Mathematically Speaking - A Journey From PSG Tech To Canada
Krishna Vaidyanathan (M.Sc Theoretical Computer Science, 2010-2015) is an alumnus of PSG Tech who is currently doing his MMath by thesis at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.
Unlike most students who would say Math is their least favourite subject, Krishna is pursuing his Masters in it, along with researching on Spectral Graph Theory, as an assistant to his academic supervisor.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. What are you expected to do, as an MMath student?
I attend courses. And I do research on a topic with my academic supervisor. I am expected to write a Masters thesis on my research topic to graduate. Unlike a PhD thesis, it need not be an original research and can be a survey. I usually have a weekly meeting with my supervisor where we discuss papers and ideas.
Q. Is this what you had envisioned for yourself?
I did not imagine that I would go into academia in high school, but after joining MSc Theoretical Computer Science which is focused on research, I was reasonably sure that I would be going down this route.
Q. Something essential you have learnt from PSG Tech which helps you even now
The importance of hard work, networking, friends and being kind.
Q. How is the work atmosphere there?
There is a lot of stress on communication skills. It’s very important to speak and write well. You’ll see that most people are comfortable speaking before an audience, even first or second year undergrads. I am glad that our college (PSG Tech) also lays a lot of stress on communication skills, in the form of assignment presentations and I would recommend the current students to make full use of it. Other than that, people are less formal and like to maintain a good work-life balance.
Q. Who or/what all guided you in this path?
- In college, Prof. Lekshmi’s amazing graph theory course was the first motivation for graduate school. I also got the opportunity to work with her during which I received invaluable insight and inspiration.
- Prof. Nadarajan, our HoD, was very supportive of the internships and workshops that we wanted to go to. The environment that he helped foster in our department, helped students thrive.
- Prof. Chandran and Prof. Francis, under whom I did two internships respectively. I am very grateful and thankful for the advice and training I received from them. I consider it an honour to have worked with them.
- My seniors and classmates without whose help and support for the 5 years of college, would have been a shadow of what it was.
- Finally, my parents and family for the love and support that they have given, and that they continue to give.
Q. There is a general apprehension about research, PhD’s and the kind. Any comments?
I think a lot of the apprehension is due to specialized language. An analogy would be learning a speaking language. At first you don’t understand, then you are able to comprehend a little of what is being spoken and after that, you do fine. Research papers are written in specialized language, needed to be written down formally and also assume prerequisite of basics. It gets better when you keep at it, and read more.
I’d highly encourage students to explore research before forming an opinion on whether they want to go down that route.
Q. Plans from here on?
Currently, the plan is to do good work and learn new things.
The Bridge wishes Krishna all success in his future endeavors.