Vijay Boyapati

24 August 2012

“The free flow of information through the internet is as historic as the creation of the printing press, and will have a much bigger impact on raising living standards around the world,” says MSI science graduate Vijay Boyapati. Boyapati considers his five years spent working as a software engineer for Google to have been like “having a front row seat to history”.

Originally from Canberra, Boyapati initially moved interstate to study medicine as an undergraduate student but quickly realised that his passion lay with mathematics and computer science. He returned to his hometown to study at MSI because of its reputation as a “world class research institution in the sciences”. Boyapati thrived as an undergraduate and pursued mathematics and computer science to an advanced level. He particularly enjoyed being in the company of “intelligent and driven” people.

“It’s a naturally stimulating environment and I was especially privileged to be invited to the Distinguished Scholar Programme and a number of summer scholarships which allowed me to pursue my interests in computer science and mathematics at an advanced level.”

Boyapati’s honours thesis involved creating an algorithm to automatically organise large volumes of online news articles with minimal human intervention. This research came at a very exciting time in the internet revolution of the late 1990s, and ultimately led to Boyapati being offered a position with Google News when the globally recognised company was still in its infancy.

At Google News, Boyapati also worked on the clustering system, which is essentially an algorithm that groups related articles together. The result is the clusters of diverse media sources that you see on the front page of Google News, which offers the reader different perspectives on a news story.

Now a highly successful software engineer, Boyapati acknowledges that the opportunities he was given as an undergraduate at MSI were “unlikely to have been available at most other institutions” and recognises that his Mathematics professors were “some of the best teachers I’ve had in my life”.

Boyapati is currently pursuing his interests in economics, and is developing an analysis of whether the current economic cycle will lead to a period of monetary deflation or inflation. Though not an economist by training, he believes that a deep proficiency in mathematics provides the capacity to advance the state-of-the-art in other fields. Boyapati explains: “The most important aspect of being in school is learning how to think critically, and how to find and assimilate information pertinent to the job you will eventually be doing. MSI is a great place to hone these skills, and these skills will ultimately be a lot more important than the final qualification any student receives from their university.”