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Bringing Data to Life: Q&A with Raj Raman

In this recurring Q&A series, Sasaki staff share what inspires them, what they are working on, and a bit about life outside the office. Today, say hello to Raj Adi Raman, software developer in our Campus Studio!

Q: Why do you do what you do?

Isn’t it one of the most exciting things in the world talking to a computer? Well, in a way that’s what I do almost every day. When I work, I always have a companion that’s nothing but the computer. We talk to each other through what is called a “programming language.”

Q: What are you working on now?

Currently I am working on a MyCampus tool for Milton Academy and University of Minnesota Rochester, a browser based 3D visualization tool for analyzing geo-referenced data using WebGL, and I’m working on building a collaboration survey tool for George Mason University.

Q: In which research topics or concepts are you most interested?

Exploring data (sometimes big data) and visualizing them is one of my areas of interest. Nowadays there is so much data out in the world, it’s the question of how do we make it meaningful and how well you present it to people so everyone can understand.

Q: Hideo Sasaki once said, “Contribution is the only value.” What do you contribute?

It’s a great feeling when I’m involved in building a tool or software which basically helps people to solve their problems. Whether it’s useful in the process of creating a master plan or to help in post-occupancy analysis, I feel satisfied at the end of the day knowing that I have contributed at least a little in shaping a better future.

Q: Where is your favorite place in the world?

It’s always difficult to pick just one, but if I had to pick a favorite it would be a place called Munnar, Kerala in India. Kerala is my neighboring state in the southern part of India. It has the honor of being called one of the “God’s Own Country” sites.

In short, I would describe Munnar as “nature at its best.” It has a lot of tea and coffee estates. I had the best chai there. Backwaters, water falls, wild animals—especially elephants—are also present. I traveled there during my trip home in December 2012. I went there along with my mom, dad, and brother. It was one of the best trips I’ve had. Munnar is bliss!

Q: Whom do you admire?

I have always admired people who have tasted success with hard work and perseverance. I also admire people whom I can easily relate to. I admire my parents a lot. They had a great deal of patience and perseverance in bringing me up. Without them I don’t think I would be where I am today.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I do photography sometimes. I love capturing the moment more than anything else. But even after my one and a half years of photography, I am still trying to learn. Here are a few photos I took recently:

Q: What’s on your iPod?

I never owned an iPod. Before you jump to conclusions, I should admit I like Steve Jobs! 🙂 Nowadays I seldom use my mp3 player. I have completely shifted to online music streaming.

Pop music has always been my go-to soundtrack. Imagine Dragons tops my list currently, and Adele is one of my all-time favorites. My other half is listening to Indian music. My cloud storage of music is filled with almost all of the compositions of maestro Ilayaraja & A. R. Rahman.

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