My name is Himanshu, a final year student at IIIT-Hyderabad. I am honoured to have the opportunity to write this blog. PK has been more than a mentor to me. He shares a very healthy relationship with all his students. I got to know PK in the starting of my 3rd year when he visited IIIT-H during his sabbatical. As the semester began, I learnt about the new sabbatical faculty from some of my friends who took courses and projects with PK. The projects offered by PK were based on real-time challenges with a quite unique and interesting approach. He took over the students with a storm and I also got inspired by this new momentum that PK brought to the campus. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity of working with PK and his team. I started following his work and continuously bugged my friends (who were working with PK) to get the opportunity of working with PK. During the 6th semester, PK introduced a new course Big Data and Policing (BDP) at the institute. I chose it as one of the electives as the course sounded very interesting and was a great opportunity to interact and work with PK. I remember the first BDP class even today, it was extremely engaging and interactive. I have never felt such a connection with the lecturer in any class before. Finally, by the beginning of March 2019, I got the opportunity to work on the #Election2019 project with PK.
I really liked PK’s ideas on strong and weak ties. While attending BDP classes PK used to organize many guest lectures where he invited IPS officers, lawyers, etc. for better understanding the prospects and real-time challenges. I rarely got such guest lectures in any other courses. Another aspect of Precog is to get consistent work updates on WhatsUp(WU). The interaction with other professors has been very formal, so, PK provides a very open and comfortable environment to work. WU is really interactive and other Precog members can guide you in case of any doubts/difficulties. Through WU, all members remain updated about the ongoing work. When PK was on campus, he urged each one of us to come to the lab and work. Previously I used to think that why does it matter? But later as we followed this, I felt the productivity was higher when all of us were working in the same place. The work environment motivates and increases the potential.
One of the best experience I had with PK was during Lok Sabha Elections 2019. The team used to start collecting data and do analysis from 6 am in the morning and went till 8 pm in the evening on the different election days. All of us in the LTRC conference room (control room :P) were full of energy all day long because of PK who was working with us side by side and we shared live updates about each activity. There are very few (if any) profs who would enjoy working with their group. The feeling of connectedness starts from these talks where all were sharing their opinions sitting at the same place. At the end of the spring 2019 semester, PK even invited all the Precog students at IIIT-H for a dinner (still remember that sabuddana khichdi was amazing :D) which was a really different experience for me as well as others. It was the first time any faculty has invited me for dinner and that too at their house, really made me feel special and a valued part of the Precog family. There were several other interesting experiences I had with PK, one of the most recent is virtual lunch followed by a small intro session with all the Precog members during the lockdown.
Solving real-time challenges and doing quality research is an important aspect of our group.
Once you enter Precog, you become a family member, where each and everyone gets equal respect and opportunities to grow. Here, everyone’s point of view matters and are awarded constructive feedback.
Thank you PK for the phenomenal experience.