SKA aka. Dr. Sanjeev K Aggarwal. I think our batch (Y8) at IIT Kanpur was unfortunate in that we could not learn the Compilers course from Dr. Aggarwal. But some of us were fortunate enough to work with him at a later time. For me, it was the ‘Introduction to Software Engineering’ course. It was one of the most pragmatic courses I ever undertook at IIT. Dr. Aggarwal brought a balanced perspective from the points of view of both academia and industry.
His anecdotes from his experience are still etched in my memory like it was yesterday. Dr. Aggarwal and his team were building a piece of software for a firm. After repeated submissions, their work was being rejected as being unstable and buggy as the client’s systems crashed frequently while running the software. Upon inspecting how the software was being used, the client apparently was running it after modifying to have all the variables defined as global. With limited memory of that time, back in 1991 I guess, it was bound to crash. There were tons of examples he used to share with us and taught by example.
I also remember being ripped apart in my initial presentations on the ‘software’ that our team was building. But it was during this time that I learnt the most regarding how to build a product. I think it was during then, to appease him in a way, that I used to go to his office and have frequent discussions about how to build products, that I learnt the most.
I will be ever grateful for his useful inputs in and outside the class which have helped me become a successful product guy. We have lost a great teacher, mentor and most of all a great human being by his death. I think I speak for the majority of the student community that we will miss you sorely and hope that you rest in peace.