The Rajeev Motwani Building
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
Remembering Rajeev Motwani
IIT Kanpur is pleased to announce a donation of $1.5 million by Mrs Asha Jadeja Motwani, wife of Late Professor Rajeev Motwani, and their daughters on the occasion of the 49th birth anniversary of Rajeev on March 24th, 2011. The donation is towards the construction of the Rajeev Motwani Building at IIT Kanpur; the Building will house activities of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and will also house activities for nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in the areas influenced by Rajeev's work. The donation also marks the start of a collaboration between the Rajeev Motwani Foundation and IIT Kanpur to help student and faculty entrepreneurs collaborate on transforming innovative ideas and technologies into successful enterprises.
Rajeev Motwani did his BTech in Computer Science and Engineering in 1983 from IIT Kanpur, after which he went to the University of California, Berkeley for his PhD which he completed in 1988 under the supervision of Professor Richard Karp. Rajeev then joined the faculty of the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University. He passed away on June 5, 2009 at the age of 47.
Rajeev was a brilliant researcher who made fundamental contributions to many areas: randomized algorithms, computational complexity, approximation algorithms, data mining, mathematical modeling of the world-wide web etc. Rajeev was one of the group of five researchers who gave the world the PCP theorem, one of the most stunningly beautiful and deep results of the modern era. It is this contribution for which Rajeev was awarded the prestigious Godel Prize in 2001. He was awarded the IITK Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2006.
Rajeev possessed the rare genius of using the most abstract of theories to solve practical problems impacting society at large. For example, he made use of his expertise in randomized algorithms in building a drug design system for Pfizer. He was also a great evangelist of innovation and entrepreneurship: he was a mentor of a large number of start-ups of the last decade or so in the Silicon Valley, including Google, Mimosa, Weebly, Aster Data. He co-authored the key Google algorithms with his students Sergey Brin and Larry Page and continued mentoring the young company years after it became the 800 pound gorilla of the internet world. Rajeev is a founding stake-holder in the company. Sergey Brin described Rajeev as his "friend and teacher" and said that "... his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it ... If Rajeev had not been there, chances are, there would be no Google today."
The Motwani building will be a six-story building with a floor area of 3,650 square meters and will have a 200 seat classroom, 22 faculty offices and 17 labs. It is designed by architects Messers Kanvinde, Rai and Chowdhury (New Delhi).
The construction project
The project was initiated and construction work started in early May 2011. This section of the site will document the progress in the construction work. The proposed plan of the Rajeev Motwani building can be accessed [here].
Foundation Stone Laying Ceremony
The foundation stone laying ceremony was completed successfully on the 28th of May 2011. The video for the same can be accessed using the links below. All videos are in WMV format. We thank the Media Lab team, IIT Kanpur for producing this video.
Progress in construction work
We will regularly post here snaps of the construction site to document the progress on the project. Please click on the thumbnails to view the images. All images load in a separate popup window to enable uninterrupted browsing - please enable popups for this site.