11 June 2012
Balaji is a Full Researcher at Institute IMDEA Networks. He earned his Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas in Austin in 2009 and 2004, respectively, and the degree of Engineer in Electronics and Communications from the University of Madras in 2002. His current research fields include measurements, models and performance evaluation in wired and wireless networks.
I have read a lot of books as part of the preparation for my career as a researcher, most of them of technical nature. As non-technical sources that were helpful to me during my doctorate years, I would mention cartoon strips such as “PhD comics” and xkcd
What book do you feel was the most influential to your research career? What could you tell us about it?
This is a hard question to answer, since I cannot identify a single book as the most influential to me. I would rather say that I was more strongly influenced by some people. Obviously, I have read a lot of books as part of the preparation for my career as a researcher, most of them of technical nature. I would be able to name the textbooks on probability, networks and queue theory that I consider relevant, but I think this would not be very interesting for others. Non-technical sources that were helpful to me during my doctorate years were cartoon strips like “PhD comics” and xkcd
What are you reading right now or have recently read?
I have just finished Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy. Other books I am reading or have recently read are The Black Swan, from Nassim Taleb, and the Descartes’ Error, from Antonio Damasio.
Please list three authors you like.
For those who enjoy historic fiction, I would recommend Colleen McCullough, author of the excellent “Masters of Rome” series. I also liked very much Tolkien, and I have read and own virtually every book he has written. Orwell is another of my favourite authors.
What science popularization book would you recommend to us?
Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today’s Computers, from John MacCormick, exploring the ideas driving the computing technology that nowadays we take for granted. An interesting conference about the subject (not a book, sorry) is a TED speech from Kevin Slavin about how algorithms shape our world. http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/es/kevin_slavin_how_algorithms_shape_our_world.html