Rajeev Motwani, the Legendary Stanford Professor

Rajeev Motwani, an IIT K alumni (1983 batch) and known for his investment in Google passed away today in a home accident.

He was well known for his research in Theoretical Computer Science and was a winner of the Godel Prize.

This is a big loss to Silicon Valley and in general, world of technology as Rajeev was an exemplary person who bridged the gap between academics and entrepreneurship.

Sergey Brin, cofounder of Google has following to say:

‘Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a role in my research, education, and professional development. In addition to being a brilliant computer scientist, Rajeev was a very kind and amicable person and his door was always open. No matter what was going on with my life or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and a friendly smile.
When my interest turned to data mining, Rajeev helped to coordinate a regular meeting group on the subject. Even though I was just one of hundreds of graduate students in the department, he always made the time and effort to help. Later, when Larry and I began to work together on the research that would lead to Google, Rajeev was there to support us and guide us through challenges, both technical and organizational.
Eventually, as Google emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor as he has with many people and startups since. Of all the faculty at Stanford, it is with Rajeev that I have stayed the closest and I will miss him dearly. Yet 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.’

Originally from New Delhi, Motwani earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from IIT Kanpur in 1983, and his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1988.

Mathemetician at heart, Rajeev Motwani sat on the boards of Google, Mimosa Systems,Kaboodle and Stanford Student Enterprises etc.

Rajeev Motwanis Tweet

Rajeev Motwani's Only Tweet

Rajeev Motwani on Google

Pre-IPO days:

Meanwhile the World Wide Web was coming around at that time and I just got sucked into that. Sergey Brin and Larry Page were running a search engine out of Stanford. These 21- year-olds would come in and make demands on me – we need more disk space because we are crawling the Web and its getting bigger, we need to buy more disk… I’d give them more money and they’d go buy more disks. At some point these guys said, we want to go do a company. Everybody said you must be out of your minds. There are like 37 search engines out there and what are you guys going to do? And how are you going to raise money, how will you build a company, and these two guys said, we’ll just do it and they went off and did it. And there are some big names who supported the company in its early stages. And then they took over the world. And right now, you know, other search engines do not even compare. It is just amazing. Just feels like a part of a little bit of history and I contributed a little bit to that history. Now I have become a start-up Junkie” – source

Ron Conway Tribute to Rajeev Motwani

Indeed a great loss to Silicon Valley and to the world of technology.
May Rajeev’s soul rests in peace. Our condolences to Rajeev’s family.

Visit Rajeev’s Stanford page | His Twitter Handle