Please tell us about yourself
Laxmi Narasima (Vinay) Gattu was born and raised in Hyderabad, a cosmopolitan city in the southern part of India. He received a master’s in electrical & computer engineering from Rice University, Texas, and bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad. He worked at Qualcomm in India for one year on the modem team and is currently working as a design engineer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Hyderabad, where he performs verification of digital designs. Reading books and watching Japanese anime are his favorite pastimes.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
Digital signal processing (DSP) had been my favorite subject since my bachelor’s education. Working on designing filters, solving arcane mathematical equations associated with that, and implementing them on FPGA boards always gave me euphoric pleasure. This passion coupled with my professor’s guidance led me to my interest in pursuing higher education. While in my senior year, I jotted down top universities across the globe in the field of DSP for master’s education and Rice University was among them. I applied for a master’s degree at Rice owing to its outstanding research program. I was on cloud nine the day when I received the admit email in the Professional Master’s program in Electrical Engineering (M.E.E.) from Rice.
How was the experience at Rice University?
Rice University is a very research-rich environment and the M.E.E. program has an interesting curriculum. Researchers in the DSP group work in various fields like image and video processing, computational sensing and photography, and deep learning. Apart from taking various courses in DSP, I was exposed to digital hardware design, computer architecture, computer networks, design and analysis of algorithms and so on. Every course had weekly assignments and regular tests, which mainly focused on strengthening our understanding of theoretical concepts, and a mini-project at the end to gain practical knowledge. I worked on awesome projects like digital gym, secure DNA sequence pattern matching, gesture recognition using BeagleBone Black, and so on. On the extracurricular front, there were weekly IEEE and other tech talks which provide insight into the industry. Besides the regular coursework and projects, I gained friends from different countries and was exposed to various cultures. My master’s education phase is one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
What was your career path?
Post-Rice I returned back to India. When my resume went open in the market, I was hit by a deluge of interview calls from different multinational companies. The impact of having a master’s degree from Rice is very high. I joined Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) in Hyderabad and I’m currently working there as a design engineer. The technical expertise and the soft skills, which I gained at Rice, are the key factors allowing me to shine in my present job.