Shockingly sad! Computer Science Professor, Rajeev Motwani, 47, one of the key players behind the creation of “Google” was found dead in his swimming pool in California on Friday. Rajeev Motwani had mentored Google founders – Larry Page and Sergey Brin, during their PhD at Stanford University.
Cause of death?
The cause of death still appears to be unclear. Motwani could not swim, so there is a possibility that he slipped into the pool and drowned.
Sergey Brin (celebrating Motwani’s life) writes in his blog:
“Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a role in my research, education, and professional development. In addition to being a brilliant computer scientist, Rajeev was a very kind and amicable person and his door was always open. No matter what was going on with my life or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and a friendly smile.”
“Eventually, as Google emerged from Stanford, Rajeev remained a friend and advisor as he has with many people and startups since. Of all the faculty at Stanford, it is with Rajeev that I have stayed the closest and I will miss him dearly. Yet his legacy and personality lives on in the students, projects, and companies he has touched. Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it.”
More about Rajeev Motwani
Motwani grew up in New Delhi and was born in Jammu, India. He had moved to the US for his doctorate in computer science from the University of California, Berkeley after his B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT, Kanpur.
He also co-authored another seminal search paper “What Can You Do With A Web In Your Pocket”.
He was also an author of two widely-used theoretical computer science textbooks, Randomized Algorithms and Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation.
Prior to his involvement with Google, Motwani founded the Mining Data at Stanford project (MIDAS), an umbrella organization for several groups looking into new and innovative data management concepts. His research included data privacy, web search, robotics, and computational drug design.
He was an avid angel investor and had funded a number of successful startups to emerge from Stanford. He sat on the boards of Google, Kaboodle, Mimosa Systems, Adchemy, Baynote, Vuclip, NeoPath Networks (acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007), Tapulous and Stanford Student Enterprises among others. He was also active in the Business Association of Stanford Entrepeneurial Students (BASES).
He was a winner of the Gödel Prize in 2001 for his work on the PCP theorem and its applications to hardness of approximation.
He served on the editorial boards of SIAM Journal on Computing, Journal of Computer and System Sciences, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, and IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering.
He leaves behind his wife, Asha Jadeja, and two daughters.
May his soul rest in peace.