On June 5th, 2009, Rajeev Motwani was no more. He died of an accident in the swimming pool when partying for the end of academic year at his residence. He was survived by his wife Asha Jadeja and two daughters.
Many of us have not heard of this wonderful man. He was one of the mentors of the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He was born in New Delhi, India, on March 26 1962. He graduated in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, and did his Ph.D. in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley in 1988. Then he joined Stanford soon after U.C. Berkeley.
He wrote two books, Randomized Algorithms, published by Cambridge University Press in 1995, and an undergraduate textbook published in 2001. A kind, approachable man, Motwani was still active as a professor and was teaching a couple of classes as recently as last year, despite his financial success with his internet start-ups.
His awards include the Godel Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in theoretical computer science, the Okawa Foundation Research Award and the Arthur Sloan Research Fellowship, the National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kanpur, the Bergmann Memorial Award from the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation, and an IBM Faculty Award.