The Bay Area chapter of IITMAANA held its 2016 Gajendra Circle event on Saturday, 14 May, 2016 in Campbell, CA. The goal of the event was to provide IIT Madras Alumni and families an opportunity to meet in a setting that offered both professional and social enrichment. The event was hosted and sponsored by 7 Inc.
The daytime conference commenced with a networking session over coffee and snacks. The Keynote speaker was Jay Vijayan, a well-known name in the Silicon Valley, who after successful stints at Oracle and VMware was, until recently, the Chief Information Officer for Tesla Motors. He discussed a variety of topics ranging from startups to people that inspired him, primarily Elon Musk. Vijay Ullal (IITM ’81) was the host for the Fireside Chat with Vijayan.
The rest of the day was filled with a series of panels addressing technical and social interests. The Entrepreneurship panel featured Kumar Ganapathy (Western Digital, IITM ’87), Arun Ramamoorthy (Pinnacle Ventures, IITM ’95), Ramu Sunkara (Synqq, IITM ’85), and Schwark Satyavolu (Trinity Ventures, IITM ’96). This panel was humorously moderated by Hayagreeva “Huggy” Rao (Professor, Stanford Graduate School of Business).
The first social panel was on Retirement Planning & Long-term Care featuring Anil Gulati (Gulati Financial Services), Meeta Kohli (Physician, Geriatric Medicine), Mahesh Nihalani (Priya Living), and Viji Nathan (IITM Alumna and former VP of Deposits & Investments at Wells Fargo Bank). Dinesh Nettar (IITM ’72, ‘81) moderated this panel.
Directed towards helping High School students and their parents, the second social panel was College Applications for High School Students. The panelists were Peggy Schmidt (Professional College Counselor), Viji Dilip (IITM spouse and college parent), Krishna Kalpathy (recent college grad, son of IITM alumnus), and Shreyas Ramaswami (high school senior, son of IITM alumnus). Sriram Samu (Walmart.com, IITM ’84) moderated this panel using his experience as a parent who has been through the process twice.
The panel on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Big Data featured Ram Akella (UCSC, IITM ’76), Muddu Sudhakar (Splunk, IITM ’90), Venkat Subramanian (Dataguise, IITM ’82), and Amit Tewari (Mo-Data). This panel, filled with energetic discussions, was moderated by G Venkat (Naya Ventures, IITM ’92).
The day closed with a panel on Autonomous Vehicles that often sounded like sci-fi, but gave the audience a feel of what to expect in the future. The panel featuring Axel Fuchs (Quanergy), Jeremy Frank (NASA Ames), and Sri Jagannathan (NEXT Future Transportation) was moderated by Ram Ganapathi (NVIDIA, IITM ’82).
While the conference had ample opportunity for the attendees to network, ask questions of the panelists, and socialize, the dinner social was held at the Mayuri Restaurant in Santa Clara in a more relaxed setting. Live Entertainment was provided primarily by IITM Alum TN Arunagiri using his voice to render a great collection of movie hits.
The event had an attendance of over 90 people that included IITM Alumni and families.