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When, on song, nothing looked more pleasing to the eye than Martin Crowe‘s batting. The news of his final battle with cancer and the eventual farewell  felt like a beam of sadness flown through my mind. A champion in many ways. RIP, Martin Crowe. Thanks for the memories.

I am eagerly looking forward to tomorrow. Can’t wait to see the president Obama, interviewing the great David Attenborough. Two icons! Very few people captured the imagination of our wonderful world, the way David had done. His work over the years, filled with amazing visuals, stories and truly remarkable insights about our planet and its species has influenced my perception about life in general. He is a global treasure. His contribution to science and education surely complimented the works of Darwin and others. Thank you sir for showing the many beautiful things around us and our planet.

Without guessing, you can imagine, why I keep every one of his available blue ray as such valuable possessions!

The BBC interview is expected to get telecasted tomorrow (28th June 2015) 2.30 PST time. How I wish tomorrow came sooner.

As he moves to the 90s, couldn’t stop sharing the old video tribute from BBC. Let him live for many more years and open our eyes more.

Saw this first up on my Facebook feed. Initially, I’d gushed away, but later decided to take a look at the details. Glad that, I did. This is a mini documentary on the life of a man named Paul Smith. The amazing thing is that, he has made some marvelous art work, out of a few keys from a type writer, yes, the grand old type writer. Born with a severe cerebral palsy, he finds a new way to take creativity to super human level. Some of his works are simply stunning. Oh man, do we crib for simple thing in life? As they say, when there is a will, there is a way! All I can say is that, this man can easily be its guard honor. A special man, a special artist. Take a bow, Paul. Life is Beautiful!

Slowly getting back to blog once again. Let me start with a few updated photos, all selfies with my new iMac! Blogging will be back shortly…


Dr. Appanu Nambiar is someone I know personally. Being the father of a close friend of mine has surely helped me to know him from close quarters. He was a teacher and principal at various government institutions in Kerala. Upon retirement from professional life, he decided to contribute to the society by serving one of the most backward and ignored community in Waynad, Kerala, India. In 1997, he thus started a school named Pazhassiraja school, with the primary intention to provide education and skill development for the Adivasi children. Adivasi is a collective term referring to a tribal community which form a significant portion of the aboriginal population of India. We all at some stage have had the intention and good will to contribute to the society. Having a thought is one thing, but to commit yourself into realizing by working through all the nuances;that is an entirely different thing. Inspirational, but now we should  read on and act.

The history of his noble commitment goes like this. During the service as a principal at a neighboring college at Waynad, he happened to get a first hand glimpse of the plight the Adivasi community in Waynad  go through. Without much financial or social support , he ventured his time and effort to help educating the children from the remote and an otherwise largely neglected section of society.

The school follows a system more like the Gurukula tradition, where in the teachers (guru) and supporting staffs  live along with children in the same premise.  To really understand the level of commitment he was getting into, we must first know some background on the tribal community, their social setup and the geographical position of the school itself. Waynad is a beautiful place located at the southern tip of the Western ghatt  mountain terrain in south India. Waynad belong to the state of Kerala in India. While Kerala is considered socially way forward compared to many other states in India, Waynad is unfortunately one of the more ignored ones among the province of  Kerala, in terms of outreach of several reforms including education and health. The lack of social development reach to the tribal areas also meant that basic education options went missing for the children. As a consequence, generation after generation they are deprived of a good standard of living and livelihood.

The hierarchy of this community is a bit more complicated than what we know from the outset. The adivasi tribes itself is classified into several sub-tribes or castes. The main ones are Adiyas, Kattunayakans, Kurichiyans,Kurumas,Ooralis, Paniyas and Uraali Kurumas. Some of them have slightly different physical characteristics (such as skin texture), but they are historically sectioned into different groups based on the profile of jobs they carried out.  Each of these tribes follow social tradition and rituals of its own, while at the same time they collectively follow a generic form of social life including religious practice, marriage, art etc.,. Deforestation and  general urbanization over the years meant that the traditional resources for these indigenous community is taken away. Instead of providing a needy hand, the society often found ways to exploit this tribe. For whatever reason, the tribal community has not yet been part of the mainstream society and that unfortunately spell disaster for their future.

As always, the biggest casualty in any crisis are the children. For them as well as the generations there on to survive, first thing to do is to make them capable of making a decent livelihood. Nambiar’s initiative is also with that modest goal; to empower some of them to deal with the realities of world around them as they grow up to youth and beyond. When a stream of youth can stand to survive and deal with a decent social life, the next thing will be to pave the way for better education and living opportunities for their children and so on. In a streamlined system, a wagon can roll.  But the first step is to survive this great initiative and that needs a lot of support from well wishers like us. Remember, the grand from government is extremely limited and the untimely arrival makes compound the agony. Relentless effort from the great man along with support from many kind hearted people and organizations have helped the cause reaching this far. Now it has come to a point where surviving itself hinges on generous support. The time is now. A failure here, not only will stop the good work done.  There is also an increased danger looming where some of these youths may break into verge of alcoholism and anti social activities, once they lose the confidence of a viable future ahead. Remember, these are extremely vulnerable section of a population and they can be easily trapped, once let go.

So, dear readers, if you plan to contribute to charity, please help this great cause. You can find the details on how to donate etc here. Any amount, however small it may be, will help its share.

It is that time of the year and we have to be at Hawaii! This week being the IEEE 802 interim, I am hanging out at the Hilton Waikoloa resort in Big Island. Today morning, myself and my colleague Nihar went for a little swim at the clean Kahuna beach. A swim at the ocean after a long long time! The water here is not that cold like San Diego and that makes it pretty easy to swim. And the crystal clean water and soft sand beach makes the already good beach experience better. My family is joining this weekend and looking forward to more swim!

I leave you with some phone camera shots  from Hilton and the Hakuna beach.

IMAG0278 IMAG0273

In the end, a fiercely fought battle, but I must say, the right choice is made in the end. To me, there is a sense of honesty when Obama speaks, if not anything else. As he admits not every of his opinion is agreeable to all (including me), but given the circumstances we are in, he did a good job as a president. He surely deserved a second term.

Over the weekend, I watched the new animation movie from Walt Disney. It is the fairy tale story of Stuepnsil. A really nice movie. Quite different from many of the animation movies of the past.

What an epic clash this at the first round of Australian open, between the local boy Hewitt and Argentine Nalbandian. Who can forget the 2005 epic clash between Nalbandian and Hewitt? That day, Hewitt just had the luck to edge out Nalbandian. Come 2010, the excitement and clash was as good as 2005, just that the winning number changed sides. And this time, first round itself. What a great start for this Australian open!

A Nalbandian Nadal clash somewhere down the lane is likely. How will the two best friends in circuit clash there. I cant wait.

Via Lance’s blog, I came across this hilarious prize known as Ig Nobel prize. The term “Ig” stands for “Ignoble”! The prize is apparently given to something which may appear to be funny, but has some serious reasoning behind. In other words, these are peculiar awards given to something  which”‘first make people laugh, and then make them think”. Quite amazing huh?

I am yet to explore a lot on this. Lance listed one very interesting one. I find it extremely noteworthy! Robert Faid of Greenville, South Carolina, farsighted and faithful seer of statistics, got the Ig Nobel prize for calculating the exact odds (710,609,175,188,282,000 to 1) that Mikhail Gorbachev is the Antichrist.I wonder how he arrived at this magical number! Didn’t Faid know how to play a game in the stock market then?

Wikipedia has an interesting entry on this topic. Would you believe, the young Russian physicist Andre Konstantinovich Geim who just won this years Physics Nobel for his work on graphene had also won the Ig Nobel in 2000! Quite amazing.

This came up again for the nth time, as I hear at various discussions and debates at various places including the internet. But as always there is learning (at least for me) for the taking. Here is a nice and cute summary on the Bayesian philosophy, drafted Radford Neal . Ah, the latest revisit to this Bayesian versus Non Bayesian came up when I was chatting with a Finance friend. I cannot divulge the details of the conversation here, but I thought of writing a bit about the Bayesian inference, which to me is always the formal and correct statistical method (I must admit that, I am somewhat novice to have a strong counter argument, which is tame, but frankly I need to learn more!)

It is pity that, I didn’t bother to learn or understand this topic from EPFL. Many a times I had casually walked across and through the rooms where a good flair of this work got done, but never made it to the details. Now, on a completely different context, I came across the paper by Ozger, Leveque and Tse on the capacity scaling. It is fascinating indeed. A gist of this was there for me to grab during one of the IPG seminars, but then it was all misty and cloudy. Over this weekend, I am going to read the paper in a little more detail.

I am very thrilled to learn that Ruediger Urbanke has won the 2011 (Koji) Kobayashi award. He and Tom Richardson are named the 2010 receipients of the famous Kobayashi award. Rudi and Tom are awarded Kobayashi prize “for developing the theory and practice of transmitting data reliably at rates approaching channel capacity.” They truly deserve this. Looking at the list of earlier Kobayashi award winners, it really is a place of pantheon of greats. Gottfried Ungerboeck, Don Coppersmith, Rivest, Shamir, Addleman, Jack Wolf, Berlekamp and so on are among the famous awardees of the past.

When pointed this to Rudi, he  was as usual every modest about these. I am sure I will get to have a coffee treat from him, in Lausanne! Place Palud or Ouchy?

Whee! The highest number of runs scored in an over is not 36. Not even double that figure. It is only a mere 77 runs. Wow! How silly a bowler that could have been? It is all true apparently. One over in the history of first class cricket has recorded a whopping 77 runs. Check this out for a detailed run through story.

This is the scoring pattern (Much like a UK telephone number including the ISD code!): 0444664614106666600401. Even more striking thing is that, some dot balls figured out in between. Those were the times when batsmen got bored by hitting anything not too cosy for them!

Here is an interesting riddle on random matrices.  

(Rank of Random Binary Matrix). Let R(l,m,k) denote the number of binary matrices of dimension l \times m and rank k, so that by symmetry R(l,m,k)=R(m,l,k).  This is a repost of the solution that I have arrived at (certainly not the first!) and submitted as part of a homework (9) problem from the doctoral course  Modern coding theory (by Rudiger Urbanke) at  EPFL.  The sumbitted solution in PDF is available here.

Rank of a matrix G is essentially the number of nonzero rows when the matrix G is expressed in echelon form. So, we just need to compute the ways these matrices can be created with k non zero rows. Since the elements of the matrix are binary (from \mathbb{F}_{q=2}), we can simply do a counting.

It is trivial to compute R(l,m,k) for k=0 and k>l. For  k=0, only all zero matrix possible, and only one such matrix exist. Hence R(l,m,0)=1. For  l>k>0, since  k>\min(l,m), no matrix exist, which means R(l,m,k)=0 . 

Now we consider l=k>0.  How many ways? We have l=k  non zero rows of the l\times m  matrix, which means all rows must be nonzero. Without loss of generality, for counting, we could assume that, the rows are ordered. The last row (l^{th} row can be be done in 2^{m}-1,  since there anything other than all 0 vector (of size m) is allowed. On (l-1)-th row, anything other than that of row l is allowed. There are 2^{m}-2 ways here. l-2-th row can have anything except any linear combination of the rows l and l-1. This is nothing but 2^m-\left({\binom{2}{0}+\binom{2}{1}+\binom{2}{2}}\right)=2^m-2^2. Row l-3 then have 2^m-\left(\binom{3}{0}+\binom{3}{1}+\binom{3}{2}\right)=2^m-2^3 and so on. In all, Following the same procedure, we can have a total of  

= \left(2^m-1\right) \left(2^m-2^1\right)\left(2^m-2^2\right)\ldots \left(2^m-2^{l-1}\right)

=\left(2^m-1\right) 2^{1} \left(2^{m-1}-1\right) 2^{2} \left(2^{m-2}-1\right) \ldots 2^{l-1}\left(2^{m-l+1}-1\right)

=2^{0} 2^{1} 2^{2} \ldots 2^{l-1}\left(2^m-1\right)\left(2^{m-1}-1\right)\left(2^{m-2}-1\right)\ldots\left(2^{m-l+1}-1\right)



=\prod_{i=0}^{l-1}{2^m \left(1-2^{i-m}\right)}

=2^{ml} \prod_{i=0}^{l-1}{ \left(1-2^{i-m}\right)}

 ways.  For l>k>0, we can construct a rank k matrix of size l \times m in any of the following ways:

  1.  Take a rank k-1 matrix of size (l-1) \times m and add an independent row.
  2.  Take a rank k matrix of size (l-1) \times m and add a dependent row.

For every (l-1) \times m matrix, 

2^{m}-1+\binom{k-1}{1}+\binom{k-1}{2}+\ldots +\binom{k-1}{k-1}=\left(2^m-2^{k-1}\right)

and hence,

R(l-1,m,k-1) \left(2^m-2^{k-1}\right)= R_{1}(l,m,k)

ways. (Essentially avoid all possible linear combinations of existing k-1 rows).  Using the second (item 2 above) method, we can have 1+\binom{k}{1}+\binom{k}{2}+\ldots +\binom{k}{k} = 2^k and 

R_{2}(l,m,k)= 2^k R(l-1,m,k) 

different ways a rank k matrix can be formed. Where,the first term (=1) is when the all zero row is picked as the new row. In\binom{k}{1} ways we can pick any one of the exisiting row as a dependent (new row). In general for 0\le j\le k we can have combination of j existing rows  out of k in \binom{k}{j} different ways to make a dependent (new) row.

So using (1) and (2) we get,

R(l,m,k)=2^k R(l-1,m,k)+\left(2^m-2^{k-1}\right)R(l-1,m,k-1)

Putting everything together,

R(l,m,k) = \begin{cases} 1, & k=0, \\2^{ml} \displaystyle \prod_{i=0}^{l-1}{ \left(1-2^{i-m}\right)} , & l=k>0 \\ 2^k R(l-1,m,k) + \left(2^m-2^{k-1}\right) R(l-1,m,k-1) &l>k>0 \\ 0 & k>l>0 \end{cases}

Firstly, thanks a lot sufiwindsurfing for bringing the story of Ravi, a young boy from the street of Mumbai India. This boy, without any formal education, all by himself learned some very commendable language tricks.  Now he speaks over thirteen languages (albeit few sentences only, but still an incredible achievement) including English, french, Italian, German, Persian, Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic.  Amazing! It is quite sad to realize that, the society we live in is so much unaware about the plight of millions of kids like him who are forced to suppress their talents in pursuit of making their ends meet.  In the many streets of India, we may be able to find so many such Ravi’s who are unfortunately pushed to the dark side of the fortune wheel.  I really wish and dream of an era, all the children of this world have equal access to love and education.  It is cruel to leave them alone into the  world of difficulties this early. Forget all religion and fanaticism. Who needs that, when a vast ocean of basic social problems still loom large across the world? It is a known story that, many of the kids begging in the streets of India are abducted and forced into the urban chaos. My heart goes to those parents whose beloved ones are oppressed forever. Every time I see these kids,  my mind goes into that wild scary thought of that beautiful would have been childhood, denied for the millions of underprivileged. Who knows, we may have lost millions of future hopes into the drains of mass urban disaster.  As Betrand Russell said in his beautiful autobiography prologue, “I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot and hence I too suffer“.  As he said, this indeed make a mockery of what human life should be!  We are simply not doing enough! 

and here is Ravi, when he was younger (may be 5 years then?) in 2005 

I am quite saddened to hear about the demise of Professor Randy Pausch. The 47 year old CMU professor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer finally succumbed to death. It is unbelievable that, he showed courage to confront life when you know that there is nothing positive to look forward to. I have gone through his famous last lecture over and over and many a time wondered how can someone be so positive when the odds are so much against you to lean forward. Simply heroic. He showed us the value of life and the way to look forward to. I couldn’t agree more when he coined what “experience” mean,

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted

Randy, may you rest in peace. Your life has changed many lives for good. You must be proud. You have truly left and enduring legacy. Our thoughts are with your family.

Randy Pausch giving the last lecture at CMU

Randy Pausch giving the last lecture at CMU

His last lecture video is a must watch, if you have not done yet. Here is the video link:

Growing up in Kerala is an experience one cannot describe in few words. One must live through it to really feel it. It is different! This video

brings back a whole lot of those memories of childhood. I may be heavily biased here to say so much uniqueness about the social life in Kerala, but to me they simply remain so. The greeneries and the beautiful countryside, the many little ponds, rivers, streams, lakes, paddy fields, the list goes on. The days of Onam and Vishu are more than festivals for the people of Kerala. The expectations and excitement build around these festivals on children’s mind and the fun of playing so many little games: playing in rain, then invariably fall sick, all that in spite of being truly aware of the consequences. August-September time frame also had the monsoon settles when all the ponds and lakes are filled with water. As kids, those were special days to spend near full days swimming and play the various games by staying in water. Beautiful! Now, all those little games like Kuttikol, Pulikkali, lathi and the countless many games all must have disappeared and perhaps paved the ways for cricket or computer. I wish to believe that it is not!

Looking back, it is amazing that people of Kerala unanimously enjoyed the festivals like Onam, Vishu and Christmas irrespective of religious beliefs. The excitement of a festival was much more than religion, even though there is mythological trace to each of them.

Coming back to this video, it instantly took me to the days of Onam when we all kids (my siblings, cousins and neighbourhood friends) took pride in displaying new dresses, (more traditional it used to be) and group ourselves to play the whole day, with intermittent breaks for lunch feast etc and the pleasure of eating a sweet or two from the neighborhood house and to feel it tastier than the one at home.

And how can I have enough of those Kani konna pookkal (Cassia fistula), a seasonal flower seen all around during vishu summer days! (Courtesy, this beautiful image of kani konna is taken from

kanikonna poothappol

kanikonna poothappol

I have been posting my random thoughts, somewhat on irregular terms at Ratna’s ergodic view. The way I was led to this new blogging door is motivated by Compressed sensing. Well, I must not mislead anyone. I have heard about compressed sensing as an active research area, but today’s talk by Martin Wainwright on Statistical estimation in high-dimensional settings: Practical and information-theoretic limits in a way did more help than expected. It was indeed a very very motivating talk. My professor Rudiger Urbanke had earlier suggested to attend this talk and had promised it to be a remarkable one. Martin proved him dead right. Well, that is not the point. During the talk Martin touched upon examples and possible applications of estimations in high dimensional settings in compressed sensing. He described the compressed sensing problem in a simple setting. In all, the talk triggered me to study what is this subject of research namely, compressed sensing. First thing we must do is google for compressed sensing. It leads to the obvious pages. The IEEE signal processing magazine had a small tutorial paper published in 2007 July edition. It was quite an easy read which gave me a good idea on this topic. Then I chanced upon seeing the blog of Professor Terence Tao. Incredible timing and I am so glad that this visit had two immediate effects. First I am heaven pleased with his humbleness to share his thoughts to the world, in spite of being busy with his work and research. In this blog entry I came across, he describe the problem of compressed sensing with a very very simple example. He has not only presented it well for the target audience, but also gave it in a very very motivating manner to aid the interested audience to explore further. To be very honest, I did not expect a Fields medalist to spare his valuable time to help a larger audience by writing about a subject which is not easy to understand. His lucid presentation style is indeed a lesson I like to take as valuable note when writing articles.

In his blog Terence talks about a whole lot of things and I would very very highly recommend anyone, especially students and folks who are eager to learn just about anything. In one blog, he writes about the importance of writing down just about anything we learn, doest matter whether it is a simple thing you understood or a part of proof gathered. I have been following this method for a while and I found it amazingly useful as well. Well, I have decided to strictly enforce this on a more regular term.

Just aside, the beautiful thing about blogging in wordpress is its simplicity to incorporate mathematical expressions (Latex style editing is simple awesome). I have been searching for a simple way and here is the way. I am glad. Say for example this is \int_{0}^{\infty} \frac{1}{\alpha+x} dx pretty. I am going to enjoy this:-)

I promise to write more about compressed sensing (and about several other things as I always) in future blogs. For now, this much is good enough for a first blog!

iFixit [1] did a rather fast job with providing an inside view [2] of the latest sensation iPhone-3G. They have done a superb job indeed. I was expecting Infineon to have a major presence in the 3G phone and to some extend Samsung as well, but this time it was the latter’s SDRAM. You can read the details from [1]. I would rather strongly recommend you to! Here is the summary of the winners (number of chips listed after the maker):
Broadcom 1,Infineon 4,Intel 1,Linear Technology 1,Marvell 1,National Semiconductor 1,NXP 1,Samsung 1,Skyworks 1 (Man I wish this resurrect them),SST 1,ST Microelectronics1,Toshiba 1,Triquint 3 (Wow!),Wolfson 1.

Broadcom, Samsung and Infineon were expected. The surprise winners to me are Triquint and Skyworks. I wish this came earlier for Skyworks! If you look at Conexant at the moment (Skyworks spun off from Conexant earlier) it is pretty mazing how some leads turned up for them. Well, the market is quite demanding anyway. Ah, the surprise emission to me is CSR. I expected atleast for bluetooth they would have a winner there, but Marvell outwitted them with Bluetooth and WLAN!
Apparently, the pricing of this phone is pretty well done by Apple! Interestingly, there was huge rush even in Lausanne (Switzerland) where Swisscom had some offering day before yesterday.

To me there was never a slim doubt on who this should go to. The one and only Salman Rushdie deservingly got this. Well, I am referring to the best of Booker award set up on the 40th anniversary of the Man booker prize. Hearing the announcement, this is what he said (in reply to a question),

“I really have no regrets about any of my work. This is, as I say, an honour not for any specific book but for a very long career in writing and I’m happy to see that recognized”.

Let us also recollect that the same book (Midnight’s Children), besides winning the Booker Prize in 1981 had also won the Booker of Bookers in 1993, which marked to honour the best Booker Prize winner in the first 25 years of the award. Now, this is still the best in 40 years. Pretty cool!

Aside, I am reading an interesting book now. A picked it from a friend’s place last week and I found it a very very interesting read. The Afghan writer Khaled Hosseini, tells an amazing story. I am mid way through the book and I surely am going to write more about this later. As of now, I leave to remark that the book is about a young boy Amir born in an affluent family, who regrets in his later life for all the trouble he made to his trusted poor friend. I am thrilled by the story telling power of the writer. Simply superb (so far atleast). Interestingly, I saw a French translation of this book in one of the student house, a few weeks back. I am glad that, now I happily read the readable version!

I got this as Email forward. Superb creation, whoever conceived this original idea! I am curious to know who created this one:-)

Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

“House” for instance, is feminine: “la casa.”
“Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, “What gender is ‘computer’?”
Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether “computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that “computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (“la computadora”) because:
1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic.
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else.
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.


The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (“el computador”) because:
1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on.
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves.
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time, the ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

I have never thought I could meet an evangelist, let alone the one for internet. It so happened that, day before was such a day to the contrary. On Friday I had one of those rare opportunities to meet one of the founding fathers of the internet, Vint Cerf, who has this bizarre title ‘Google’s internet evangelist’. He told the story behind the title as well. When Google asked him to join the company, he was given the option to chose the title. He had the name duke of internet in mind, but then someone warned that a similar name triggered world war1. Then came this name. Well, there was also a bizarre (well, I seems to have got this bug of using this word too often, after listening to Emre Telarar) photograph of his first day in Google office. It was funny indeed.

Now, he took the EPFL audience to a highly enthralling talk filled with unique humour and history of the internet evolution and packet data transmission, and finally into some extra terrestrial feasibility of spreading the internet. Not surprisingly and octogenarians listener asked him whether we could eventually meet God one day and is that God Google itself?

Some of the interesting things he said, that would be seen in the internet evolution are
1) An Internet refrigerator
2) A space internet

Last friday (5th October) there was this event named Spunik50@EPFL here in EPFL. The idea was largely to celebrate the remarkable scientific glory of the Sputnik launch, 50 years ago, which in many ways influenced scientific research in many fields, including communication and signal processing. But then Why EPFL? Incidentally, the EPFL Professor Martin Vetterli was also born on that Sputnik launch day. His friends and colleagues thus couldn’t have thought of a better place and date to say Happy Bday to him.

Since it was happening right under my noise and being free, it didn’t hurt me to go and attend the series of presentations, by some leading researchers. Most of the topic of discussion happened to be in image processing,but there were few interesting connections to my interest in communication as well, especially the one from Kannan Ramachandran from Berkeley, when he talked about ‘being unorganized” and “gossiping”

The event also presented me a chance to meet Professor Gilbert Strang. His influence on me is more than what I could describe in few lines or pages. I have began to appreciate linear algebra much more than I ever comprehended to be. He was a very nice person as well to talk. He gladly obliged to chat for a few minutes and I felt good to have got that opportunity. The pleasantness in his face reminiscent itself to the way he gets involved while giving the lecture.


Would you imagine a theorem invented as early as 600 BC is still used widely? Jim Massey in his course notes mentions that, this is the single most important theorem in mathematics (applied math as well) which stood against the test of this long a time gap. Frankly, I began to appreciate it more now (with the Abstract algebra course currently going…). Barely ever I had an idea that this is invented in the BC. However, the algorithm was probably not discovered by Euclid and it may have been known up to 200 years earlier. Historians claim that Aristotle was aware of this fact (which is 330 BC or so)

Since we are in the age of programming, let us write the algorithmic steps, rather than the math: The original algorithm of Euclid is,

function gcd(a, b)
while b ≠ 0
if a > b
a := a - b
b := b - a
return a

But we can simply write this in modern algebraic terms as

function gcd(a, b)
if b = 0 return a
else return gcd(b, a mod b)

This morning, finally I managed to reach Lausanne.

Looks like the year 2007 has cleared quite a bit of progress in Wimax chip development and entered the deployment stage. Even though there were hopes and at the same time skepticism about the realization of Wimax, this year has seen progressive signs of the product evolving to get integrated onto the notebooks and PDAs. Initially since the standardization phase, the big leaders emerged included Intel, Fujitsu, Samsung and few others. Thanks the big buy out of Flarion by Qualcomm, the latter must surely be having the cake ready as well. There were also very promising startup ventured to develop the Wimax chipsets for the CPE side. I am not quite sure whether there is any startup working full fledged, all alone to develop the co/network side solution. I have so far heard of Beceem, Altair, GCT and Runcom which are promising focussed startup houses develeoping and deploying the IEEE 802.16e chipsets. Among this Beceem is one company, where some of my former colleagues and friends working.

The simmering legal battle between Broadcom and Qualcomm are not yet over. Rather, it gets hotter day by day. These two fine communication firms have engaged themselves into a fight which was initially perceived as just another patent battle between two rivals, which is somewhat usual in the high tech industry off late. The Synopsys-Magma was one prominent fight which had stung and stuck for sometime, until recently when Magma gave up the suit, realising that, it was a case of ‘giving the stick and getting the whack’.

In the Broadcom-Qualcom case, Broadcom’s concern is the way Qualcomm is monopolizing the CDMA technology leading to 3G cellular phones. According to them [1] the licensing arrangements of Qualcomm failed to provide fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory licensing terms to users of technology incorporated into telecommunications industry standards. Broadcom asserted that Qualcomm’s licensing abuses included charging discriminatory royalties, collecting double royalties and demanding overly broad cross-license rights from its licensees, among other things.


Last week I conducted couple of quizzing events in Bangalore. One at the apartment and the other at office. It is after quite a long gap, I ventured into this nostalgic event. It was fun recollecting some from my old notebooks and some I added with the context in mind. Of course the level of questions were all prepared for not strict quizzers but enthusiastic folks. In the end both the events turned out to be good. In Fairmont, some genuine quizzers were in and that made it more interesting, but overall a satisfying experience. Since the few ones I conducted in Synopsys, it was worth a try. The days of weekly quizzing at REC and inter-college events all came to my mind.
I am not sure, whether my rational to quit quizzing in 2000 for the mere waste of time and insufficient depth in topic were all quite true. If I were to look back, the fun of quizzing created a huge data structure of events and topics where in I began to appreciate depth in few of the subject of my interest. If I were to be back in high school and undergrad, I should still do this. The fun of knowing this world, the people and the trivia are little too much to resist.

I composed the list I prepared for these events. They are uploaded here [1]

Some of the sample questions used are:

  1. Ys was an opulent mythical city. It was believed to be the most wonderful city in the world. When the city collapsed and the Romans decided to build a modern city, they wanted the newer one to be as equal if not more to Ys, in opulence and magnificence. The native ethnic Britons and the Romans thus called the new city by this name, as it is known today. Which city am I talking about?
  2. This company was established in 1865 as a pulp, paper and rubber company on the bank of a river, from which the town and the company name itself derived. The name of the river itself originated from a dark fury animal which was known in the local language as the word, now given to the company. Knut Fredrick Idstam started this company. Later in the 1970s they have decided to venture into Communications and stormed into the world leadership. Which company am I talking about?
  3. Could you please tell me who the person on screen is? What is the significance of this presentation: Double points at stake: The ‘e’ is written little differently!

  1. Who said these words and to whom: I am speaking with you from the Oval Office of the White House and this certainly has to be the most historic telephone call ever made?
  2. This drink was originally named Bib-Label Lemon soda. Its inventor then considered and rejected 6 alternative names before deciding on the final name. Which drink?
  3. Edvige Antonia Albina Maino attended a certificate course in English at The Bell Educational Trust’s language school in the city of Cambridge. There, she met her future husband who was studying at Trinity College, Cambridge. Her marriage to him in 1968 took her life on a course that would later see her being named as the” Third most powerful woman in the world” by the Forbes magazine in 2004. Identify the couple.
  4. These are some of the facts about this company. Dead give away cluesJ
    The capital amount collected – $2718281828 , Natural Logarithm, Napier constant e = 2.718281828
    The total number of shares floated during initial public offer – 14142135 ( Square root of 2 = 1.4142135)
    Total number of shares offered during second round of IPO – 14159265 (Pi = 3.14159265)

Just name this company

  1. In an effort to put together the perfect tennis player, World Tennis magazine once chose the arms of Martina Navratilova, the hands of Stefan Edberg, the shoulders of Gabriela Sabatini, the
    torso of Ivan Lendl the mind of Michael Chang and my legs. Who am I?
  2. Cricket: Listen carefully though! Tell me, who is the only bowler who credit to have dismissed all the opposite side batsmen in a test match (Dismissed all the 11 players in either or both innings).
  3. Identify this city (See the image):
  4. By 1907, the term began to show up in high-profile women’s magazines and eventually, around 1912, it appeared in the Oxford English Dictionary. Which term. The word derives from an Old French word meaning “arm protector” and referring to military uniform. This later became used for a military breast plate, and later for a type of woman’s corset. Which term?
  5. I was born in 1852. My passions were mostly elliptic functions, integral equations, quadratic reciprocity, number theory etc. Unfortunately I was living my life during which there were lots of political struggle in France. I do believe that mathematics and research should not be influenced by Politics. As a result of my refusal to vote for the government’s candidate in 1824 my pension was stopped and I died in poverty.” This is what Abel had to say about me after my death. “He is an extremely amiable man, but unfortunately as old as the stones”. “I believe that I am quite highly respected in the Higher mathematics world these days.”. Who is this prolific mathematician?


It is indeed heartening to hear that Kerala government imposed a ban on plastic. The ban has come to effect from 20th August 2007[1]. In the recent times, the havoc created by plastics on the ecology and environment in many parts of India necessitates this ban. Studies points out that, the flooding in Mumbai itself had its root cause stemmed to the drains locked by plastics bags. These plastic bags are very common all over from vegetable vendors to supermarket shopping, to carry the goods. Kerala has shown out a good example here and every state must follow this suit and impose restriction on usage of plastics. It is not very surprising that Kerala came out first with this new law to protect the environment and to some extend the livelihood of people. In the past, they had came out to ban smoking in public places. This rule is quite strictly implemented in this tiny state. I heard a real life incident when the police caught someone smoking near an (minor) accident spot in a hilly village road and fined him Rs. 500. From what I heard so far, the plastic rule is already enforced not only in towns and municipality areas, but also in remote villages, where village authorities randomly inspect plastic wastes dumped or abandoned in any locality. I hope this gets serious notice and let us hope that the rule stay on.

The plastic is such a messy waste that, most of the places in Bangalore are filled with the polythene covers. Many open garbages in the residential areas have piles of plastics. Interestingly some reports says that, the wandering cows in the city limits (I wonder why they are freely allowed to do so!) have their stomach filled with chunks of plastics. These cows easts the vegetable waste from garbage cylinders with lumps of plastic covers. This startling revelation came out when some of these cows were operated by the veterinary surgeons. A hugely worrying fact is that, their health is taken for a ride merely because of the insane attitude of we humans.


In the coming days, it may be more difficult for me because of the lack of French language skills. Lausanne and Geneva are on the French speaking cantons of Switzerland and that is where most of my day to day life would revolve in the coming months. The little German learned during the Synopsys Aachen days in Germany wouldn’t be of much help, because Zürich is quite far away from Lausanne. I do not see too much of trouble within EPFL, but outside, it is going to be fun game, communicating. I wish, I did learn some French from the Conexant gang in New Jersey. Host of folks were all there to help me out, but I was perhaps ignorant and partly they were trying to improve their English. The urge for me to learn a new language was far too little compared to their keenness to expertise in English. What a wasted opportunity then! There was a formal way to join the Alliance program in Bangalore, but that too was given a cold shoulder. Now, all left to the learn all by practical method there in Lausanne then. For a moment, I had the initial French learning program at EPFL in mind, but the work commitment and other logistics wouldn’t have helped to do that. I shouldnt say that I am worried too much, but the mere fact that, the communication mode would have been set, if only I knew little French before I reached there!

Now, I am relying mainly on Google translate to arrange an accommodation there in Lausanne. Google translate is pretty handy so far, to figure out the difference between studio and apartment. It is a lot fun. I try to derive the meaning of some individual French words, in the process. These are definitely the first few lessons. My friends Vivek and Zarina apparently learned French there in Montpelier, France. They claim to speak decent French. If they could, there is no reason, I cant. May be not all hopes are lost. Let us wait and watch. In few months down the lane, I should be able to blog on in French.

Some sort of history making on yesterday at the Oval cricket ground in London[1]. India, after a gap of 21 long years registered a test series win in England against England of course! The time 21 itself is a far stretched number, by all means because, only 4 times (1990, 1996, 2002 and 2007) these two teams played together in England during this period. On equivalent terms, it is a win after 3 previous attempts went against the wish list.


One of the practical applications of linear algebra is the success of Google. If a math teacher gives out this response to students, that would certainly produce many Ahh Huuu…, but truth indeed is there in the statement. When it comes to Google and its rocketing success story, some may wonder whether mathematics has so much of practical applications in it! Kurt Bryan and Tanya Leise aptly mentioned [1] that this eigenvector is worth more than $5,000,000,000! Aha, isn’t this the richest eigenvector that you ever come across?

One of the core technique behind Google’s multi billion dollar success story is the page rank algorithm, developed by its co founders Larry page and Sergey Brin, while they were in Stanford[3]. Let us put the statement mathematically or rather linear algebraic: It is essentially ranking web pages according to an eigenvector of a weighted link matrix. So, Google search has its thrust based on solving this eigenvector computing! Computing eignevalues and eigenvector, are sole linear algebra problems. The deal is quite big though. Let us talk a little bit deep about this problem.

Google’s website [2] has only modest thing to say about this fantastic algorithm:

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page’s value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at considerably more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; for example, it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other pages “important.” Using these and other factors, Google provides its views on pages’ relative importance.

Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don’t match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines dozens of aspects of the page’s content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it’s a good match for your query.

A basic listing of the pagerank is available here at Here is the summary extracted from there.

  • PageRank assigns a rank or score to every search result. The higher the page’s score, the further up the search results list it will appear.
  • Scores are partially determined by the number of other Web pages that link to the target page. Each link is counted as a vote for the target. The logic behind this is that pages with high quality content will be linked to more often than mediocre pages.
  • Not all votes are equal. Votes from a high-ranking Web page count more than votes from low-ranking sites. You can’t really boost one Web page’s rank by making a bunch of empty Web sites linking back to the target page.
  • The more links a Web page sends out, the more diluted its voting power becomes. In other words, if a high-ranking page links to hundreds of other pages, each individual vote won’t count as much as it would if the page only linked to a few sites.
  • Other factors that might affect scoring include the how long the site has been around, the strength of the domain name, how and where the keywords appear on the site and the age of the links going to and from the site. Google tends to place more value on sites that have been around for a while.
  • Some people claim that Google uses a group of human testers to evaluate search returns, manually sorting through results to hand pick the best links. Google denies this and says that while it does employ a network of people to test updated search formulas, it doesn’t rely on human beings to sort and rank search results.

[1] Kurt Bryan, Tanya Leise, The $25,000,000,000 eigenvector. The linear algebra behind Google. SIAM Review, 48 (3), 569-81. 2006


This is the photo taken in November 2006, when Ajay had come down to Bangalore. We had gone to the food court (Myself, maya, nivedita, ajay, soni and ajay’s mom)

Ajay, Soni and myself facing the camera:-left to right!)

Wow. This mobile phone market is fairy tale market indeed. Who would have imagined, this 20 years ago? Still no India and China, the two most populated countries in the world, coming anywhere in the percentage penetration. I reckon, this is going to be the dollar spot for the wireless world.

The Economist, latest edition [1] brings out this fascinating statistics on the mobile penetration, listed country wise.

Tiny Luxemberg has a whopping 1.6 mobile phones per person on the average (That is 160 mobile phones per 100 people). Most of the mainland European countries are around the century mark when it comes to GSM phones. I was a little surprised to see Japan trailing behind a little bit (only a little from the leaders) on it. When I started working on the 3GPP modem design in 1999, the market trend and demands were heavily pouring from Japan. Looking at the way things moved, the Japaneese were expected to have two 3G phones per person:-) Well, I was kidding. Japan and Korea as well have average of 80 phones per 100 people of the population. This figure is more than stunning.

I have my brains doing busy calculations to stretch this figure for India and China in five years time. Buoy! Isnt there an ocean of market available for grab? You count a pair of billions and assume only 50% penetration. No wonder, the 3G spectrum will sell at a premium much higher than the cricket telecast rights in India.

If you go by a pure urban scan, the mobile phones are almost anybodies right. I reckon more than 80% of the households would have it. This should translate to something like 30-40% per person phone ratio. This is strictly the city statistics alone. The villagers, which accounts more than 75% of India’s population are yet to taste this business flu. In 10 years time, the scene could change in proportion and the scales will stretch few digits in logarithmic units itself.


Every good thing has to come to an end, unfortunately. India’s ever most popular president, at least to ordinary citizens, has left office after serving five strong years. For children he was simply so dear a president to have. He was quite an exemplary president, who changed the perception of a president and rashtrapathi bhavan itself. While it was elusive for ordinary people of this country, until his term, he let it open to the very very base class of this society. School children could take pride in staying in the rashtrapathi bhavan, whereas in the past, it welcomed only the foreign dignitaries and the likes.

Thank you President Kalam. You are simply our pride. You made us proud in many ways, many times.

This weeks Outlook magazine had a special coverage on the southern states of India, on how they fare well in comparison to other states (mainly North Indians states) of India. The results hardly surprise anyone, because the north south differences in terms of human development (not in terms of the urban prosperity and stock market index) is quite wide. But among southern states itself, the little Kerala stands way apart in almost all of the development index. This can be confusing to many, because the perception many have about Kerala is one that of an industry freed and unemployment sprouting region. It is no denying fact that, Kerala’s main problem over the years have been unemployment, mainly because of the lack of private industries. But, I am interested to see how an ordinary human being living in a remote village fares. Is he able to live a decent life, freed of violence and exploitation? Is he in a position to support his/her children’s education? Does he find comfort in himself or herself within the social circle? Can he afford a house? Do they access to other basic needs of life? Is he getting basic medical/health support from Government? As far as I am concerned, these should judge the well being of a state, because that is the best index of its people.

Not surprisingly, Kerala is miles apart from the other states, in all of these. It would not offer any surprise to anyone who lived in Kerala. I must confess that, the left policies over the years helped in drafting a grass root level development program emphasizing on such welfare based indexes. Eduction reforms, health reforms, land reforms and even the literacy drive all are massive programs initiated by the left governments in Kerala.
See the statistics from [1]
Also A Head For Numbers
The South is streets ahead. They earn more, they live well and they feel better too.

conomic Indicators

Karnataka, 7.2%, tops growth A.P T.N Kerala Karnataka INDIA U.P# Gujarat
Per capita net state domestic product (SDP) in Rs (2004-05) 23,153 25,965 27,048 23,945 23,222 11,477 28,355
Percentage share in total FDI approved (1991-03) 4.61 8.53 0.53 8.25 NA 1.69 6.47
Average annual growth of state domestic product in per cent (1993-94 to 2003-04)** 5.5 4.7 5.0 7.2 5.6* 3.2 5.7
Per capita SDP in per cent (1993-94 to 2003-04)** 4.4 3.7 4.1 5.7 3.8* 0.9 3.6
Percentage of population below poverty line (1999-00) 15.77 21.12 12.72 20.04 26.10 31.15 14.07
Range of min wages for unskilled workers in Rs (2005) 45-119 54-150 72-189 63-103 61-115 57-110 50-99
Job-seekers registered with employment exchanges in thousands (2003)


5006.4 3635.1 1784.3 41388.7 1927.8 998.1
Percentage employment share (public/private, 2001-02) 71.3/28.7 64.1/35.9 52.8/47.2 58.7/41.3 69.0/31.0 79/21 53.6/46.4
Percentage of urban population (2001) 27.30 44.04 25.96 33.99 27.81 20.78 37.36
*at constant (1990-00) prices between 1999-00 and 2003-04 **at constant (1993-94) prices #Includes Uttarakhand in data from 2000-01 and earlier

How Women-Friendly?

In TN, 69.2% have a say in family matters A.P T.N Kerala Karnataka INDIA U.P Gujarat
No. of females per 1,000 males (’01 census) 978 987 1058 965 933 898 920
Juvenile (0-6) sex ratio (2001) 964 939 963 949 927 916 878
Mean age for marriage (2004) 19.0 21.5 22.9 20.0 20.4 20.4 20.5
Female literacy rate (2001) 50.4 64.4 87.7 56.9 53.7 42.2 57.8
Currently married women who usually participate in household decisions in per cent 55.7 69.2 62.5 47.4 52.5 48.2 56.7
Women who have experienced spousal violence in per cent 35.2 41.9 16.4 20.0 37.2 42.4 27.6
Percentage of women with more than 10 years of education 22 32 49 28 22 18 24
Percentage of women’s employment to total employment (2003) 20.5 30.2 39.3 31.2 18.1* 9.8 12.7
* 2002


Less than 1% live in slums in Kerala


T.N Kerala Karnataka INDIA U.P Gujarat
Percentage with regular exposure to media (TV, radio, newspaper at least once a week) 87 94 97 90 80 76 84
Percentage of slum population to total urban population (2001) 24.9 10.4 0.8 7.8 15 12.70 9.90
Teledensity per 100 persons (May 2007) 20.7 24.2* 35.1 26.2 19.3 11.38 25.5
Total road length (km) per 100 sq km (2002) 71.3 127.7 386.8 79.5 74.7 103.1 70.2
Voting percentage (2004 elections) 69.95 60.8 71.45 65.1 58.1 48.16 45.2
* excluding Chennai


In TN, 81% get vaccination A.P T.N Kerala Karnataka INDIA U.P Gujarat
Life expectancy at birth (1999-2003, M/F) 62.2/64.8 64.3/66.5 70.9/76 62.9/66.4 61.8/63.5 59.6/58.7 62.5/64.6
Number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births in the last five years 53 31 15 43 57 73 50
Institutional deliveries in the last three years in per cent 69 90 100 67 41 22 55
Mothers who had at least three antenatal care visits for their last birth in per cent 86.0 96.5 93.9 79.3 50.7 26.3 64.9
Vaccination coverage in per cent 46 81 75 55 44 23 45
Children age 6-35 months who are anaemic in per cent 79 72.5 55.7 82.7


85.1 80.1
Population served per government hospital bed 2,351 849 1,172 1,321 2,257 5,646 1,544
Children under 3 who are underweight in per cent 37 33 29 41 46 47 47
Per capita expenditure on health in Rs (2001-02) 1,039 846 1,858 712 997 1,124 816
Unless specified, data in tables are the latest available, for 2005-06


In Kerala, 84.1% live in pucca houses A.P T.N Kerala Karnataka INDIA U.P Gujarat
Percentage of households that:
Have a television 50.3 53.1 67.7 53.6 44.2 34 53.8
Have a motorised vehicle 14.6 22.6 24.7 20.4 18.6 16.6 30.2
Live in a pucca house 40.4 69.6 84.1 49.8 41.4 27.3 56.4
Have access to a toilet facility 42.4 42.9 96 46.5 44.5 33.1 54.6
Use piped drinking water 67.8 84.2 24.6 57.4 42.0 10.3 72.7
Have electricity 88.4 88.6 91 89.3 67.9 42.8 89.3


100% transition to upper primary in TN A.P T.N Kerala Karnataka U.P Gujarat
Literacy rate (2001 census) 60.5 73.5 90.9 66.6 56.3 69.1
Percentage of schools with one teacher 05.7 7.8 0.1 8.8 16.3 5.7
No. of students for each teacher 24.0 39 26 32 66 36
Transition rate from primary to upper primary in per cent 89.6 100.7* 86.6 89.7 57.62 82.7
Average classrooms in each school 03.9 5.6 10.5 4.5 3.4 4.8
Average number of instructional days 212 217 181 225 194 210
Percentage who go on to Grade V 99.2 104.2* 108.5* 98.2 56.6 78.9
Net primary enrolment ratio 75.6 94.1 64.1 95.6 90 75.9
Dropouts (Grade I-V) in per cent 00.4 -6.8* 5.8 2.2 11.9 2.2
* Indicates higher intake of students than dropouts

Sources: Various central and state govt publications, including National Health Profile 2006, National Family Health Survey 2005-06 and State Report Cards 2005 of National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration


After a really long time, I could see an epic Wimbledon final. Federer won 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 2-6, 6-2 against Nadal in a super clash, yesterday at Wimbledon. I couldn’t say with certainty that Nadal was a loser here. He definitely elevated himself to a high level to give a genuine fight against the master of grass court tennis, arguably since Sampras. I always tend to believe that Sampras’s era had some of the great opponents to have ever played tennis, let alone the 7 time Wimbledon champion himself. Andre Agassi, Patrick Rafter both would have scaled few more grandslam titles, if only not there was a certain Sampras. This is in stark contrast to the kind of opponents Federer has to play these days. This by no means should take away the champion in Federer. I have no doubt in my mind about the genius of Federer. In fact, I am a huge Federer fan, as much as I was a Sampras fan. These men often produced something amazing when you thought it was impossible.

Now, yesterdays final brought in a very different event in this Roger Federer dominated tennis era. Now here is someone, who can challenge Federer in his backyard. We all know that, Nadal is the undisputed champion on clay, but on grass, the weights are heavily in favour of Federer until yesterday. This year Wimbledon final was not anywhere close to a walkover for Fedex. There was very little of tennis which separated between these two fine tennis champions. As a tennis follower, what else could you have wished for? A thrilling five setter, almost symmetrical and the tie breaker decides 3 out of the 5 sets!

Recently, Nirmal shekar in his ‘The Hindu’ column had compared the two grass court champions, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. He opined that, if both of these were playing at their respective peaks, Sampras would have won seven out of ten on grasss and six out of ten on hard courts. On clay Federer could outclass Sampras eighty percent of time, says Nirmal Shekhar. I kind of had a similar feeling, when Nirmal Shekhar compared the list of opponents these two fine players faced/face in their respective playing days. As always, there are ifs and buts with these hypothetical analysis, when you compare two time lines.

But, with the emergence of Nadal as a strong allround player, not only on his favourite clay, but also on speedy grass courts, we are hopefully for better and competing days of tennis. This is what tennis lovers want. Stronger challenges to scale the level of even champions like Federer. For sure, this will take Federer to the next level and Nadal to the next stage of his exponential master curve.

And, what a way Federer taking seats at the pantheon of greats? Now, he has equaled Bjorn Borg’s record of five consecutive Wimbledon titles. Borg was there watching the game. He must have been surely proud of this Swiss. Can he equal Sampras’s seven Wimbledon titles? Time can only tell it. Considering the form he is in, we cant be wrong to predict it on the positive. For that to happen, he must be injury free and fit for the coming days. These are among the least things to reach that higher levels. The other hindrance may perhaps is the Nadal factor itself. The twenty year old Nadal could perhaps write few epics in the history, if he gets improving. I am certainly looking forward to more such clashes.

I am not a very religious person, but I love visiting religious places. Isn’t this quite contrary? Perhaps yes, but I cant explain the rational, psychological or emotional theory behind this. I don’t necessarily like to go to crowded temples. I am of the quite kind, who cherish visiting a quite temples, in serene settings. Of course a quite chant or classical or vocal music played in the background is highly welcome. Is it very difficult to find such temples around? Fortunately not so hard to find in Kerala. There are aplenty all across the region. There are many around my home in Nileshwar, Kasargod and its neighborhood as well.

But among all the many temples, I have visited there is a special charm to the Vadakkunathan temple in Trichur. All the criteria of a good temple suggested above are met without doubt, by this temple. Besides, it is so clean and maintained well. The architecture of this temple is reminiscent of the old Kerala style. It is believed that this temple is more than 1000 years. The temple is spread across a considerable amount area, almost at the heart of the Trichur town, but once you are inside, you are far from all the hues and cries of a busy town. It is so quite (unless there is a major festival) and calming. Kerala is blessed with a good share of monsoon rain, which makes the ground (everywhere in Kerala) scenic with lush natural green. The presence of a large number of big trees (Banyan trees and mango trees) adds some extra colour to this temples.

The temple has many deities inside. Well, I am not quite particular about any. But there are many small temples inside the premise, each worshiping a different god or goddess. You would find a continuous stream of god fearing people flowing inside out, from one to another of these temples, whenever the temple is open to puja offerings.

I felt really good being inside (Not spiritual of any kind). A sort of melancholic perhaps. My wife is a bit god fearing and pious and she felt much more satisfying than me. In a way, we both had a very gratifying outing in the form of visiting a temple. This is not the first time, we visited this temple. I had come here many times, thanks to the many friends I have in Trichur. But every time, I come here I find it extra special. Something more beautiful than the previous one.

Some of the scenes from the inside area of the temple are seen here on this page

Last weekend failed bomb scare at Glasgow and UK [1] has brought in more cowardliness about the so called religious terrorism. I am at complete aghast to understand the motive behind killing innocent people. What kind of ideology and religious uprightness is displayed out of such heinous and uncivilized acts? Time and again, we hear about bomb blasts here and there and in the aftermath, claim from some one saying that this is done to protest on so and so for supporting so an so. To me, if this is what religion brings into the society (whichever it is), then it is doing more harm than the little goods. I cannot understand the idea of pleasing ones’ god by killing people who out of their innocence have to face the act of stupidity of some senseless individuals or groups.

What shocked me more, in this last week incident is the involvement of some Indian doctors and engineers. It is shameful indeed. I can understand if this is done by someone who is desperate in life, for not been able to lead a normal life, out of unemployment or poverty. Here the characters involved, rather suspected are middle class individuals, who went to a foreign country to lead a better education and life. Instead of bringing fame, they chose to make stupid of themselves by involving in such rubbish acts. What are they trying to prove? Who are they going to please? By doing such senseless acts, they brought disgrace to the entire nation. I cant talk about any religion, because I don’t know what is taught and practiced by many religions. At least, the radical religious views are something new to me. Never in my childhood or schools or collages, I have come across people talking religion fanatically (I am lucky in a way that my friends were more social than overly mad about religion). We all lived and studied together, without really arguing about the rights or wrongs about any bodies religious rights.

Because, these acts are often linked to religious sentiments, they become over sensitive and people tend to take it either personal or critical. I am sure, these are done with a cover of religion, but the real motives of this is inhumane. It is high time, the Governments and intelligence wings do a thorough background checks on the irresponsible networking of youths. The youths must be taught the values of respecting lives of other human beings if not more. It has to be a huge social initiative. We all have to forget about being overly religious and reserved about a particular religion or religious values alone. What is good for others only can be good for ourselves. If there is god, then he cant be so stupid to see innocent people being killed by such irresponsible acts of few ill behaved individuals or groups.


Prof Thomas Kailath has been my hero for a long time. I never worked directly with him, rather not fortunate enough to be his first degree pupil yet, but his life and work influenced me in more than ‘many’ ways. It was during the 2002 Information theory workshop, I got an opportunity to see him in person and establish a minuscule level of interaction.

This year IEEE medal of honour to Kailath didnt surprise me a bit, for that matter anyone in the field. Perhaps it came a bit late. Anyway, that is not the point of contention. Undoubtedly, he deserve this honour one hundred percent.

[1]IEEE Spectrum

Good to hear about 2007 (the second) Abel prize award being given to the NYU professor Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan. The award is given to him for the stellar contribution to the field of probability theory.



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

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!

“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 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

This morning (2006 December 30) 6PM local time in Iraq (8.30 IST or 11PM EST, 2006 December 29) the imminent execution of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was carried out. It is reported (all the news channels were busy covering this news) that, a few Iraqis witnessed the execution inside a building at an Iraqi compound known by the Americans as Camp Justice, a secure facility in the northern Baghdad suburb of Khadimiya. Perhaps for the first time in the history, this celebrated execution went deferred live on air, which is baffling. Some would say that, this video taping and subsequent release of the footage to the world over is necessitated by “seeing is believing” policy promulgated by some. It is ironic that this execution was chosen, perhaps deliberately on the first date of Muslim festival. Footage of him being led to the gallows was later shown on Iraqi state TV and subsequently by the likes of CNN, BBC etc.

I strongly believe that, Death penalty is no solution and certainly no choice as justice, under any circumstances. It becomes doubly brutal, when it comes to well advertised executions in public. It is an open murder in some way. Killing a human being is the greatest crime so does to seek revenge on another heinous crimes by taking their life, and that too in celebrated manner. This is as much a crime against humanity as the unquestionable crimes of a murderer. No one in the world disputes for the fact that Saddam Hussein is directly or indirectly responsible for many atrocities in Iraq and Iran. But we also know that Saddam Hussein is not the only kind of specimen who lived on this planet. How about the atrocities carried out on Nelson Mandela and the blacks in South Africa. Did Nelson Mandela killed any of those responsible? No! To me, Nelson Mandela showed the world how one can amicably resolve an issue without taking revenge. He made the world know, who the actual culprit is and that itself is the justice. The whole world knows that the invasion on Iraq was meant for something else. But then, that is a different story in itself.

This case is all the more worrying because, the judicial process was briskly setup by the American led coalition forces, which itself shamelessly committed a heinous crime by attacking a sovereign nation without provocation. The very truth that, the coalition force’s illegal invasion and eventual occupation resulted in the killing of a whopping 550000 (more than half a million!) human beings, didn’t help to open the conscience of the coalition leaders. Some reports even suggests that this number is far below than the actuals. (A study in The Lancet estimates 654,965 Iraqi deaths (with a range of 392,979 to 942,636) from March 2003 to July 2006, based on national surveys of mortality [1][2][3])It is sad indeed. United Nations! what the heck is that for? It is proven again and again that UN is not respected by the supreme powers, most notably by the United States. Less privileged folks in the Africa gets easily commanded by the UN, whereas the formers repeated pleading goes unattenuated through the rich countries ears. What a pity!

Saddam Hussein without doubt has made thousands of people to suffer. Many of his actions where brutal and callous, but then the sufferings poured by the coalition forces are equally, if not more evil. End of the day, the one who suffers are the poor people, including women and children. For them, the complications of the diplomacy and the economics of oil are rocket science. Being at the last end of the economy chain, they have to pay the price in the form of their life.

We should learn a great deal from Nelson Mandela’s gesture. He has been the symbol of suffering, and a living legend. Apartheid was the worst thing which could happen to the black people in South Africa. When he came to power, he didn’t order the Apartheid white leader’s execution. That is the greatness of the man. He never let anger and enmity to come in the way of peace. That indeed should be the way. Enmity and blood for blood policy have no place in civilized society. We would love to see the supreme nations and its leaders to be little more sensible. If that happens, then the world would be a better place to live. On the other hand, if we continue to have the tit-for-tat policy, bloodshed will only continue. What is even more worrying is the fact that terrorists and fundamentalists may take this as an opportunity to carry out more attacks on civilians. Eventually yet sadly the innocent people around the globe suffers for no fault of theirs. Either way their calls are unheard by both parties.

“Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey”PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts. The Lancet, October 11, 2006
[3] “The Human Cost of the War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006”PDF. By Gilbert Burnham, Shannon Doocy, Elizabeth Dzeng, Riyadh Lafta, and Les Roberts. A supplement to the second Lancet study.

Monday, 2006 December 18

On 18, December 2006, I could attend wedding of my good old friend Sukesh Pai. Sukesh and I are known to each other from my higher secondary school days at Kanhangad Nehru arts and science college (those days..early 1990s we used to have a two year pre degree course, in place of the 10+2). Sukesh married to Archana on 18th December at Mangalore.

On 17th December night, I set out for an overnight trip to Mangalore, along with Narayana Pai. Maya and Nivedita couldn’t join since they were caught under the weather. Even though, I wasnt feeling all that well with the viral fever, I somehow wanted to make it to this occasion. In fact my hometown is very close to this port city (Nileshwar in Kerala’s Kasargod district is less than 60 miles from Mangalore). With Pai (Narayana Pai is known as Pai in the friends’ circle) it is always fun, because he has this huge ability to make you feel very comfortable, anytime, with the worldly discussions on any topic. No matter, where we start, with Pai, it will never get completed without discussing about cars and automobiles (and not to forget the Cisco goodies, they give it to employees with a certain regularity!). As one would expect, we also talked about cars. We talked about the new BMW cars being launched in India and to the torque adjustment mechanism of the latest Mercedes S series. Travel can never be boring with Pai and it was no different this time. I enjoyed every moment of this Volvo trip to Mangalore. The Bangalore-Mangalore highway was so messed up after the monsoon, that buses these days go via Mysore-Madikeri route.

Anyway, we had a comfortable journey (barring the condition of the road itself; I for one, didn’t feel it to any extend, thanks to the sound sleep on the journey). We reached Mangalore Jyoti circle at 6am . Mangalore as you would expect was relatively warm (even in winter it is quite not chilly there) compared to Bangalore.

Sukesh looked gorgeous in his wedding dress. The wedding was reminiscent of typical Konkani GSB Brahmin’s function. The pooja’s and other rituals would start from the previous day and would continue till the next day. It was quite a pleasant, and well organized sort of function. Both Sukesh and Archana looked very happy and it was indeed a pleasant sign. With Sukesh, you would always find a pleasant smile, the very sign of it could make anyone happy. Sukesh’s parents are known to myself and my wife Maya for a long time (may be longer with my wife because she is also a Konkani). They must be very proud (and a little relieved) that he found his very suitable better half.

I am very happy and feel proud of him. He is one guy, to whom I have tremendous respect as a good friend, as a simple human being who cared for his family and friends, and also a role model for any youngster with the sheer dedication and hard work he put in. I wish him all the very best for a continued, happier times in life.

happy married life Sukesh and Archana

It appears that a single RF solution for multiple wireless communication reception is near to reality. A startup firm (or is it a VC firm) tied up with UCLA, apparently have come out, already with a working prototype. I got to read this  excerpts on-line. Dr. Alireza Tarighat (the illustrious student of Prof Sayed of UCLA) is instrumental behind it? Well, do they have a cannon solution for MIMO as well? Developing an RF Circuit Capable of Receiving All Services in the 800MHz to 5GHz Range on One Chip. . . p. 105 The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and WiLinx (WiLinx) Corp, a venture capital firm located in LosAngeles, California, have developed an architecture that enables the reception of wireless services over a wide range of frequencies, from 800MHz to 5GHz, with just one RF circuit. They have already manufactured a prototype chip with those configurations. This holds hope for significant reductions in size of RF circuits for software radio devices that can receive multiple wireless services. Applied to portable devices, you would be able to create mobile phones on which you can switch freely between multiple wireless services. So-called “reconfigurable RF circuits,” for processing, on a single platform, wireless circuits for mobile terminals that can be used in various regions around the world, could be realized. The engineers who pursued the development explain their development concepts and details of the architecture.

Remember Gerald Hsu [1,2,3,4,5,6] aka Gerry Hsu? The Avant! CEO who was in the limelight in early 2000s for all the wrong reasons! The story of Avanti and the infamous law suit by Cadence against certain stolen source code from Cadence by Avanti, surely stands up among the folklore’s in the EDA community:-). It is best known for a long running legal battle with Cadence Design Systems, of which Business week said[2]

“The Avant! case is probably the most dramatic tale of white-collar crime in the history of Silicon Valley” 


Were you wondering, what he is up to these days? I have come across this little audio excerpts of a recent interview from Gerald Hsu to some Korean journalist/broadcaster (in English). Here is the mp3 version of that interview (audio) excerpts. He even post regular blogs.

Let us see some of the related quotations/remark related to the infamous avant!-cadence battle from case filing through the settlement:“It removes the clouds, opens up a new age and closes a chapter of the EDA industry that is best closed” [1]–Aart de Geus, chairman and CEO of Synopsys

“Accepting a settlement and agreeing not to pursue any more litigation against Avanti seemed the prudent thing to do” [1]–Ray Bingham, president and chief executive officer at Cadence

“A lot of people think lawsuits hurt the EDA industry when, in fact, stealing does more damage. Stop stealing and stop complaining when EDA companies sue other companies for taking their property. Avanti Chief Executive Officer Gerry Hsu set a precedent that you can build a company on stolen property, use that stolen property to get a head start on the competition, and, even if the courts find you guilty, walk away a multimillionaire. Vendors shouldn’t encourage this practice, and, after the courts have handed down a decision, consumers shouldn’t, either. (If you think IP theft is no big deal, wait a few years; chances are that it will likely hurt you, too)” —Michael Santarini (EDN) [6]



Coconut Grove! This restaurant in Koramangala, Bangalore, has gone down tremendously over the last year or so. The once acclaimed Kerala style food hop in Bangalore no more deserve any praise. It is in a very very advanced stage of decline (Just reminds me of the quote from Shashi Tharoor on India, when he said: “Indian is not an undeveloped country. Rather it is a highly advanced country in its advanced stage of decay”. I don’t remember, the exact words of his quote, but the essence is something like this).

I am not a food freak. I eat anything, but I am quite disappointed when these restaurant folks advertise as though they represent the authentic cuisines of certain style and then went on to mess it big time. People often get mislead by the ill propaganda and taken for a fancy drive by these guys. This time, I took a friend of mine and his mother, who came from US. They wanted to have a true Kerala style food. By mistake I suggested this place and what to say? Quite a disaster! Just to give an example, they served something by name avial, one of the favorite Kerala food item (vegetables, turmeric, curd etc are the essential ingredients). It was simply a shame that they serve something quite shabby for this name. If ever the owner of this chain of restaurants happen to read, please please, dont let your name go any worse.

The first time, I came across Voronoi regions is in the context of Maximum likelihood decoding of symbol detection in digital communication. For equally likely transmitted constellation, in additive white Gaussian noise channel, the optimum symbol detection follows the simple voronoi partitioning (voronoi regions based on the a posteriori probability in the more general case, or based on the maximum likelihood criteria when the a posteriori probabilities are unknown). If the noisy received symbol (signal) falls into the well defined voronoi region, the symbol is decoded as the transmitted symbol present in the voronoi region. Of course, each voronoi region would have one symbol from the transmitted constellation.

Voronoi regions are applied much widely in applied mathematics and topology.

The concept of Euclidean space is remarkably known from high school days, but the more complicated space in the name of “manifold” is not quite so. Let us start with the simple example. The example is a 3 dimensional sphere.

On a sphere, the sum of the angles of a triangle is not equal to 180°. A sphere is not a Euclidean space, but locally the laws of the Euclidean geometry are good approximations. In a small triangle on the face of the earth, the sum of the angles is very nearly 180°. A sphere can be represented by a collection of two dimensional maps, therefore a sphere is a manifold.

Now then, what is a manifold?

[1] Wikipedia article,

It was interesting to read the news about my former employer Synopsys coming out with a byproduct in the form of supercomputer . In normal circumstances, you don’t expect an EDA company to build a super computer, even in your wildest imagination. Believe it or not, some Synopsys engineers developed world’s 242-nd powerful supercomputer (see this link from eetimes). The number 242 doesn’t matter much. They did it. That’s all it matters.

This news is not entirely surprising to me. Not that, I was aware about this plan of Synopsys (if ever they had one!) to build a supercomputer of any sort! I had a long and enjoyable stint at Synopsys at the beginning of my career and I enjoyed every moment of working there. The work culture and the freedom given to engineers to explore new ideas, support to innovate wild engineering issues are something you don’t get to experience in every high tech companies. I think Synopsys in those days were like the Google these days, where every smart engineer longed to work with. Mind you, not everyone necessarily worked in EDA software design in Synopsys. They had a wide portfolio of work groups. For instance, I was working part of a small team focused to develop digital communication (wireless) modem design. I had developed myself as a wireless communication algorithm and system design engineer. It was an enviable looking team spread across three centers (Aachen Herzogenrath in Germany, Bangalore in India and Mountainview CA in USA) of Synopsys. Now, if I were to look back, this team (Could you identify me in this list of photos?) had an amazing bunch of guys. The caliber of this team was something Synopsys failed to use to the fullest potential, especially now that wireless industry prospered big time after Synopsys rather mistakingly decided to get away (from wireless design services). But then, Synopsys is not the only company in the world got this perception wrong. In business, these things ought to happen anyway! Nevertheless, wireless group was some sort of money making machine for them in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

This example is brought in to re iterate the fact that Synopsys always encouraged different engineering opportunities, most of them as part of the services division. Besides, they heavily support their research and development staff to go after adventurous and forward looking problems, whether it is directly related to EDA business or not.

To help matters, they used to get some of the smartest campus out graduates in those days. Synopsys and Cadence were two of the most preferred destinations for EE and CS graduates from IITs and NITs in India and other schools around the world. Things appeared to have changed these days. They are no longer conservative in recruiting, simply because the need of the hour is grow big in number! They are a big company now. The freedom you enjoy in a smaller company is not pertinent when the company grow in proportions. These days, I tend to hear that Google culture is akin to the earlier Synopsys culture.

….and Synopsys should be really proud of their champion CEO Aart De Geus. He is truly a leader in every sense, someone who the industry trusts and every EE engineer would want emulate!

[1] (article portion copy pasted below)
[2] Bernd’s home page

EE Times: Design News
Synopsys builds supercomputer from Linux servers
EE Times
<!– –> <!–


Today, at Multan (in Pakistan) Brian Lara slaughtered the depleted Pakistani bowling attack on the way to Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 34 centuries in the five day version of cricket. Only Sachin Tendulkar ahead! With Tendulkar having age in his side (I expect him to play at least few more years, so should Lara! The former is 4 years younger than the latter). What a nice thing to have, these two star cricketers play, one right handed and one left handed!. I always loved to watch these two fine cricketers excel. To me Sachin Tendulkar is more of a complete player equipped enough to play well in all sort of conditions, while Lara is an absolute treat to watch, once he settle in on a decent (not so moving) batting track. He makes batting ridiculously easy and mind blowing to watch. The left handers elegance is something you can enjoy to the fullest extend when Lara on song. He is merciless at occasions. Look at this (poor Danish Kaneria) today!

End of over 83 (5 runs) – West Indies 255/2 

BC Lara   66* (57b 10×4 2×6)   Umar Gul   23-11-40-0
RS Morton   5* (9b 1×4)   Danish Kaneria   29-2-104-2
Long-on and a long-off in place
83.1 Danish Kaneria to Lara, FOUR, flat on the stumps, Lara steps out and lofts it straight down the ground, one bounce into the fence
83.2 Danish Kaneria to Lara, no run
83.3 Danish Kaneria to Lara, SIX, short ball outside leg stump, Lara rocks back and pulls it away high and over mid-wicket fence
83.4 Danish Kaneria to Lara, SIX, One more and this is high- Lara charges down the track and lofts it away high over the long-on fence, this is a massive hit and Lara is on a high
83.5 Danish Kaneria to Lara, SIX, Hat-trick of sixes! length ball and Lara steps out yet again and this time straight over the sight-screen, this is even bigger than the previous one, Lara is on a roll and this is really a treat to watch
83.6 Danish Kaneria to Lara, FOUR, Boundary to end the over! full toss, Lara steps out and puts it away over the mid-wicket fielder
26 runs off the over and Lara has moved into the 90’s off just 63 balls

This is not the first time he did something similar to a spinner. A certain South African spinner must be not so unhappy today, after seeing Danish Kanerias fate. Let us don’t, go into the irrelevant part of it. Man, Brian Lara has this uncanny ability to score high! …..when it rains it really pour from his bat…. He is surely a trend setter in this high scoring business. he is 197 not out at the end of play and surely on a game to score a double or perhaps a triple hundred. I am just hoping that he sails high tomorrow as well.

A lot of debate will once again sprout, on the argument “Who is better? Lara or Tendulkar?” Ricky Ponting is not very far, but I like to consider Lara and Tendulkar in a different league. Critics of these players would say that one is a match winner, the other is less attacking etc. The fact is that, the two legends are part of average cricketing teams (not so match winning bowlers and fielders to be precise). As a fan, I wouldn’t mind the team losing, but for these guys play a great innings, like the one today and Tendulakrs Chennai test against Pakistan. Isn’t it just so nice that we get to see a right hander and a left hander playing in the same era. Lara is 37 years and tendulakr 33 years. I hope Tendulkar take this as an appetite to score much more. If only he doesn’t care about winning or losing:-) I hope he play a little more care free in the coming days, as Lara often does. I often felt that Lara care little about the result and in the process produce some monumental innings.

We had been to Kumarakom recently on a 3 day holiday. How do I describe this place? Just so beautiful!. As a person who originally hail from this state (north Kerala), a place so green, clean and scenic is nothing new to me. Nevertheless, the back waters and the lovely climate around Kumarakom are just too good….and what about the house boats? Man, I find it hard to describe this place.

The Taj garden retreat is one of those silent, just meant for relaxing for any amount of time! I would recommend this place as a holiday destination. Simply silent and beautiful! No wonder Kerala is often termed the Gods own country. Kumarakom with its backwaters and scenic surroundings surely added colour to Kerala’s tourist attraction…and what is noteworthy is that…all natural here. Dont miss the ayurvedic spa either. For Rupees 1000 (about 25USD) you could have a good ayurvedic massage!

Came across this interesting link profiling few probable candidates (guess game start early…) in BBC, ahead of 2006 Nobel prize for peace. Quite an interesting set of people, but perhaps meant for some other prize. Few of the probables (according to BBC) are,

Martti Ahtisaari

President Yudhoyono
John Bolton
Bono and Bob Geldof
Carla del Ponte
Thich Quang Do
Rebiya Kadeer
Sergei Kovalyev
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

To me, none of them bring an impressive record to claim world’s coveted and respected prize on peace. Perhaps, Finish former president Ahtisaari comes somewhere near to fit the bill with some experience
as secretary general Kofi Annan’s special envoy to lead the Vienna peace talks. Some claim that his role will have a bearing on the final status of Kosovo. There are a whole sets of other candidates to fill some numbers. I began to wonder whether this celebrated peace prize is facing difficulty to find some folks, who are worthy to carry home the million dollar prize from Stockholm?

There is also a certain John Bolton listed as a contender. Come on, give me a break for this nomination. We are talking about the Nobel peace prize. The one which eluded MK Gandhi (well that has a history…and perhaps Gandhi died a little too early for the Norwegian committee to find a suitable year to award)

Disappointing…But the award will have to be given to someone, whether he/she is truly worthy of that name. I am wondering, why cant they give a Nobel every four year, like some of the coveted math prizes like Fields medal and Nevanlinna prize awards. That perhaps would help to find a genuine winner!

Nothing much to write today, other than that superb goal from SB.

[Soni to SB]: Mate, how’s married life coming along?
[SB] : ………GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! (from a completely unexpected corner)
(What a goal it turned out to be! That was a goal and a half.)

That goal triggered quite a bit of laugh. We all had some good persistent time pass till 11 pm. Ajay’s exam writing skills (Electrical motor is….generator converts..something to….), Duke getting autonomous status…. to Selmans‘ now famous ‘Ila’ (banana leaf) marichidalvare‘…

From left: Selman, Binz, Praveen, Santosh B, Shantala, Maya, Soni and Appu. (yours truly is the photographer). Photo taken on 15th March 2006, Bangalore RT Nagar. It was the day before Praveen and Vijayalakshmi’s wedding (on 16th March 2006)

From left: Maya, Nivedita, Ratnu, Praveen, Viju, Santala, SB, Appu, Soni and Selman

Posted by Picasa

Ramani, Ratnu(myself), Maya and Nivedita. Photograph taken at the Assam rifle Army guest house in Delhi on 27th Oct 2005.

On 26th afternoon, on the way from Bangalore home (HSR layout) to Airport Mahesh and I were discussing about how we disgust about many things around us, especially the ones we never dared to question in our earlier lesser privileged avatars. He narrated one simple incident about how bad he felt about a recent visit to the Bangalore railway station. We all know that Indian railway stations and trains in general has a unique smell. No point in guessing its origin. The point however is our distaste to be in such places, at a time of our life when we can afford to ‘simply fly’ (so says Air Deccan slogan..). Some times, these software jobs and good salaries get us to a point where we become almost intolerable to anything less than super luxury. Gone are the days we could think of going in a no-luxury KSRTC for a full night travel. Volvo buses have become the de facto bus for travel.

Only the other day, on the republic day special on IBN, there was a discussion on how Indians feel about their country and so on.. There was an interesting statistics. People outside India feel very strong about Patriotism, but on a second question on how many would like to feel the hassles of Indian life: Well, you guessed how many responded positive there!

I however do not feel that we are wrong to have this natural feeling. This was just an observation. Ofcourse everything in your life change with your income. In that sense it is just a natural truth. These days pre school fees for a child is multiple times more than my entire university education. The reality however is that, still there are millions out there on this very same world, feeling proud and enjoying a three hour ordinary KSRTC bus trip through the coast of Kerala. Indeed it should be that way. There is space for these little happiness in every bodies life.

mahesh was asking me, what if Broadcom stocks rocks and he make more money. Well, then cars other than Mercedes will become un tolerable!

Rajdeep Sardesai and Yours truly! Well not many similarities. Nevertheless, we both work in the same building. This very same Express building in Film city, Noida NCR New Delhi, India. Conexant Systems ( and CNN IBN ( share offices here in Express towers with Freescale ( This afternoon, during the lunch break, we happened to bump across at the ground floor lift. First it was a nice pleasant surprise to see the man himself in real frame… not on TV screen as in Bangalore. The former Rhode’s scholar is quite taller tham I had anticipated. Well, I wanted to take a photograph, but then these are early days. Who knows, we may become better friends in the coming days:-). They say it is a small world, but never expected it to be this small He He..

I wanted to write a lot more about the Bangalores and Noidas. May be next time.

Venu’s wedding at Trichur..

Myself and Appu attended Venu’s wedding on 25th Jan 2006 at the now famous Trichur! Trichur being so ‘famous‘, the bus crew didnt even bother to notice this famous town on their way to Ernakulam (from Bangalore). In true megadeth tradition, we alighted at some place called Ollur and travelled back to Trichur. Being the cultural capital, the auto fellow, charged one-and-a-half fare at 7.30am in the morning. Appu however didnt teach any further culture to the gentleman.

Anyway, as you would expect at any season, we were served the best breakfast by Babu’s mom. One line of thought for Babu’s Indica car here. We were offered (rather dared to request it in the first place) the car’s service and took it. Then it was all an experience. It had some stick in the place where you see ‘gear-stick’. It works based on the well known Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Probably with a conjugate operation as well. The first gear for this was marked almost at the reverse gear position. At any time, you couldnt be sure on the exact position of the gear lock. Only with certain probability you can make any assurance. I could write a sonnet or two about its accelerator as well. But later..

Our arrival at the wedding house almost coincided with their departure to the wedding hall. Venu looked stunning in his white wedding attire. Perhaps wedding day is one of those beautiful occasions when everyone looks at their best (whether everyone like to be there in an ever smiling mode is debatable. SB would beg to opine on this).

At the wedding hall, Appukutts almost fell in love with a certain blonde. All sort of conspiracy theory, we worked out around her. As a true friend, I offered my share in making the theory strong enough to self argue that she is atleast engaged, if not married. We had to wait, monitor (and even book a seat just behind their row) until the lunch feast and then her departure to get the arguments stronger. It was a sad end to his three hour ‘nearly wed’ mode when her sister in law introduced her to some relative..”She has put on weight after wedding… what is the secret…hehe...” All at take was the black Santro car’s number and a photo. There was some uttering around me at that moment. ‘..Idiot!..’
Now readers question for this day. Who is this ‘Idiot‘ he is referring to? One clue. It is not me. May be a second clue. It is a ‘He‘ and not ‘She‘ !
..Who said it is all over?. Imran Khan would’ve said, there nothing impossible! If nothing promising happened yet, Appu knitted down a dummy model for himself, on how his would be look like:-)

Since I had to reach Bangalore early, I couldt spend too much time at the cultural capital. Appu however was other offering in the form of further tea-parties from prospective families around.

Some snaps from this Venu’s wedding. I am due to file some from Ramani’s and SB’s wedding too.

Ramani got married to Ramya on 27th October 2005 in Delhi. Since I wouldnt be able to attend his receiption function tomorrow (I am going on a family holiday to North India starting 27th eve). This snap taken just minutes before saying bye to him in Delhi. Ramani is seen on the left. This snap is taken in the Army guest house in Delhi. Posted by Picasa

Why I wonder why?
I wonder

I wonder why

I wonder why I wonder

I wonder why I wonder why

— Richard Feynman

Lance Armstrong is a phenomenon for sure. Ending a remarkable career with victory in Sunday’s Tour de France for the record 7th time! Having gone through all the difficult times with cancer etc, and reaching this far:-) Man, he is some sort of a guy! And interestingly, he then declared he had no regrets on the eve of retiring on a seventh Tour victory. Why should he? He has sailed quite a distance, separating the next best man, by a comfortable margin of history.

In the meanwhile, England was in their familiar suit, at the end of first Ashes test at Lords. They showed yet again that, the their batsmen panic in front of two names. A certain Shane Warne and Glen Mcgrath! Honestly, they do not have the batting talent to win a test match against Australia at this stage. That too, when the Aussie batsmen are themselves under par with their possible limit.

In the recent past, there has been considerable noise, on India, China and outsourcing and what not. There has been too much hype on wireless communication and signal processing companies building their strength in Bangalore.But from my experience, the number of companies working on anything from concept to product in Bangalore are less than ten, if not less. Most of the so called known names are happy with the hype around it, without really caring about the R&D itself. And ofco urse, the greedy work force turn happy very soon, with good enough pay to buy an apartment in HSR Layout or a Koramangala or Airport road. Tell me a technology focussed company who really has the guts to say that, they do everything in India!

For long, I was wondering whether v-blast and dfe are equivalent, and to my sweet speculation, I saw this Cioffi paper. May be I was stupid enough to think that, I could see some clever insight, but people before me had seen much further and deeper. Anyway, this happened to be my first blog plot.

On an entirely different note, I read this morning news, that the London police has admitted that, the shot the wrong person, in connection with last fortnight London blasts. How could they be so insane, on such an important and tactical issue? Is it that, the police went ahead and fired five bullets to some random guy, on the basis of general public’s speculation that, he had a thick jacket? While the bombing was a heinous crime, this mistake of shooting and killing an innocent guy should have been avoided. Atleast, the London police are honest to admit the mistake, unlike the many similar crimes done all over world.


June 2018
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