When I was young

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Having breakfast (in America) this morning, as I approach the 55th revolution around our Sun – my birthday in Copernican framing – on a rotating (third) rock, I came across a social media meme (that I rewrote at the top of this post), that took me back to 1980, when I was turning 15.  

I had to choose an academic track in high school (in India), and I made the sensible, logical, oh responsible and practical decision:

MPC: Math, Physics, Chemistry.

But, when all the world was asleep, I, a simple teenager, absurdly dreamed:

MPC: Movies, Physics, Cars.

Unlike Proust, whose memory was triggered involuntarily, my remembrance of things past is closer to Shakespeare (Sonnet 30):

Went the sessions of sweet silent thought

I summon up remembrance of things past.

Consequently, I am not in search of lost time. What I share with Marcel, although my background is not haut bourgeois, is his compulsive knowledge-seeking, his need to work on several planes at once, intermingling of many projects, his carefully orchestrated shifts between the serious and the light hearted, and above all, his recognition of the importance of solitary contemplation, reflecting on the time passing, and the exquisite pleasure found from the phenomenon of memory.

No, I was not having a madeleine dipped in lime-blossom tea for breakfast. I have enjoying a Mango Chobani and (Costa Rican) coffee, which prompted this l’édifice immense du souvenir.

In 2000, as I was turning 35, I founded SmartOps, creating the market for EIO software, which was acquired by SAP.

In 2005, as I was turning 40, I bought myself, inspired by James Bond movies:

Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante.

Since then, I have also purchased a Ferrari and a McLaren.

In 2010, as I was turning 45, I decided to become an Executive Producer of a movie, which won Best Documentary at DC Independent Film Festival:

WBCN and the American Revolution.

Since then, I have supported two other documentaries.

In 2015, as I was turning 50, and felt that I had to do something that had gravitas, I conceived of Nudge Videos to increase organ and tissue supply for transplantation, which was highlighted as a top innovation by the White House a year later (through the Office of Science and Technology Policy, OSTP).

Cars? Done. Movies? Check. What about physics

In 2020, as I turn 55, I am excited that:

 Universities Space Research Association (USRA) will be supporting Quantum Integer Programming (47-779) this Fall!

As an Academic capitalist, I have benefited (including a Darden Case on SmartOps-SAP partnership which is now a HBS case, in addition to the HBS Case on OrganJet and GuardianWings) over the past decades – see the top of the post – by partnering with amazing organizations that have vastly scaled my intellectual creations thereby making significant worldwide impact:

McKinsey & Company, SAP, Harvard, WEF.

How did I get connected with WEF? Do not underestimate the reach of Harvard. One of my favorite emails following my lecture emphasizing the Maximally Inverse mindset:

Dear Professor Tayur … Sridhar, 

On behalf of the Schwab Foundation, the World Economic Forum and importantly, our global community of high impact social change makers who gathered at the Harvard Kennedy School this past week, I wanted to send a heartfelt and sincere thank you for your time, dedication and travel in joining Julie and the class for the case session on OrganJet & Guardian Wings.  

You were an inspiration to many in the group, and your provocations, ways of seeing the world, forthrightness and ambitious achievements and ongoing aspirations were just what we needed to get the programme started on the first day, setting the bar high for all that followed.  The case was a great compliment to Julie’s session, but having you in the room was a special experience that was so much more powerful and instructive than a discussion about the case alone would have achieved.   I know it was highly appreciated that you were able to join us in person, and it left a strong impression on our community, who today will be making their way back to their organizations and work in Ethiopia, Pakistan, Brazil and so many other countries to take a new mindset to spur new action.  

We hope (and know from previous years) that this programme is a transformative experience for many of them – thank you for your contribution and investment in this greater community of change around the world.  

On a personal note, I very much look forward to staying connected (from both the academic, health and impact perspectives) and would be delighted to hear from you at any time, should you think I could be of help to you.  

With sincere thanks,

Lets get back to physics, shall we?

One naturally associates USRA with Astronomy and Astrophysics:

USRA was a key collaborator in the new gravitational wave discovery—the first detection by multiple space and ground-based observatories. This phenomenal event resulted from colliding neutron stars and was detected by NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) on August 17, 2017. Fermi’s GBM instrument is operated by USRA for NASA.

What does a Space Agency have to do with Quantum Computing?

USRA also has deep interest in Computer Science and Information Technology.

One of the research programs within Computer Science and Information Technology is Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science (RIACS). 

Within RIACS, there is an initiative in Quantum Computing.

USRA, NASA and Google have established a joint Quantum Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (QuAIL), with 20% of Computing Time available to University and Industry Research Communities. USRA manages the QuAIL Science operations and the technical operations of a D-Wave system located at NASA Ames Research Center.

This is how we at the Quantum Computing Group at Tepper gained access to D-Wave in January 2018.

There is also an internship program for PhD students in their Feynman Academy.

In 2019, David Bernal (CMU PhD student) was an intern there. 

Beyond research, USRA also has considerable interest in Educational and Workforce Development. Thus, the support for the course.

Channeling Rod Stewart (shifting from Supertramp), how can one stay forever young?

Here is a maximally inverse maxim:

We don’t stop dreaming and exploring because we grow old.

We grow old because we stop dreaming and exploring.

As I wrote – paying homage to Montaigne and Thomas Jefferson — in An Essay On Operations Management:

Leisure, Luxury and Pursuit of Newness is my mantra for what constitutes a life of liberty.

As Margaret Gray explains as to why Proust is enduring (and also why he is endearing to me):

In an age that values speed, brevity, efficacy, performance and appearance, Proust “signifies” slowness, length, labour, contemplation, resistance, transcendence.

Let me close with the transcendalist Henry David Thoreau:

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you have imagined.

2 comments

  1. Nice. I have tried reading Proust a couple of times, but never finished it!

    I also chose Math, Physics, Chemistry after Grade 8. To do that, I had to change school and go to anther one that offered that choice!

  2. Glad both of you did.

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