This Engineer Is Working to Prevent Human Casualties and Protect Endangered Wildlife

“Innovation is about coming up with creative solutions.” This philosophy has been a guiding principle for Santosh Narayanan, an Intel engineer graduated from IIT Madras, with specialization in electronics and communications engineering. As a student, he had always wanted to apply concepts he studied at his future workplace. Today, with a career spanning over two decades, he has achieved that goal, working as a technologist covering a variety of technology domains ranging from digital signal processing, Wi-Fi, DSP firmware for digital cameras and multifunction printers to communications / network processors and GPUs.

During his time with LSI as a networking solutions architect for communications / network processors, Santosh amassed invaluable years of experience collaborating with leading OEMs in Radio Access Network (RAN) to implement data plane firmware, and to act as the customer technical SPOC in wireless RAN space.

“I worked for LSI Corporation, which was acquired by Intel in 2014, making me a part of the big Intel family. Intel opened a multitude of opportunities inside and outside of work. Along with exposure to the latest technologies and working with global talent, I’ve participated in exciting social initiatives and incubation challenges, among others.”

Helping Resolve Human-Elephant Conflict in Southern India

A knack for building creative solutions and quick workarounds has earned Santosh accolades throughout his career. But at Intel, he got to further his passion by using technology for the betterment of all— including wildlife.

Santosh has been an ardent fan of the Intel Social Initiative Contest, which gave him the opportunity to work with non-profit organizations on social causes. The most recent has been the winning project with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), creating wireless solutions for elephant-human coexistence in South India.

“The solution has to be very simple yet effective and one that can be easily used by anyone. The aim is to avoid human casualties while protecting elephants in the fragmented lands of Southern India. Phone calls are used to trigger sirens via beacons kept on towers to alert people. Another technology used is sending bulk messages to trace and understand the exact trajectory of the elephant’s movements.”

This is an ongoing project that has won funding from Intel. The next steps are to develop mobile apps with as many innovative features as possible.

Santosh believes that technology can enable animal welfare. It was while researching the Snow Leopard Trust that he came across its partner body, NCF. Last year, he also worked on technology for the snow leopard population estimation by implementing image processing and pattern recognition with deep learning. Fortuitously for the project, Santosh had been self-studying deep learning concepts for the past few years.

Carving a New Career Path

A quick learner, Santosh has always explored new technology domains. After a fulfilling decade in networking, he was fascinated by the next-gen intelligent technologies, especially deep learning. Fast growing areas like deep learning are used in GPUs as the key computational element. Intel DOT—the space for employee growth and learning—gave him the opportunity to move his career in that direction. He stumbled upon the GPU Power Estimation and Analysis group, and there was no looking back! Santosh’s years of expertise in silicon and software knowledge were quickly appreciated by the team, making his transition to the new role seamless. The work in GPU Power Analysis and Estimation, with ample challenges and opportunities for learning about various dimensions of the fascinating world of GPUs, was indeed a dream job!

His team, although small, leads by the quality over quantity example to generate work that is both impactful and interesting. Innovative and methodical solutions are vital at each stage to provide power estimates for all the GPU variants throughout the entire product life cycle – and this work ultimately holds significant sway over product decisions.

His quest to solve problems also led him to participate in the VPG Innovation Challenge and Intel Incubation Programme. One of the ideas submitted was about ergonomics, helping people with sedentary jobs improve their posture. Though his team’s ideas weren’t selected, he calls it an interesting learning process.

Thinking Outside the Box 

Fulfilling one of the cornerstones of his guiding work philosophies for effective collaboration, Santosh’s current work presents him with daily opportunities to work closely with various teams to enable Intel’s GPU product line with the  best-in-class performance and power targets. Power estimation involves calculations that are analytical, which need to be refined as the implementation progresses. He loves the math involved and loves solving problems. Even as a student, he looked at progression from mathematical models towards efficient implementation in hardware and software. He has carried this enthusiasm throughout his career, leading him to earn seven patents.

“You have to think beyond the boundaries of your work and how effectively you can deliver value.”

Art Inspires Creativity

His creative thinking also reflects in some of the choices Santosh makes outside Intel. A music aficionado passionate about Indian classical performing arts, he is a trustee of a fine arts society in Bengaluru. It’s an initiative by like-minded people to organize concerts in Urban Bengaluru, all funded by donations and sponsorships. In this process, he often meets more art connoisseurs, expanding the community by connecting with others.

“Intel values employee care. It offers a multitude of opportunities not just to carve the right career path but also encourages participation in initiatives outside of work.”

Looking to create ground-breaking solutions that help make a difference? Discover opportunities at Intel India today.

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