From Chennai to the US: Anantha P Chandrakasan named dean of MIT's School of Engineering


Anantha P Chandrakasan is now the head of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's largest academic department, the School of Engineering. The Vannevar Bush Professor and head of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) will succeed Ian A Waitz, the Jerome C Hunsaker Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics who will become MIT’s vice chancellor, says MIT's official website.

Source: MIT

Chandrakasan, who joined MIT in 1994, worked on the research of electronic circuits that are energy efficient. His impressive work on building low-power chips for portable computers has contributed to the development of today’s smartphones and other mobile devices. His recent research on IoT has addressed the challenge of powering even more energy-constrained technologies that gave way to sending and receiving data via networked servers while being powered from a tiny energy source.

Hailing from Chennai, Chandrakasan moved to the United States in his teens. His mother was a biochemist and Fulbright scholar. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1989, he joined the University of California, Berkeley for his master's and a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and computer science. He started his career as the director of Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) in 2006 and in 2011, he became the head of EECS. He now lives in Belmont, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children. He said,

My mother really inspired me into an academic career. When I entered graduate school, I knew on day one that I wanted to be an academic professor.

Speaking about this new development, Chandrakasan said,

That’s what excites me about an administrative job. It’s how I can enhance the student and postdoc experience. I want to create exciting opportunities for them, whether that’s in entrepreneurship, research, or maker activities. One of the key things I plan to do as dean is to connect directly with students.

During his six-year tenure as head of MIT’s largest academic department, Chandrakasan headed projects that involved research and opened up a wide array of opportunities for young students. MIT President L Rafael Reif said,

Anantha balances his intellectual creativity and infectious energy with a remarkable ability to deeply listen to, learn from, and integrate other people’s views into a compelling vision. In a time of significant challenges, from new pressures on federal funding to the rising global competition for top engineering talent, I am confident that Anantha will guide the School of Engineering to maintain and enhance its position of leadership. And I believe that in the process he will help make all of MIT stronger, too.

The recipient of several awards, he is the author of the highest number of publications in the 60-year history of the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).

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