Try to Impact lives of people at large, Dr. Kalam’s words inspire me till date: Dr. Shyam Kadali, Group Leader, Intel Corporation, United States

Dr. Shyam Kadali is a reputed scientist in the field of Nanotechnology with Intel Corporation since last 11 years. A world class researcher and a true team leader, Shyam Kadali is working on semiconductors and emerging technologies. He has been a driving force in his organisation and always aims to bring an impact on the lives of people at large with his innovative ideas and sincere efforts. He is an expert in Colloidal suspensions/assembly, Polymer science, Fluid mechanics, Chemical characterization of materials, Complex fluid rheology, Light scattering, Microscopy, and other emerging technologies areas. He has been designated as Group Leader at Intel Corporation, Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. In his exclusive interaction with our Editor, he reveals more about the Intel, his personal life, current trends in emerging technologies and future of Nanotachnology.

First of all, let me take the opportunity to welcome you. Can you please elaborate more on your area of work for a layman? Nanotechnology is a term which is discussed about a lot these days but getting a clear picture on the scope and future prospects of the same would be quite helpful, especially if we are getting it from an expert like you.

Thank you so much. I am with Intel for more than 10 years as scientist. We are working on nanotechnology. We are working on chip design, transistors and emerging technologies and its advanced applications. Advanced applications are for every sector, be it medical devices, health sector, IT industry, technology related services and different businesses. Demand is growing and the technology is also advancing. So, future is very bright and huge potential is there.

That’s quite informative. So, is the scenario same for a country like India, as we are still considered as developing ones? Is there any other field which has very much the same potential?

There is great potential for countries like India. Indian education system is very strong, and we produce great talent. Talent who can focus on AI/ML and emerging technologies will find enormous opportunities in the emerging technologies areas. Another most evolving area is Data Science. I say that Data has become the Wisdom. If you can understand data, process data scientifically then you can solve many problems in every field of our modern lives. This is a win-win situation for both Consumers and Companies. Consumers know what they want from the products and manufacturers know that what exactly are the requirements of the consumers. As an example, let us take driver-less cars. Based on data, AI based applications enable the exact route for the vehicles and help it to move from point A to point B. This is a great innovation and data is playing an important role everywhere.

As you have also started your journey from India, it would indeed be very inspiring to know about your journey from you.

I always wanted to be an IAS, appear for UPSC. So, I was very passionate about learning different subjects. I used to study a lot and know more about various subjects. I got into Engineering and then I developed a deep interest in science. I started thinking that I should do something which will impact the society at large and bring change in the lives of millions. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar has always been my inspiration and he used to say that “Knowledge is power in every field of life” and with this power we can bring the desired change in the society. I have read a lot about him, and his writings and I always feel that we should follow Babasaheb’s teachings and try our best to impact the society in a very positive way.

After NIT Suratkhal, I got an opportunity of a fellowship with Rice University. USA. This scholarship was about INR 2 crores, and it was a big boost to my research aspirations. I was able to work with very famous scientists and learnt a lot. After that I got into Intel as scientist. That was a great turning point for me.

Intel : the leader in semiconductors industry

What an incredible journey it is! Exactly how did intel help you in achieving your goals?

I always wanted to work on something which can impact millions of lives and bring a positive change in the society. Through technology, I can do that, and Intel is exactly doing the same. Intel works on newer technologies and every two years we move on to the latest technologies. We work on Transistors with newer technology. Intel constantly modifies its transistors and brings change in the entire emerging technology domain. That’s incredible and we are the first company doing this so successfully!

We start from scratch with silicon and then design chips and develop semiconductors with new technology applications. I really feel excited about this and till now I have five patents and several research papers in my name. My journey with Intel has been wonderful and a great learning experience.

Where there is will, there is a way! But such great journeys are never completed without hurdles and the environment is highly competitive. It would be really inspiring if you share something on that level with our readers.

Intel has been one of the forefront innovative companies but yes, during past few years, Intel was having a tough challenge in the field of developing transistors and semiconductors with new advanced applications. But Intel has a roadmap and very soon, we are again going to take the Leadership role in this domain. Intel is Intel. No match with others!

Being a part of such an organisation is rewarding indeed. Going back to your university days, please share something which still stays with you.

I always wanted to do something big and impact others’ lives. I got an opportunity to meet great Dr. APJ Kalam, Honourable Dalai Lama and few more legends while I was at Rice University. I have interacted with them. I got inspired so much that now whatever I do, I question myself if this act of mine is going to impact others’ lives in a positive way? Am I going to bring any change in people’s lives?

My interaction with Dr. Kalam was motivating. He told me that always look at the bigger picture and don’t think only of your village or country. Do something which will impact the people across globe. He has been my driving force. How Can I make an impact at large? (This is a question which always keeps the fire burning.)

Late President Dr. APJ Kalam visited Rice University and interacted with scientists on various topics.

Tell us something more about Dr. APJ Kalam and his contribution in the development of the Research in Science and Technology?

Dr. Kalam was the man who put India on the global science in the field of defense. India used to spend lot of money on imports. Be it ISRO or DRDO, Dr. Kalam always focussed on developing our own technology and systems. He used to say that you cannot become global power if you are dependent on other countries. He strongly believed that India should be the role model for others and other countries should look up to India for its technological achievements and contributions. Today in space technology or defense, whatever we have achieved is purely a contribution of Dr. Kalam and his team of great scientists. As a scientist, his missile programs, ISRO and DRDO are the examples of his vision. He has Changed the perception of India globally. Take the example of Pokhran Nuclear tests. He was the man behind the entire effort and convinced late Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji. The success story of Pokhran is the success story of Modern India. The whole world recognised that India has the knowledge, power, and talent to be a superpower.

Countries like India can do much better in the field of semiconductors: Dr. Shyam Kadali

What’s your take on brain-drain from India?

I am from semiconductors domain and let me say that R & D facilities are not conducive in India yet. There are many challenges. Young talent is leaving country in search of better opportunities and learning new technology. Look at the CEOs of global giants and most of them are of Indian origin. So, it’s clear that India has the required talent, but we are not able to provide them the best of facilities or opportunities in R& D. I always admire the vision of our First Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru who built IITs and other premier Institutes and believed that Indians can be the best engineers, doctors and managers around the world. So, we need such visionary leaders and actual work on the ground. Also, premier institutions need a lot of new ideas and support. Leadership should have the vision to see the country 20 or 30 years from now!

Taiwan is a good example.  GDP of Taiwan comes mostly from semiconductors and newer technology related industry. They have a program for young talent where they go abroad, learn, do Ph.Ds, and then return to their country to serve the country. They are given incentives and all R&D facilities are world class. India needs to start such programs and nurture it’s great talent pool.

In semiconductors domain, India is the world’s second largest importer of semiconductors after crude oil. Look at the balance of payments, balance of trade. We lose money to buy oil. Money goes out of the country. In semiconductors, why to Import? Establish the manufacturing and assembling units in India to produce semiconductors. Current government has taken a few steps in this regard recently but a lot of new initiatives are required. This will help to generate lot of jobs, economic wealth, and opportunities. This can create half a million jobs in India instantly! India can capture huge potential in this sector.

Word of advice from you to the youth?

I always say to be focussed and try to think about the impact you are going to bring with your contribution in the field of technology. Look at the bigger picture. Once you have that motivation, you can do wonders.

As we learn, success is not fixed in a frame. Each one has his/her own definition, and a jolt of failure is hard to handle by many. So, what is success for you and how to tackle failures?

Success for me reminds me of the Shri Bhagwat Gita,’

कर्मण्ये वाधिका रस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।
मा कर्म फल हेतु र्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्व कर्मणि॥

Karmanye vadhika raste, Ma phaleshu kadachana
Ma karma phala he tur bhuh, ma te sangotsva karmanye

Keep doing your good work, results are going to come. Think about the impact you are trying to make. Never make money your goal. Wealth will follow once you achieve your goals. Focus on the new technology, new things, innovations and how you can bring positive change in the lives of millions. Yes, we should be sincere in our efforts and our work should be up to the mark. We should try to be the role model in our field.

When it comes to failures, I always tell my team that there is lot to learn from failures. Make a complete story of failures. Document what went wrong, document your learnings. Your efforts should not go to waste. We can learn from our mistakes, but wise men learn from others’ mistakes. It makes sense.

No failure is a bad failure or permanent. We have published papers on our failures explaining the steps which should not bring the desired results! Let’s think of pandemic situation. We need to be proactive rather than reactive. So many new frontiers are there, and opportunities are huge. We should focus on how we can solve the issues related with covid with the help of technology and science. This way, we should be ready for the future. I strongly believe that if we are focussed and sincere in efforts, nothing is impossible.

Focus is now on Emerging Technologies

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