Vineeth works for Microsoft – the company that makes Windows and Xbox. He did his college from PSG Tech, Coimbatore. After his graduation, he worked in some of the top companies like MuSigma, Disney, MuSigma and Amazon. Currently, he is the Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, Washington

He specifically works in the Bing team which is a search engine. His specialisation is in analytics – the science of using maths to solve business problems. He was always interested in mathematics and its applications from his childhood, so he felt this was a natural fit for him.


This AMA session took place on July 16, 2017 at Kids Ask Tech telegram group.

Discussion

34 Comments
    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      Haha! For the most part, yes. I do sit in front of a computer.

      Like the intro mentioned, I work on a team that runs analytics for Bing โ€“ a search engine. Analytics is the science of solving tech/business problems using mathematics.

      Someone I know and respect said โ€œanalysts are like detectives who try to use numbers to solve tough problemsโ€

      On a day to day basis, I look at a lot of charts, run some programs in tools named R, SQL and Excel to understand how the Bing business is doing. Then setup meetings with the right folks to take action.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      Books: highly recommend What If? A book filled with interesting scenarios and answers to them. Written by the author behind the famous XKCD comics. Very informative and fun.

        • Vineeth Loganathan
          Vineeth Loganathan

          Yes. I have things explainer on my list of books too. I’ve heard great things about it.

  • Mango Education

    A lot of kids tend to fear Mathematics. Looking at your job role and childhood stories, you seem to just love Mathematics. What made you love it? How you got better at it?

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      I know this will sound cliche. But like everything else in life, it’s all about practicing. I used to solve a lot of math puzzles. My father gifted me a book titled “100 math puzzles” by Shakuntala Devi. I loved solving the puzzles as a fun exercise.

      As I grew up, I also spent a lot of time trying to solve mathematical problems that are outside the textbook.

      Having an interest is great, but to become good at it, you have to actively feed that interest through practice. The more you practise, the more you learn. Also, don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Mistakes are great learning opportunities. I would ask the parents here to encourage experimentation and remove the fear of failure in kids. A failed experiment is still a lesson learned.

      • Mango Education

        Couldn’t agree more. Most of the kids get intimidated by doing mistakes in Mathematics. But it is great to hear that making mistakes and learning from them makes a whole lot of difference.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      I love sports. Sports were an integral part of growing up for me, as both Arumugham and Obuli can vouch. In addition to helping you keep physically fit (which at my age becomes very important, haha), sports teach you the importance of keeping a calm, level headed approach to both wins and losses.

      Team sports are a great way to learn to work within a team and putting the needs of a team before your own needs. In the corporate world, it is very important to be a team player. You need to be able to help each other out in times of need and support each other. Collaborative efforts are always better than individual efforts.

      When we are facing tough problems, having multiple brains attacking the problem at the same time is much better than trying to wrangle your head around it on your own. Team members will bring fresh perspectives and ways of looking at things that are different from your own.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      I strongly believe that to be a well rounded individual, you need to focus on academics, sports, and extra curriculars.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      The current hot topic in tech is Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). I build a lot of Machine Learning algorithms for Bing. This link http://www.huffingtonpost.com/quora/machine-learning-simply-e_b_12589446.html does a very good job of explaining what Machine Learning is.

      In Machine Learning, there are two algorithms that I really like:

      1. Random Forest
      2. Neural Networks

      Here is a cool write up on Neural Networks: http://www.explainthatstuff.com/introduction-to-neural-networks.html

      • Mango Education

        Pretty hot topics, indeed! We have come a long way! Vineeth, if you often work with the Cortana team at Microsoft. Say hi to them on behalf of us! They’re really doing a great job!

        • Vineeth Loganathan
          Vineeth Loganathan

          Yes, Karthikeyan. I work very closely with the Cortana team. In fact one of my most recent and successful projects was around Cortana.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      Largely, there are two types: Supervised Learning and Unsupervised Learning. A lot of my work involves supervised learning where we feed the algorithm known inputs and outputs and let it predict the output for unknown inputs. However, in unsupervised learning, you basically feed an algorithm large amounts of data and the algorithm will start identifying patterns in the data by itself. A great example is a recent work done by Dr. Andrew Ng (a pioneer in the field of Machine learning) with Google. Where they fed their neural net, millions of youtube videos and at the end the algorithm was able to identify a cat without anyone having taught the algorithm what a cat looks like! In that regard it is very much like a child learning.

  • Mango Education

    Talking about Algorithms again: Puzzle solving and real world Problem solving – Are there any relation? Also, are you using any Algorithms to solve real world problems?

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      Yes. There is a lot of overlap between puzzle solving and real world problem solving. Whether it’s a puzzle or a real world problem. You have to do the following:

      1. Defining the problem
      2. Gathering information
      3. Solving the problem
      4. Implementing and testing the problem solution

      As you solve more puzzles, you will get really good at all 4 steps. Which will directly translate to real world problem solving. Also, for large problems/ambiguous questions we face, we break them down into smaller problems that can be solved using the 4 steps.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      Aasif, Growing up, yes. I did have a lot of role models. Kalpana Chawla, Abdul Kalam, Albert Einstein, to name a few. I think having role models is a great way to understand the path someone took to get to where they are.

      You learn that even your role models have had failure. For e.g. even Einstein was famously wrong about Quantum Physics.

      I also have role models in Sports. e.g. Rafael Nadal, he is grit and determination personified. When he was 19 years old, his doctors said he cannot play tennis anymore because of an ankle injury. But he kept at it, practised constantly , while battling injuries to become one of the greatest players of all time.

  • Mango Education

    I guess this is a question you get more often. Which browser, search engine, Mobile OS, Computer OS, do you use? I guess the term you use at Microsoft is ‘dogfooding/icecreaming’! Please share us some interesting things about this! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      I did play a lot of computer games when I was young. I still play them whenever I get some free time.

      Pros:
      Computer games are exercises for the brain. Truly.
      There are team games that can help you form meaningful connections with teammates and teach you to leverage each others’ strengths as a team.
      It is great for unwinding after a hard day.
      The feeling you get after you finish a tough mission/level after multiple attempts is a great feeling.

      Cons:
      There’s very little physical activity involved. If it’s a choice between a computer game and an actual physical game, I would probably pick the physical game because of the activity it provides.
      Time sink: some of the games require a lot of time, which can sometimes affect other aspects of life.

    • Vineeth Loganathan
      Vineeth Loganathan

      That is a great question. I think Engineering IS problem solving. Period. The domain you solve problems in might be different (Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Computer Science), but as an Engineer you get paid to solve tough problems.

      Engineering is about making the right trade-offs to build something to help make people’s lives easier.

      For aspiring engineers – the only advise I give is to be curious and practice problem solving. Strong fundamentals in maths and physics are very important to be a good engineer. You’ll apply the maths and science you learned in school to build new things.

      Also, another advice is to always ask “what is the application of this?”. Any time you learn a new concept in maths or science, ask that question. You will start thinking like an Engineer!

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