lokeshCM Lokesh is a PhD student in the Department, and has been awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF). He is jointly advised by Dr. Anil Prabhakar and Dr. Basudev Roy (PH) under an interdisciplinary program. Here are excerpts of a brief interaction with Lokesh.

Tell us a bit about yourself — academic background, family background, etc.

I have done my BTech in Engineering physics at IIT Guwahati and worked with Cognizant machine learning research team for one year. I have joined IIT Madras in July, 2018 as a direct PhD student. My father C. Srinivasa Murthy currently works as a Technical officer at Nehru Science centre, Mumbai, my mother C. Thulasi is house wife and my sister C. Harika pursuing her M.com at SV University, Tirupati.

What are your thoughts on winning the prestigious PMRF? What do you think you did right to receive this award?

I am really happy to receive  this award, I feel this as an opportunity to get better motivation and will try to make the best use of it. This award also adds more confidence for us and raised the bar to grow higher in our research. I should say my guides and Dr. Praveen Bhallamudi, my mentor, have a major role in achieving this award, they have guided me well. Figuring out a good problem at early stage of my PhD gave us time to understand and try out few things which I think is the right thing we did.

Tell us a bit about your academic experience so far as a research scholar at IITM. Can you elaborate on the research environment, peer group, and other relevant aspects?
I am very delighted to be a part of IIT Madras, I have completed around 9 courses in 2 years, all the professors here put their heart and soul to give us a better learning experience which made me work a bit more watching such people. I met my real life inspiration Dr. V. Balakrishnan sir, I cleared the gate exam following his nptel lectures, having such legends around made me feel blessed. My peers and seniors were also extremely supportive in many ways, starting from the course work to discussing experiments.

What aspects of Ph.D.student life do you particularly like?

I enjoyed my course work the most as I had a chance to learn from the best at business. I also admire colloquiums and conferences that keep us updated regarding the current research.

What would you tell your friends and juniors who are considering doing a Ph.D.?

I will definitely encourage them to do so, having said that I will also suggest them to have an answer to a question which my guide asked me before joining with him and the question is simple “why PhD ?”

Any other comments, anecdotes?

As I have mentioned earlier talking to Dr. V. Balakrishnan sir and listening to his class is still a magical moment in my life nothing felt better than that moment even this award seems small compared to the time I get to talk to him.