Logo: University of Southern California

Infosys COO Visits Viterbi School

Meets with research teams and the dean, addresses board of councilors, faculty, students
Eric Mankin
December 08, 2008 —

S.D. Shibulal, co-founder and chief operating officer of Infosys Technologies, Ltd., spent a full day in November on the University Park Campus of USC, both listening and talking.

Dean and COO: Viterbi School's Yannis C. Yortsos, left, and Infosys Technologies' S. D. Shibulal.
He listened carefully in an hour-long meeting with two research teams who are are carrying out the first research projects funded by his company as part of its USC-based Center for Advanced Software Technology. He spoke to a gathering of the Viterbi School Board of Councilors, and to students, and to Dean Yannis C. Yortsos.

And he had words of  praise for both the engineering and the human outreach he found on his visit to USC.

Shibulal, as the dean told the Viterbi Board, was at the table when his company was founded in Bangalore, India, with a total capitalization of $250. The company is a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar international enterprise which last year concluded an agreement to set up its first-ever research facility outside India at USC.

In an interview, Shibulal said that the persistence of senior Viterbi administrators, who had visited Bangalore twice to meet with company executives, had been a key factor in making the deal. "It created a very positive impression that they were there on the scene."

Another very positive impression was created by the Viterbi School researchers who are carrying out the first two CAST projects.  One effort is coming from the School's Information Sciences Institute (ISI), where a team led by Ted Faber and Jelena Mirkovic are creating an isolated est network that can be used, flexibly and securely, for software experimentation.

The system is based in many ways on the DETER facility at ISI, set up with National Science Foundation funding to function as an isolated mini-Internet to safely test defenses against malware. The new CAST CoDesign facility is aimed at a different goal —‚ 

Researchers and research funder.  From left, back row:  Preeti Pincha (Infosys Academic Relations), Viktor Prasanna (USC-CAST), S. D. Shibulal, Arun Viswanathan (ISI), Daniel Popescu (USC), Jelena Mirkovic (ISI), Ted Faber (ISI), Nenad Medvidovic (USC) Daniel Woolard (USC). Front row: Amol Bakshi (USC-CAST), Angus McColl (USC Administration), George Edwards (USC), Jerry Lin (USC)
creating an environment where Infosys and other computer scientists located all over India and the world can collaborate on new projects and products. Some 20,000 computer nodes will be part of the system, which can be allocated and reallocated as needs change.

Another collaborative CAST project taking place is led from the Viterbi side by professor of computer science Nenad Medvidovic, who is working to orchestrate software writing using the PRISM "Style-Aware Architectural Middleware for Resource Constrained, Distributed Systems" he co-created in 2005. The aim is to help large teams creating new applications to remain consistent in both means and ends.

At the research presentations, Shibulai sat with CAST co-director Viktor Prasanna of the Viterbi School. He listened intently and asked questions consistently, subsequently saying he was pleased with the expertise he discovered.

At his lunchtime speech to the Viterbi Board of Councilors, Shibulal predicted that the new 21st pattern of outsourcing services, in addition to products, would continue to gather momentum. He saw expanding opportunities for serving customers by bundling products and services together. He also noted that Infosys' supply of services was expanding beyond the developed economies of the U.S. and Europe to serve emerging economies like Mexico.

And he expressed pleasure in the growing ties between both India and the U.S. and Infosys and USC. The U.S. and India, he said, are the two largest democracies int he world, sharing traditions of personal liberty. The growing Indian-American community living in the U.S. is increasingly going back and forth between the two countries as opportunities develop. And highly qualified graduates of institutions like the Viterbi School continue to be a crucial bridge.