Ep26 Shyam Gollakota
In this episode of ACM ByteCast, Rashmi Mohan hosts 2020 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award recipient Shyam Gollakota. He is a Torode Professor and leads the Networks and Mobile Systems Lab at the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Shyam is the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including a SIGMOBILE Rockstar award, 2021 Moore Inventor Fellowship, MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35, Popular Science ‘brilliant 10,’ and the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list (twice). His group’s research has earned Best Paper awards at many top conferences, appeared in interdisciplinary journals like Nature, Nature Communications, Science Translational Medicine, and Science Robotics, and was named as an MIT Technology Review Breakthrough Technology of 2016 as well as Popular Science top innovations in 2015. Shyam's research covers a variety of topics, including mobile machine learning, networking, human-computer interaction, battery-free computing, and mobile health. He works across multiple disciplines including computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, biology, and medicine. His work has been licensed by ResMed Inc, led to three startups (Jeeva Wireless, Sound Life Sciences, and Wavely Diagnostics), and is in use by millions of users.
Shyam, who didn’t know how to type on a keyboard until the age of 16, relates how he got into CS and discovered that more than just programming, it's also a toolkit people can use to build systems like an artist and solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. He describes his work around the ambient backscatter, which uses existing radio frequency signals to power devices, and wind dispersal powered devices (and how the common dandelion provided inspiration for this research). Shyam and Rashmi also talk about his work on devices used for sleep apnea and tracking and the broader promise of ubiquitous computing in healthcare, such as democratizing medical attention to areas that don’t have the same resources as the Western world. Finally, Shyam gives some insights into the entrepreneurial journey and looks toward the future of healthcare technology.