Rajeev Motwani, Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University, passed away on June 5, 2009. He is survived by his wife, Asha Jadeja, and daughters, Naitri and Anya.
Rajeev was a luminary in many academic disciplines. He made fundamental contributions to the foundations of computer science, search and information retrieval, streaming databases and data mining, and robotics. In these areas, he considered questions as philosophical as what makes problems inherently intractable, and as practical as finding similar images and documents from a database. His text book, Randomized Algorithms, with Prabhakar Raghavan, epitomizes this meeting of the abstract and the concrete, and has been a source of inspiration to countless students. He has received many awards for his research; notably, the del Prize, and the Arthur P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship. Rajeev’s academic legacy extends to teaching and advising a large number of students, many of whom have gone on to successful academic careers.
In addition to his academic accomplishments, Rajeev was a legendary figure in Silicon Valley. He was an early investor and technical advisor for many ventures, and mentored dozens of young entrepreneurs. In the words of one of those young entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin, “Today, whenever you use a piece of technology, there is a good chance a little bit of Rajeev Motwani is behind it.”
Please send an email to ashishg at stanford dot edu if you wish to comment and share your personal experiences about Rajeev’s extraordinary life and legacy.