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Indian American Scholars awarded fellowships with Sloan Foundation



SLOAN_logoNEW YORK (Diya TV) — Among the crowd of 126 scholars and researchers from the U.S. and Canada selected as this year’s fellowship grantees for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation were seven Indian Americans.

Venkat Chandrasekaran of the California Institute of Technology, Abhinav Gupta of Carnegie Mellon, Ankur Moitra and Yogesh Surendranath of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Devi Parikh of Virginia Tech, and Surjeet Rajendran and Nikhil Srivastava of the University of California at Berkeley were the Indian American recipients of the awards this year.

The research fellowships have been handed out since 1955, and honor career scientists and scholars who are identified early as the industry’s future. Often charged with spearheading the next generation of scientific research, those who are selected by the foundation receive a grant of $55,000 to further their research and studies.2016-SRF-Announcement-Spotlight

Chandrasekaran, an assistant professor in the computing and mathematical sciences department at the California Institute of Technology, leads a research team focused on mathematical optimization. Specifically, Chandrasekaran is searching for an understanding of the power and limitations of convex optimization. His thesis, which also studied the specifics of convex optimization, received the Jin-Au Kong Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Prize for the best Ph.D. thesis in electrical engineering at MIT. He’s also been the recipient of the Young Researcher Prize in Continuous Optimization for his work on matrix decomposition.

Gupta serves as an assistant professor in Carnegie Melon’s Robotics Institute. His research has put the magnify glass on how humans interact with their environment and how their perception of visual world depends on these interactions and their abilities.

Moitra works as an assistant professor at MIT’s department of mathematics, and is also a member of the computer science and artificial intelligence lab at the school. Prior to his arrival in Cambridge, Moitra was an NSF CI Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, and also a senior postdoc in the computer science department at Princeton University. Moitra’s work has specialized in multiple areas of algorithms, and lately has been working on the intersection of algorithms and machine learning.

Surendranath, Moitra’s MIT counterpart, spends his time in a lab focused on addressing global challenges in the areas of chemical catalysis, energy storage and utilization, and environmental stewardship. The technological advances discovered by him and his team have allowed for new methods for controlling the selectivity and efficiency of inner-sphere reactions at solid-liquid interfaces.

Parikh, leader of Virginia Tech’s computer vision lab, was previously awarded the Allen Distinguished Investigator Award from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 2014. She is using her prize money to help computers “read” complex images with the use of cartoon clip art scenes.

Rajendran, a graduate of both Caltech and Stanford University, with degrees in both mathematics and a Ph.D. in physics respectfully, has very broad interests. His studies range from theoretical physics, to a strong focus physics beyond the standard model. Physics’ standard model has withstood multiple experimental tests, leaving many questions unanswered. His desire is to seek out a new invention; one which would develop new experimental avenues to clear the path for discoveries of new types of physics.


Lewandowski spars with Rep. Jayapal in impeachment probe




WASHINGTON (Diya TV) — Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski sparred with Rep. Jayapal among others, before a House Judiciary committee, taking on a barrage of questions from members of Congress who are trying to build a case towards the impeachment of President Trump.

100,000 petitions were delivered to the Gates Foundation in Seattle, asking them to rescind the award they plan on giving to Indian Prime Minister Modi for his clean India initiative because of his stance on Kashmir.

Federal investigators, including the FBI, are looking into potential misconduct by Mithril Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. Royan has a 20 year relationship with Thiel and has raised in excess of $1 billion, $300 million of which came from Thiel. Some investors are frustrated Mithril is sitting on their money rather than investing in startups, while raking in as much as $30 million per year in management fees.

Hundreds of alums from the Indian Institute of Technology gathered in Southern California for their annual convention, featuring some of the brightest minds in technology.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Over 200 Indian American organizations express concerns over Rep. Ro Khanna’s Pakistan caucus membership



Ro Khanna

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Diya TV) — 230 Hindu and Indian American organizations led by the Hindu American Foundation expressed concern in a letter to Silicon Valley Congressman Ro Khanna about his recent membership to the Congressional Pakistan Caucus and a recent tweet which they say “in effect endorsed the views of “a fringe and extremist anti-Hindu activist, Pieter Friedrich.” Khanna, who is also a member of the Indian caucus, says he joined the Pakistan caucus to have a seat at the table to bring peace to the region.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy is leading a delegation around India, one of four state leaders making plans to visit this year. The governor and his wife visited the Taj Mahal & later met with Prime Minister Modi. 

Sri Lankan American Raj Rajaratnam, a central figure in one the largest hedge fund insider-trading rings in American history, is now out of prison two years early. He is mostly confined to his apartment for the remainder of his sentence, but he can work outside his home during the day.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Howdy, Modi! How come Texas?



Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak in Houston

HOUSTON (Diya TV) — For world leaders, shaking hands with President Donald Trump has become a practice akin to the elaborate military drill on Wagah border. Not so much for Prime Minster Narendra Modi. The Trump-Modi camaraderie of banters, hugs, and viral hand-slapping is one more reason that the 50,000 strong crowd is excited to witness the historic ‘Howdy Modi’ community summit on September 22.

A community summit is just that: leaders of the community, politicians, corporates and all supporters of a common cause coming together to collaborate and celebrate. With the tagline ‘Shared Dreams, Bright Futures,’ the event will promote relations that go beyond the ‘America First’ and ‘Make in India’ policies that have often strained diplomatic encounters between the two countries. There couldn’t have been a better venue than Houston, Texas, for all purposes of this event

Slick for Oil

As the second largest state in the U.S., by population and GDP, Texas has significant trade relations with India. India is Houston’s 4th largest trading partner—just behind Brazil, China, and Mexico. The biggest exports from Texas are chemicals, petroleum, and coal. With constantly rising all prices, energy security is a major concern for the Prime Minister. Tellurian, natural gas company headquartered in Houston, is one of the major sponsors of the event.

Indian Diaspora’s ‘Shared Dreams’

The greater Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth areas have a thriving Indian American community with influential presence across various sectors of the economy. It is a significant voting bank for the Republican governed state to influence for the 2020 elections.

“At a time in the world where there is so much disunity, I think promoting unity between people and cultures in the world is a great thing,” says Robert Adams, a cross cultural training consultant and YouTuber (Chai & Coaching)  Over 150,000 Indian Americans live in the Houston metro area alone. Socio-cultural ties are a dominant way in which the community preserves its heritage while away from India. The cultural events preceding Modi’s address will showcase performances executed entirely by the Indian American community.

Indian Students, the ‘Bright Future’

Several Indian student associations in the US have partnered with the organizers, Texas India Forum, for the event. “The atmosphere in UT Dallas is pretty electric at this point. 6 to 8 buses will be leaving Sunday morning.” says Anirudh Ashok, a student at UT Dallas.

Regardless of political outcomes, this community summit is historic in the ways it will determine a new narrative that emerges about the world’s largest democracy on a platform offered by the world’s oldest democracy.

“Today’s youth is very aware of all the politics. My friends who were not involved in politics have started reading more and realize that Mr. Modi is doing great things for the country,” says Ashok.

Many individuals and groups have chosen to ignore or protest the event. But for those who will be a part of this momentous event, and for Trump and Modi, the show must go on, literally.

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