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MIT-Harvard-IIT Initiative for Focused Learning

Resonance Course on Neuroscience, Summer 2013

Sanjiva Prasad

Professor of Computer Science, India Institute of Technology Delhi; Amar Nath and Shashi Khosla School of IT

Professor Prasad received his B Tech in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur in 1985 and his MS and PhD in Computer Science from SUNY, Stony Brook, USA in 1990 and 1991. His thesis, "Towards a symmetric integration of concurrent and functional programming" includes some of the early research in the design and semantics of higher-order concurrent programming languages with mobile code. He worked in the area of program verification at Odyssey Research Associates in Ithaca, USA from 1990-1992, and then at the European Computer-Industry Research Center (ECRC GmbH) in Munich, Germany from 1992-1994, where he worked on the Facile project based on his thesis work. From 1994 he has been at IIT Delhi, first as an assistant professor and then as an associate professor. In 1998-99, he was a visiting associate professor at BRICS, University of Aarhus, Denmark. His research interests are primarily in formal methods and programming languages -- in particular, semantics of concurrency, distributed and mobile computation, and verification of network protocols and architectures. Process algebraic approaches to systems biology are a recent interest. He has written several conference and journal papers, and has been an invited speaker at the first DART workshop at Aalborg, Denmark in 1993 and at the first HLCL workshop at the Newton Institute, Cambridge, UK in 1995. He is a member of the Indian Association for Research in Computer Science and the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science. He has also served on several international conference programme committees (FST TCS, POPL, Fossacs, ASIAN, SEFM, etc.), and as the programme co-chair of FST TCS 2000 and FST TCS 2007.

Ambuj D Sagar

Vipula and Mahesh Chaturvedi Professor of Policy Studies, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Prof. Sagar's interests broadly lie in science & technology policy, environmental policy, and development policy, with a particular focus on the interactions between technology and society. While his current research focuses mainly on energy innovation and climate policy, he also studies, more broadly, various facets of technology innovation, environmental politics and processes, and engineering education and research. His recent papers have dealt with energy innovation policy and strategies (in areas such as biofuels, clean cookstoves, coal-power, and automobiles and institutional mechanisms such as climate innovation centers), climate change policy, and capacity development for the environment. He currently is advising/interacting with various agencies of the Indian Government and several multilateral and bilateral organizations; while in the US, he worked with a range of private and public-sector organizations in the US (including as a staff researcher for a major study on energy R&D for the White House). He currently is a member of the Indian Government's Expert Committee on Low-Carbon Strategies for Inclusive Growth, the US-India Track-II Dialogue on Climate Change, as well as other advisory groups in the Indian Government.

Pawan Sinha

Professor of Vision and Computational Neuroscience, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT

At Pawan Sinha's MIT lab, he and his team spend their days trying to understand how the brain learns to recognize and use the patterns and scenes we see around us. To do this, they often use computers to model the processes of the human brain, but they also study human subjects, some of whom are seeing the world for the very first time and can tell them about the experience as it happens. They find these unusual subjects through the humanitarian branch of their research, Project Prakash.
Project Prakash sets up eye-care camps in some of the most habitually underserved regions of India, and gives free eye-health screenings to, since 2003, more than 700 functionally blind children. The children are then treated without charge, even if they do not fit the profile that would make them eligible for Sinha's research. Sinha's eventual goal is to help 500 children each year; plans are under way for a center for visual rehabilitation in new Delhi. The special relationship that Sinha has created between research and humanitarianism promises to deliver on both fronts.

Venkatesh Murthy

Raymond Leo Erikson Life Sciences Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology