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Avirudh Kaushik: Graduate Student

What has your experience been like at UC Santa Cruz?

My best experience here has been teaching under Professor Larabee. I’ve TA’d for her for five quarters and I have really enjoyed my time under her. I’ve also learned from the student reviews. A lot of students have given me favorable reviews in their evaluations, which gets me motivated. I’ve enjoyed teaching these students because they’re all computer scientists and are eventually going into industry or teaching, and if I can help them in just one way developing one skill that will help them later on, why not? It’s a good feeling you can carry with yourself.

Tell us about your research project.

I’m finishing my master’s project in Software Defined Networking. I would say this is the next wave of networking because traditional networking has reached its threshold because the only way to improve upon it is to make it go faster. The next generation of networking will see devices that are software controlled rather than hardware controlled. For example, an iPhone gets updates automatically without being connected to a device. Imagine that happening in things like routers. Now, if engineers want to do update them, they have to plug in software updates in each device. We’re trying to reach a stage where a patch could be updated on all these devices via a remote control. The processing time will be reduced and the network will get faster with less congestion. In the Silicon Valley we don’t deal this problem much because the internet is in abundance. But in areas where we do face networking problems like back in India, or Brazil or places in Africa where the network infrastructure is still being developed, this will really play a huge role.

What’s the most interesting or unique aspect of your research?

Being part of researching in the next wave of the internet is the most unique aspect because I can see where the world will be going. The internet is the backbone of most industries these days. Every industry relies on it. Being able to see how the internet is shaping up and where it’s going to go in the next generation is kind of exciting.

Why is the Baskin School of Engineering the right place for you to be doing this research?

This is really the right place because of the people and because a lot of cutting edge research is happening here. Especially if you consider people like Professor J.J. Garcia-Luna-Aceves. He has a lot of publications to his name, yet I’ve talked to him and he’s such a nice person to talk with and he’s actually encouraging people to tell him something he doesn’t know or come up with techniques he hasn’t thought about. Professor Katia Obraczka has guided me so many times. She’s doing incredible research in sensor networks, internet of things, and she promotes students to go to conferences. It’s fun to meet big names in the industry when they give talks at UC Santa Cruz. You see them talk and they’re just ordinary, nice people like you and me who are really involved in their field. Even Dean Wolf, I’ve talked to him a couple times and he doesn’t come off as too busy, he actually cares what you have to say. I think maybe I can learn a thing or two from these people and implement it in my life so I can achieve my goals.

What are your career plans?

Eventually I have a plan that I would love to go back to India and start a school for the underprivileged and teach people, and open a soccer academy. Teaching here has given me confidence and motivation. I mean, this was just a plan but now I realize I really can do this. When I read evaluations from satisfied students, it makes me think this is what I want to do.

What do you do in your spare time when you’re not studying or doing research?

Soccer has been my favorite passion since high school. I played on my school team and I played during my undergrad team. I try to play as much as possible. I also like dancing. I auditioned for the Indian Bollywood Dance team here at UCSC. The funny part was all the people there knew me because I’d been their TA, so it was kind of awkward. I didn’t end up on the team because it required travelling which would interfere with my studies, but they were sweet enough to invite me to their practice sessions.

Computer Science and Engineering
Degree Program: 
Masters of Science, Computer Engineering
Place of Birth: 
New Delhi
Undergraduate Institution: 
University of Lancaster
Graduate Institution: 
UC Santa Cruz
Brad Smith