Interview with Animesh Garg

It takes patience, perseverance and the spark to innovate and inspire, which has made Animesh Garg go a long way in his field. He is a testimony to NSITians, that the walls of our college shouldn’t bind our dreams and aspirations.

Animesh Garg after graduating from NSIT in 2010 went to Georgia Institute of Technology for his Masters in Industrial Engineering. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD from University of California, Berkeley.

Q1. What are the areas one can pursue graduate studies in, after graduating with a major in Manufacturing, Automation and Control from NSIT? Which colleges in the US and Europe offer such courses?

A. The main areas where one can pursue graduate studies in could be:  Mechanical Engineering (automobile, manufacturing, design, sustainability);  Materials (We have some background in materials but we can pick a lot up); Robotics (This is a very interdisciplinary field:  Mechanical engineering students usually work in hardware design controls systems, bio-inspired robotics, medical robotics); MEMS /NEMS /Nanotechnology,which is an interdisciplinary between Material Sciences, Mechanical Engineering and Elecrtical Engineering;  Industrial Engineering /Operations Research/ CS,which are a departure from MPAE background, but are nonetheless interesting.

Q2. What are your future goals in terms of the problems that you are trying to solve in the fields of Robotics and Automation?

A. I am studying Operations Research with a minor in CS. I am working on Algorithms for optimization in cancer treatment delivery and also in Robot Learning. My current focus is on the delivery of radiation to tumors in cancer patients by use of algorithmically designed implant devices which can be 3D Printed. In the near term, we hope to implement our methods in clinics across California and US at large. We are also looking at commercialization opportunities.
On the robotics front, our algorithms solutions are still in the infancy stage. They would be refined and lab tested on a number of robotic hardware platforms in the next 2 years.

Q3. Please throw some light on upcoming research areas that undergraduate students can explore, and try to work on as research projects under the guidance of professors in NSIT.

A. Undergraduate Research projects could be in either of the fields listed in my first answer. Some other good examples could include: Mechanism Designs (Linkage design, Simulation and analysis); Control Systems Study and implementation; Material and Polymer Design Projects; Optimization and applied math in applications like: supply chain, robotics, computer vision, graphics AI etc.

Q4. What are the various opportunities available in the industry as well as academia after completing a doctorate in the fields of your interest? Also tell us about the future prospects (growth, life style, remuneration) in those fields ?

A.  After completing PhD, various opportunities are available, more so in the industry than in academia (in US). Major companies look to hire PhDs as research scientists, Senior Software Engineers, Designers, and in other decision making roles. Usually the responsibilities are greater and the groups in which they work exclusively comprise PhDs. But at time, one might be working with other experienced professionals who have domain knowledge by virtue of experience rather than a doctorate.
Working in academic positions is hard in US. Most PhDs aspiring to stay in academia take up Post-Doc positions usually for 1-3 years.  The work in academic positions consists of more open ended research and allows frequent publication. However finding a good academic position in India at one of the top institutes is relatively easier.

Compensation varies across industries with PhD level positions ending up at the level of engineers with 4-6 yrs of experience. But the difference is usually in the job description and the team one works in. More often than not, research groups only hire engineers with advanced degrees. Lifestyle in this industry is usually relaxed and work hours are adjustable. Compensation in academia is a touch less, and the work hours usually demand more dedication. However, this is made up for, by the freedom on the problems you work on, opportunity to work with great colleagues and students, and opportunity to teach.

Q5. What are the research opportunities, both domestic and foreign, which an ICE/ MPAE undergraduate student can look out for?

A. ICE and MPAE students should try to start working with short term, and simulation based projects first. Such endeavors have a high chance of success with little requirements in terms of resources. There are many research oriented internship opportunities in foreign universities such as  USC Viterbi school, TTI Chicago, European schools,etc. There are many in India too, like IISc, JNCSAR, IISc, TIFR, IITs,etc. I do not have the particular pointers but there are other resources online which will help aggregate such opportunities.

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