About the Authors
Mrinal Kumar
Mrinal Kumar
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
mrinalkumar08[ta]gmail[td]com
https://mrinalkr.bitbucket.io/
Mrinal Kumar received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in May 2017 from Rutgers University where he was advised by Swastik Kopparty and Shubhangi Saraf. His research interests are in Arithmetic and Boolean circuit complexity and Error Correcting Codes. Mrinal spent his undergrad years at IIT Madras and owes his interest in Complexity Theory to a delightful class on the topic taught by Jayalal Sarma. Apart from theory, he finds great joy in test cricket and in the adventures of Calvin & Hobbes.
Shubhangi Saraf
Shubhangi Saraf
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ
shubhangi[td]saraf[ta]gmail[td]com
sites.math.rutgers.edu/~ss1984/
Shubhangi Saraf grew up in Pune, India. She received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2011 under the guidance of Madhu Sudan. Shubhangi is broadly interested in complexity theory, coding theory and pseudorandomness. Recently she has been captivated by questions related to understanding the power and limitations of algebraic computation, as well as to understanding the potential of “locality” in algorithms for codes.

Shubhangi discovered her love for mathematics in her high school years at the Bhaskaracharya Pratishthana, an educational and research institute in mathematics in Pune, under the guidance and mentoring of her teacher Mr. Prakash Mulabagal. Mr. Prakash ran an amazing program aimed at getting high school students from across Pune introduced to the joy of math and the sciences beyond what any school curriculum in Pune could possibly attempt to do. Shubhangi owes a great deal of her enthusiasm for math problem solving to Mr. Prakash, and also to being able, through the Bhaskaracharya Pratishthana program, to make close friends in Pune who were into the same thing.

Thanks to this nurturing environment, Shubhangi got involved in math competitions and represented India twice at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), once winning a bronze medal (2002) and once a silver (2003).

She went on to do her undergraduate studies in Mathematics at MIT, graduating in 2007. She did not really know that she wanted to stay on in academia until her junior year when she spent a year abroad as a \emph{mathmo} at Cambridge University in the UK where she took fantastic courses by Tim Gowers and Imre Leader. Once back at MIT, in summer 2006, she did a research project with Igor Pak at MIT, which gave her a lot of confidence and encouragement. She was also fortunate to take some more great courses at MIT; “Randomized algorithms” by David Karger and “Complexity theory” by Madhu Sudan were particularly influential. The support and encouragement from her MIT mentors eventually got her on the path to theoretical computer science.

In her spare time Shubhangi enjoys reading, cooking, long walks, and exploring cafés and restaurants. Her little toddler is a constant source of joy and amazement, and she also makes sure there is not much time to spare.