Vaidyeswaran Rajaraman earned his BSc (Hons) in Physics from Delhi University in 1952 and joined Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, where he obtained Diploma in Electrical Communication Engineering (1955) and Associateship of the Institute (1957) for research done to develop non-linear units for an analogue computer. Thereafter, he proceeded to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA where he earned a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering (1959). He then joined the University of Wisconsin and obtained PhD (1961) while doing research on adaptive control systems. In 1961, he was appointed as Assistant Professor of Statistics at the University of Wisconsin where he served till 1962. Subsequently, he worked at IIT Kanpur as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. He then reoriented his research and teaching in the fledging field of computer science while he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkley (1964-65).
Academic and Research Achievements: On his return in 1965 to IIT Kanpur, a computer science option in MTech was started which was the first academic programme in computer science in India. He also initiated a doctoral programme in this area and a thriving school in computer science began. The major research work done by his group was the use of decision tables in developing, optimizing and finding logical errors in computer programs incorporating complex logical decisions. He also guided doctoral students in several areas such as parallel search algorithms for information retrieval, query optimization in databases and formulating reliability measures of computer programs. In 1982, he shifted to IISc where he set up a National Supercomputing facility. His research work resulted in easy to implement low-cost parallel computers. Simultaneously, he also developed optimal scheduling of tasks in parallel computers to get better performance. He also guided 30 doctoral students in computer science and published over 70 papers in referred journals.
Other Contributions: Several generations of scientists and engineers have learnt computer science using lucidly written books (numbering 20) by him on computer programming, computer design, information systems design, and parallel computers. He was consultant/on the board of directors to several IT industries and was also Member of the Electronics Commission (1979-82). Under his leadership, a new MCA programme was designed and implemented in India. He started the first undergraduate Computer Science programme at IIT Kanpur which was emulated by other IITs. He also served the INSA Council as Member (1986-88).
Awards and Honours: Professor Rajaraman was recipient of the SS Bhatnagar Prize (1976), the Homi Bhabha Prize (1984), the Indian Society of Technical Education Award for Excellence in Teaching (1988), Padma Bhushan Award (1998), Om Prakash Bhasin Prize (1992), Rustom Choksi Award (1993), SH Zaheer Medal by INSA (1998), and Life Time Contributions Award by Indian National Academy of Engineering (2005). He was elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore; National Academy of Sciences (India), Allahabad; and Indian National Academy of Engineering.