Kamesh Aiyer

Cambridge, MA, United States

About Kamesh


After a long career in computer software technology, I decided to follow a different dream of writing fiction. Many years ago I became convinced that the Indian epic poem the Mahabharata camouflaged policy differences over managing an ecological disaster behind a conflict over succession. Looked at in this light, the epic revealed an energy crisis, a deforestation crisis, large-scale forced migration, and a population problem. The policy choices included a “one child per person” policy, a hydraulic empire, a “caste” system, a debate over coexistence between urban and forest dwellers, and treatment of women. The winners in the battle established policies that form the basis of “Hinduism”. I became excited over the thought of writing a re-imagined Mahabharata that told the story with the perspective of a background disaster in progress. The project, as conceived, was extremely ambitious and I struggled with the writing.
Over the years, I have produced a number of journal papers (The Trumpeter, and The Indian Journal of Eco-criticism), articles on web-sites, and recently a Kindle Book (http://preview.tinyurl.com/724mwk3).
In the current world, with a threatened environmental disaster hanging over our heads, we seem to be headed to a conflict with similar policy differences, though on a much, much greater scale. We must be more conscious of the long-term and short-term consequences of the policies we are implementing. The Indian experience as exposed by this perspective has lessons for us.
Also, I have found writing enjoyable (when it goes well).
In my professional career, I was on the leading edge of technology developments for almost three decades. I was lead architect for a call-center messaging system for a major telecom client. I represented EMC Corporation with the technical working groups developing storage standards at the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) and the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). I was the chair of the Filesystem Management Technical Working Group of SNIA and was recognized as a technical leader in modeling for system management. The job involved frequent communications via email of specifications, debating points, persuasive discussions, diagrams, words, words, words…

Prior to joining EMC, I was CIO and co-founder of a startup, Kriticka, Inc.. I was a member of the core management team developing business strategy and putting together various technical documents as well as the power-point demo-ing the product. Earlier, I focused on building Expert Systems and Knowledge-based systems -- I was a member of one of the premier industrial research teams at Digital Equipment Corporation. My Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and User Interface Systems was for work done with Dr. Allen Newell, one of the founders of AI, at Carnegie-Mellon University's School of Computer Science. I also have a BS in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. I have three patents for discrimination nets used in fast pattern matching.


English, Hindi, Tamil

Areas of Expertise

Software - Development, Story-telling, science and engineering, mythology & religion, Know-it-all, Morris dancing, english country dance

An idea worth spreading

Solving our current global climate change crisis will require us to weigh short-term, medium-term, long-term and very long-term consequences. We may fail, but if we don't try to fashion a solution, we deserve to fail.

I'm passionate about

The Mahabharata, what we are doing to the environment, using technology to solve it, finding ways to help us transition to a high-efficiency, low-energy consuming culture.

Talk to me about

Technology, mythology, the Mahabharata, how cultures change in the face of disaster, consciousness and "I" (not ego but the linguistic concept).

People don't know I'm good at

1) Pulling theories as needed out of a hat.
2) Accurate time estimating for short to medium term activities

My TED story

None as yet. I was told about TED by a friend who played a TED Talk by someone claiming that thinking about gaming and virtual worlds would lead to improved problem-solving in the real world. "You should do a TED Talk," he said, "About your version of the Mahabharata and why it will help us address the global climate change problem." Talk about hubris -- he had a lot of it..

Comments & conversations

Kamesh Aiyer
Posted over 3 years ago
How does virtuality translate into reality?
Er, this isn't an "imaginary" or even "virtual". Its real. Its why transistors work -- the current from emitter to collector is moderated by the charge stored in the base. That having been said, the question is "Can things we do not know about have physical manifestations?". The answer unfortunately seems to be obviously, Yes. The question is "why don't we know about them?". A number of reasons come to mind. In fact, Imre Lakatos and his book Proofs and Refutations comes to mind where he lists a bunch of reasons why we do not go directly from a real observation to the real underlying cause. We ignore the physical manifestation, we deny its existence, we call it a "monster", we pronounce it too small to be relevant, we call it god (i.e. of supernatural origin), etc. There are so many ways of ignoring reality that one is tempted to sing "Oh, frabjous day!" .