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Chandu Thekkath

Managing Director,
Microsoft Research India

Chandu Thekkath, currently head of Microsoft Research India, joined Microsoft in 2001. Microsoft Research India, which began operating in January 2005, conducts basic research in computing and engineering sciences relevant to Microsoft’s business and the global IT community, with a special focus on algorithms, cryptography, security, mobility, networks and systems, multilingual systems, software engineering, machine learning, and the role of technology in socioeconomic development.

Thekkath began his career at Microsoft as a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley, where he did research in multiple areas: mobile devices, distributed data intensive computing, and large-scale storage systems. He also worked with the Hotmail team as chief architect for the Blue project. Blue went into production use within MSN in mid-2006 and was an early example within Microsoft of a large scale distributed storage system that provided strict read/write guarantees in the presence of disk, machine, and network failures.

Prior to Microsoft, Thekkath worked at the DEC/Compaq Systems Research Center, where he held the positions of Principal Engineer, Consulting Engineer, and Manager (Distributed Systems). At DEC, Thekkath’s most influential work was the Petal/Frangipani project. It was completed (and made public) in 1997 and influenced the design of Compaq’s VersaStore products and predates many of the storage and NAS appliances in the industry today. Thekkath was also a principal in the XOM project, which was started when he was on a sabbatical at Stanford in 2000. XOM has many of the same ideas as the current-day Intel SGX.

Thekkath worked as a software development engineer at Monolithic Memories Inc. (now part of AMD) and Hewlett Packard between 1983 and 1988.

Thekkath received a BTech. in EE (Electronics) from IIT Madras in 1982, where he was awarded the Governor’s Prize, an M.S. in EE from UC Santa Barbara in 1983, an M.S. in Computer Science from Stanford in 1989, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Washington in 1994. He is a fellow of the ACM and has published a number of influential papers in the premier conferences in the field and holds about 30 patents in operating systems, networks, distributed systems, and computer architecture.

Thekkath is a certified instrument flight and ground instructor. His cunning plan is to earn his living as an instructor in case the computer phenomenon turns out to be a passing fad.