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Indians win Global Indus Technovators award
Seema Hakhu Kachru in Houston
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January 21, 2006 14:51 IST
Ten young innovators and entrepreneurs of South Asian origin have been honoured with 2005 Global Indus Technovators Awards by the Indian Business Club at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

This year's outstanding winners, a diverse mix of academic researchers, business executives and social entrepreneurs, have been chosen in four broad categories : biotechnology/medicine/healthcare; materials and devices, information technology and grassroots technology.

The awardees in the area of information technology are Pravin Bhagwat (founder and CTO, AirTight Networks) and Rizwan Virk, (Co-founder and CTO, CambridgeDocs).

Pravin, based in Pune and recognised as a wireless networking pioneer, conceived and built first-of-a-kind outdoor Wi-Fi network connecting two cities and several villages in North India.

Through his work he proved that a low cost solution to rural connectivity problem is possible. This network, currently operational, enables residents of a remote north Indian village to make affordable voice calls everyday.

Rizwan, a Pakistani American technology visionary, based in Boston, through his company provides a Java based, cross-platform technology for repurposing existing unstructured and semi-structured content and readying it for multi-channel publishing.

Once transformed, the content can be made available for delivery through XML-based Web Services.

In biotechnology/medicine/healthcare, the award was shared by Ravi Bellamkonda (Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology), Nimmi Ramanujam (Associate Professor Pratt School of Engineering, Duke University) and Krishnendu Roy (Assistant Professor at University of Texas, Austin).

Their laboratories work towards developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies to combat life-threatening human ailments such as cervical and breast cancer, peanut allergy and scars.

Amit Goyal (distinguished scientist, Oak Ridge National Laboratories) and Yagyensh Pati (Co-founder and CEO, Numerical Technologies, Inc.) bagged the honors in the category of Materials and Devices.

Seminal leaders in the area of advanced materials and semiconductors respectively, they have made path-breaking contributions in high performance super conducting wires and the manufacture of semiconductor devices.

The two winners in the area of Grassroots Technology are Balaji Sampath (India) and Association for India's Development (AID) Chennai; and Vikram Sheel Kumar and Vishwanath Anantraman (co-founders, Dimagi, Inc.).

Sampath and AID Chennai have made important and noteworthy contributions in devising sustainable models for healthcare, computer education, and information centers in Indian rural areas.

One of its project Arogya Iyakkama was recently adjudged one of the ten best projects in the world by UNICEF.

Vikram and Anantraman, through their firm Dimagi, design intelligent data systems to immediately address real world global health issues such as HIV/AIDS, maternal & child health and diabetes. Vikram has earlier been honored with "Ten outstanding Young Americans Award" and was recently named Global Indian of the Year for 2005 by Times of India.

"The Global Technovators Award is particularly thrilling, as a group of smart software engineers and physicians who like to be challenged. Dimagi is committed to continue to make its mark through 'technovative' data solutions to real world health problems," Vikram told PTI
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