) while, working at General Electric in North Carolina (or may be when he was doing PhD at Texas. I am not quite sure of the exact fact). It was Dr. Newton who helped Aart to find the funding sources for Synopsys (Optimal solutions as it was called in the initial days) to start.

Even after leaving Synopsys, I used to browse through his website, once in a while to see what he is up to these days. EDA is an amazing field. Small, but very niche and interesting. It is not a field where you can claim to be an expert so soon. In that sense, Newton an authority both technically and business wise, whose premature demise is indeed an irreparable loss. In this era when the trend in is to put more computing stuffs into software as against hardware (Silicon), I was curiously looking forward to his views on the new direction EDA would shape to! Besides, he is said to be (I never had an opportunity to meet him, listen to or attend his classes) an excellent teacher who could bridge the gap between theory to engineering solutions. Some of his students at Berkeley (PhD students and students of his colleagues who happened to know him closer), who later became my colleagues in Synopsys used to describe the gory details of the way the EDA engineering issues taught by Dr Newton. The void created by his loss will not be replaced so soon.


Last week, on Christmas day to be precise, I happen to browse through a piece of article on the arithmetic progression of prime numbers. The full article [1] is interlaced below for reference. It is indeed a very interesting one concerning prime numbers. Loosely speaking, this brings out some curious structure (perhaps I cant quite strictly say so because the word structure means much more than that), in the form of the a natural progression among prime numbers.

Let us get ourselves convinced by looking into an example,

what is so noteworthy among these weird looking numbers? They are all prime numbers alright. What is more graceful is that they form an arithmetic progression with a difference of 210! We could call this set of prime numbers as a a 10-term arithmetic progression of primes with difference 210. Now this rather surprising example is not an isolated one in the realm of prime numbers. It has been long conjuncture’d that arbitrarily long sequence of prime numbers do exist among arithmetic progressions (of natural numbers). A proof eluded us for a long time.
Thankfully, in 2004, a formal claim came out to prove that, the prime numbers do contain arithmetic progressions of any arbitrary length (In the above example 10 was the length) ! This proof was proposed by mathematicians Ben Green and Terence Tao. They used an important result known as Szemeredis theorem in combination with work by Goldston and Yildirim, a clever “transference principle,” to successfully establish the fundamental theorem that the prime numbers do contain arithmetic progressions of arbitrary length.

This amazing fact about prime numbers, now with a formal proof to its credit itself can be considered as a special case of another conjuncture known as Erdos-Turan conjuncture. Paul Erdos is someone you would instantly associate things in number theory to. So, this name probably doesn’t surprise us. Anyway,

The Erdős-Turán conjecture is an unproven proposition in additive number theory. The conjecture states that if the sum of the reciprocals of the members of a set A of positive integers diverges, then A contains arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions.

Mathematically speaking it states that, if

\sum_{n\in\mathbb{A}} \frac{1}{n} =\infty

then A contains arithmetic progressions of any given length. If true, the theorem would generalize Szemerdis theorem. See [4] for a quick statement of Szemerdis theorem itself.

The article published in the newspaper The Hindu [1] is attached (inline) below:

Major progress in prime number theory

Krishnaswami Alladi

The Green-Tao theorem resolves an important special case of the Erdös-Turan conjecture

Kumbakonam: Professor Terence Tao of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), was awarded the 2006 SASTRA’s Ramanujan Prize at the International Conference on Number Theory and Combinatorics at the Srinivasa Ramanujan Centre, SASTRA University, Kumbakonam.

This $10,000 prize comes on the heels of the Fields Medal that was awarded to Professor Tao in August for revolutionary contributions to several areas of mathematics.

Following the award ceremony on Ramanujan’s birthday at Kumbakonam, Professor Tao delivered the Ramanujan Commemoration Lecture entitled “Long arithmetic progressions of primes,” in which he reported major progress in prime number theory based on his recent work with Professor Ben Green of Cambridge University.

One of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics is the Prime Twins Conjecture, which asserts that there are infinitely many prime pairs that differ by 2. More generally, the prime k-tuples conjecture states that if a k-tuple is admissible, then there are infinitely many such k-tuples of primes. Here by admissible one means that the k-tuple must satisfy certain non-divisibility conditions.

If the prime k-tuples conjecture is true, then it follows that there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes. For example, 7, 37, 67, 97, 127, 157, is an arithmetic progression of 6 primes with common difference 30.

Sieve theory was developed in the 20th century to attack problems such as the k-tuples conjecture. Although this conjecture is still unsolved, sieve methods have succeeded in establishing similar results for almost primes, namely, those integers with very few prime factors, but not for the primes themselves.

Thus, the world was astonished when Professor Tao and Professor Green proved in 2003 that there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes. The road to the Green-Tao theorem has been long, and in his lecture, Professor Tao surveyed the history of the problem and described the techniques that led to the recent breakthrough.

The first major advance was made in 1939 by van der Corput, who showed that there are infinitely many triples of primes in arithmetic progression. He used the circle method, originally invented by Hardy and Ramanujan to estimate the number of partitions of an integer and subsequently improved by Hardy and Littlewood to apply to a wide class of problems in additive number theory.

van der Corput’s result was improved in 1981 by the British mathematician Heath Brown, who showed that there are infinitely many quadruples in arithmetic progression of which three are primes, and the fourth an almost prime with at most two prime factors. That such an improvement came after more than 40 years indicates the difficulty of the problem.

Another problem was the study of finite arithmetic progressions within sets of positive density. This was pioneered by the 1958 Fields medallist K.F. Roth, who in 1956 showed that any set of integers with positive density contains infinitely many triples in arithmetic progression. This study culminated in 1975 with the grand result of the Hungarian mathematician Szemeredi, who proved that any set of integers with positive density contains arithmetic progressions of arbitrary length. Professor Tim Gowers of Cambridge University, who won the Fields Medal in 1994, has recently given a simpler proof of Szemeredi’s theorem. It is to be noted that since the primes have zero density, Szemeredi’s theorem does not imply that there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes.

Professor Green was a Ph.D student of Professor Gowers, who introduced him to Szemeredi’s theorem. One of Professor Green’s first major accomplishments was the result that any subset of the primes, which has relative positive density, contains infinitely many triples on arithmetic progressions. Professor Tao and Professor Green then corresponded due to their common interest on such problems. They studied the general problem of arithmetic progressions in sparse sets of integers. By combining ideas from ergodic theory, the techniques of Professor Gowers, and repeated use of Szemeredi’s theorem, they were able to prove the astonishing result that there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions of primes. The ingredients of the proof were put together when Professor Green visited Professor Tao at UCLA in 2003.

The great Hungarian mathematicians Paul Erdös and Paul Turan conjectured that if A is an infinite set of integers the sum of whose reciprocals is divergent, then there are arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions in A. Since the sum of the reciprocals of the primes is a divergent series, the Green-Tao theorem is a special case of the Erdös-Turan conjecture, which remains unsolved in full generality. Erdös has offered $10,000 for a resolution of this conjecture. The Green-Tao theorem resolves an important special case of the Erdös-Turan conjecture and is a phenomenal achievement by two brilliant young mathematicians. Thus, it was a fitting tribute to Ramanujan that this great work was presented in his hometown on his birthday.

[2]Ben Green and Terence Tao, The primes contain arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions,8 Apr 2004.
[3] Terence Tao, Tamar Ziegler, The primes contain arbitrarily long polynomial progressions


January 2007
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