There is No Fate But What We Make

Monday, June 27, 2016

MSR IoT Summer School at IISc Bangalore

“Beam me up, Scotty!” said Captain Kirk in the popular TV serial Star Trek. The technology to travel from one place to another instantly is not yet a reality. However, tremendous strides have been made in many areas of science and technology. Driverless cars have started sharing roads with regular cars. People living in remote areas with no medical facilities have started receiving sound medical advice via phones with sensors measuring the patients’ pressure, pulse rate etc. Small, inexpensive and connected sensors are the backbone of these leaps in technologies. Such a network of devices, vehicles and buildings has embedded electronics, software and sensors. It also has network connectivity to collect and exchange data. These schemes are referred to as Internet of Things (IoT).
Microsoft Research and the Department of Computational & Data Sciences at IISc came together to conduct an event on IoT. The event was called MSR India Summer School 2016 on IoT and took place from June 20th to 25th at the IISc campus. It brought together academic researchers, entrepreneurs and students and provided an excellent platform to disseminate information on the research ideas being pursued at Microsoft Research and other companies. The work and ideas presented were cutting edge. Dr. Shaz Qadeer from Microsoft Research presented his work on a novel programming language called P, which is suited for testing sensors and devices, such as an USB device. Dr Rajeev Shorey from TCS Innovation Lab explained how Industrial Internet of Technologies (IIoT) uses IoT to improve industrial manufacturing. Michael Depa, an MIT alumnus, presented the work on Diabetes diagnosis. This is an example of how IoT is improving human lives. Dr. Ranveer Chandra from Microsoft Research explained the networking issues with sensors. He also explained how IoT optimizes how resources are used in an agriculture farm, using a technique called FarmBeats. Although the specific example was applicable to developed countries which have large farm sizes, the problem is extremely relevant to India too since the total farm output needs to double in India by the year 2050. Dr Amarjeet Singh, an entrepreneur at Zenatrix, explained how IoT makes electrical appliances more efficient. In this energy starved world, this is a problem that is crying out for a solution. Zainul Charbiwala from Tricog Healthcare explained how the humble ECG machine is entering the modern era using IoT. The Tricog system has helped over 70,000 patients in south India. Dr Ronak Sutaria narrated his experience on urban air quality monitoring. Dr Ashish Kapoor, from Microsoft Research, explained how machine learning and IoT improves weather forecasting and disaster management in Rwanda. Prof TVS Hari from IISc explained his work on Indoor localization and vehicle classification. Finally, Prof Marco Grusteser of Rutgers University explained how IoT is used for pedestrian safety and also privacy issues with connected vehicle. Additionally, some of the participants presented projects that they did as part of a Hackathon. They were given sensors, electronic components and computing resources. It was an exhilarating experience to listen to the diverse ideas and feel the passion with which they worked on them.
We cannot predict what technologies will be like in the future. However, as is evident from the work and ideas presented during this event, IoT is already improving lives of people.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

predictions for the rest of the cricket world cup

Pool Team Played Points NRR Predicted Final Points Predicted Rank after league phase
A NZ 4 8 3.589 12 1

SL 4 6 0.128 8 3

BD 3 3 0.13 5

OZ 3 3 -0.305 9 2

AF 3 2 -0.76 2

EL 4 2 -1.201 6 4

SC 3 0 -1.735 0

B IN 3 6 2.63 12 1

SA 3 4 1.26 10 2

IL 2 4 0.338 6

WI 4 4 -0.313 6 3

ZI 4 2 0.723 2

PK 3 2 -1.373 6 4

UE 3 0 -1.326 0


             Date Team 1 Team 2 Winner
03/03/15 IL SA SA
04/03/15 PK UE PK
04/03/15 OZ AF OZ
05/03/15 BD SC BD
06/03/15 IN WI IN
07/03/15 PK SA SA
07/03/15 IL ZI IL
08/03/15 NZ AF NZ
08/03/15 OZ SL OZ
09/03/15 EL BD EL
10/03/15 IN IL IN
11/03/15 SC SL SL
12/03/15 SA UE SA
13/03/15 NZ BD NZ
13/03/15 AF EL EL
14/03/15 IN ZI IN
14/03/15 OZ SC OZ
15/03/15 UE WI WI
15/03/15 IL PK PK

Quarter finals

Team1                  Team2                  Winner            


Semi finals

Team1                  Team2                  Winner           



Team1                  Team2                  Winner           


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What are the greatest comeback stories you've ever witnessed or heard about, and why?


World cup quarter final 1996. Played in Bangalore. Thanks to Siddhu and Ajay Jadeja, India posted a decent total, batting first. India's bowling had quite a few local Kannadiga boys (Venkatesh Prasad, Srinath, Kumble). Pakistan batsmen Saeed Anwar and Aamir Sohail played brilliantly and hit all over the stadium. It was a brilliant, elegant and fairly risk free assault. Not blind slogging. India must have feared it was losing grip on the match. The local boys were the ones who bore the brunt of that assault. Then Aamir's cockiness got the better of him and he showed with his body language what he thought of Venkatesh Prasad's bowling. Next ball, Aamir gets his off stump knocked off. It was an epic comeback by Venkatesh Prasad. Pakistan didn't quite recover from that knock and went on to lose the match.
While it was just a match, to me, it was a turning point in history. The mental shackle Pakistan cricketers had on India was broken. In the 1980s till mid 90s, India had lost most of the matches to Pakistan. That day in Bangalore, India turned the tables and since then there was no longer any mental baggage taking Pakistan on. Pakistan still produced better fast bowlers but India took them on fairly successfully. Of course, victories and defeats have both happened since then. But it was no more a big deal. The era that started with Miandad's last ball six off Chetan Sharma was ended by Venkatesh Prasad.
On a different plane, Pakistan's political fortune also had a parallel. By the late 80s, Pakistan started having an upper hand in Afghanistan. The mujahuddin started winning against Soviet backed forces. USSR collapsed. Najeeb was publicly executed. Pakistan's puppets were installed in the government in Afghanistan (Taliban and predecessors). After this victory, the same mujahuddin model was executed by Pakistan in Kashmir. Militancy started in 1989 and peaked in the early and mid 90s. Militants were able to strike at will at Indian forces in Kashmir. Bomb blasts were also triggered all over India. Pakistan's strategy was working. India was on the mat. But then things started turning around. Musharraf pushed too far and tried Kargil. India lost men but managed to recover lost grounds. Pakistan was recognized and censured as the aggressor nation. Then 9/11 happened. World's (especially west's) tolerance for non-state actors vanished. America turned against Taliban and Pakistan's assets were driven out of Afghanistan. The new Afghan regime of Karzai was not unfriendly to India. Over a period of time, the world came to realize Pakistan's duplicity of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. To the point of US now regularly drone screwing Pakistan, killing its assets. Pakistan can't do anything about it (except pocketing money that it gets as a client state).
In a surreal way, I find that come back by Venkatesh Prasad as the turning point and a great comeback since it not only turned things around in Cricket but also heralded a new era when India was no longer just a victim of Pakistani aggression.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Income Tax India Site SSL certificate incorrect. How do we pay advance tax?

Income Tax India Site SSL certificate incorrect. 

How do we pay advance tax?

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Stop misselling, says IRDA. We never got the memo, says Aegon Religare

Some things just never change. Misleading advertisements in the financial industry is an example. Saw this ad the other day.

Links to this page. Still claims 150% guaranteed returns. But they have dropped all those 7 years details.

Anyway, I did the numbers in Excel. Guess what the returns is? Less than 6%. That's right! Once the service tax is added, the returns falls further.
Any normal person who sees 150% returns and doesn't validate the claims, will fall for this. Will the insurance companies ever change?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Does this explain Aegon Religare's profits?

A copy of my email sent to Aegon Religare
Hello xxxx,

hope you are doing well. i was looking at the IRDA's annual statement recently.
It seems there were 7 claims in the whole year and 5 of them rejected/repudiated.
I have attached a screenshot of the relevant page from IRDA's report.
You can get the whole report from here:
The relevant report is page #151.
Aegon Religare's Claims repudiation ratio is above 70% !!!
This is rather extreme. No other insurance company has it so high.
LIC's figure is 1.33%
No other private players' number is so high.
How would you explain this?

I hope this is not what explains the profit numbers of Aegon Religare.
As a person who has bought life coverage from Aegon Religare, i am very nervous about this.


From: XXXX Chowdhury
Sent: Fri, January 8, 2010 1:19:11 PM
Subject: Press Coverage- Aegon Religare posts profit

Dear all,

Attached are the scans of the coverage we’ve received:

In the Financial Express under the headline ‘Life Insurer’s losses soar 43% in FY09’.

Ø In The Hindu Business Line under the headline ‘Life Insurers’ losses mount 43% in FY09’.
Ø In The Economic Times under the headline ‘Insurance aggregators leave you spoilt for choice’.
Ø Indian Express on web, under the headline ‘Insurance firms widen Net, tap online market’

AEGON Religare Life Insurance Co Ltd
Please visit us at

Saturday, January 16, 2010

LIC promises 35% returns! No one can beat that!

Just see this letter from LIC chief manager pitching an LIC policy. And they say there's no mis-selling!

"Jeevan Saathi Plus of LIC was launched on 29/06/2009. The units became NAV based (initial NAV of Rs 10)
on 29/06/2009. Current NAV of Growth fund as on 13-Jan-2010. is Rs. 11.5500 Average annual growth is :

If we hypothetically assume similar performance of LIC in managing the fund of Market Plus-I, then the
benefits can be projected as under....."

I am stunned at this. IRDA has clearly instructed Insurance companies to project returns based on 10% and 6% nominal returns.