September 06, 2005
Technology Review published its annual list of top 35 technology innovators under 35 today and it gives me immense pride and pleasure to note that my fellow blogger, college classmate, and one of my closest friends Chari is on the list and in addition is one of the three people to be profiled. For those without access to TR, here is the complete article:
Narasimha Chari, 31
Setting the mesh networking standard
In the late 1990s, when Wi-Fi-equipped laptops were still a novelty, Narasimha Chari saw the possibility of creating large communications infrastructures using wireless mesh networks--which at the time were the exclusive province of the military. In 18 months of moonlighting while a physics grad student at Harvard University, he created elegant algorithms that tailored mesh networking for routine civilian communications.
Tropos Networks, the company Chari founded in 2000 with coinventor Devabhaktuni Srikrishna, helped launch commercial wireless mesh networking. With their straightforward installation--routers attach to lampposts--and attendant low cost, mesh networks have eased into plentiful use both outdoors (on campuses, in public safety networks, and at gatherings such as festivals) and in (in hospitals and factories). But Tropos is focusing on the rapidly growing market for networks that serve entire municipalities. That's the application of choice for one-third of the company's 200 customers.
Tropos's services, which are built around Chari's routing protocols, dominate the nascent mesh-networking industry. Telecommunications companies fear the proliferation of the technology, seeing it as a threat to their Internet access businesses. In fact, the telecommunications industry is lobbying for legislation granting them--not local governments--first dibs on municipal Wi-Fi installations. Meanwhile, Tropos is gaining customers at a rapid clip; 75 signed on in the first half of 2005.
Tropos's expansion is bringing Chari full circle. In 1992, after receiving the third-highest score out of 80,000 on the Indian Institutes of Technology entrance exam, Chari left India for Caltech. Later, while at Harvard, he had late-night talks with Caltech pal Srikrishna about providing anytime, anywhere communications in developing countries. Now, as Tropos ships its first systems to India, Chari is seeing his innovation connect back to his homeland.
Its an incredible achievement that is richly deserved and could not have happenned to a nicer guy.
I would be remiss if I did not mention one other thing - TR has a policy of recognizing only one person for an achievement. I disagree with this philosophy. Any scientist or technologist would tell you that innovation rarely happens at an individual level - it happens through active collaboration with other folks and upon building on things other people have already invented. In this context, Tropos Networks was a brainchild of both Chari and Sri. Sri was equally instrumental in the creation and commercialization of this world class technology and should get half the credit. Together these guys have built incredible technology and a world class company - Tropos Networks. I feel honored to know them both.
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Very interesting to learn about Mr.Chari and his company, Tropos Networks, as you rightly said, its very important to recognise such people.
Posted by: Dilli Babu | Sep 9, 2005 10:20:22 PM
Congratulations, Chari! I was browsing the Technology Review and I saw the mention of Chari. Googling further led me to stumble across this blog where I found my other Caltech classmate Venky. It's great to see that you're both doing well. Best wishes!
Posted by: Ronak Bhatt | Sep 18, 2005 5:27:58 AM
Congrats on the honor! As someone preparing for IITJEE in 93-94 in Calcutta with the physics prof RGC (who you took tutions from as well), we heard many stories of your prowess in physics...and after so many years, it's great to see you living upto what we expected you to achieve...
Posted by: Shrikant | Sep 20, 2005 6:36:08 AM
Read about you while browsing to Tech. Rev. I really like what you wrote there in TR. To my quest I reach this blog.
Unable to stop myself to write few words.
Posted by: Shrikant Gaikwad | Oct 4, 2005 11:30:01 PM
Heartfelt Congratulations Chari.
We were classmates in St. James' High School, Calcutta and met again in 1995 when you had come visiting and have since lost touch, kind of...
My parents and all my cousins -- whom you have met, send you their congratulations as well.
Venkatesh S. Sista (Gaaru)
Posted by: Venkatesh S. Sista | Oct 5, 2005 9:22:09 PM
Your blog is being spammed . On this page http://www.venchar.com/2003/12/architectural_i.html you can see an example of the blatent spamming. You should make sure your comments have to be moderated
Posted by: dave | Oct 14, 2005 2:10:39 PM
Hi Venkat, why no updates?
Posted by: Ramnath | Mar 12, 2006 7:45:30 PM
I am proud of your achievement. I am Bapida from Keyatala and a great friend of your father. I live in Vancouver now.
I am happy for what you have achieved.
May God bless you with more success and you come up with more ideas. Do reply to this mail if you find time.
Posted by: Amitava Basu | May 13, 2006 8:27:45 AM
I am not sure if you remember me or not. I was in school with you (JDS, Elgin Rd) and if u can recall we were part of the same quiz team (remember Gaurav, Binay, Deven etc) and studied in the same class till class 8 after which we parted ways to choose our own stream & board. In case that strikes a chord with you, do mail me at email@example.com. We can talk again after a long long time
Congratulations on whatever you have done and wish you all the best for the things to come from you in the future. We all anticipated that you would go a long way and that you were a genius is something which we all knew. Anyways, keep up the good work and if u remember, do give a mail back
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