Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

December 27, 2023

25th Reunion of the 1998 Computers Batch of AFBBS: The Class with a Class

Filed under: My Life,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 7:33 PM

This year is the 25 anniversary for when I passed out from Air Force Bal Bharati School (AFBBS). I was there for two years and they were some of the most fun and memorable times of my life. During my time there I made some lifelong friends and learnt a lot about life and the good stuff. I was in the computer section, XII-C or “The Class with a Class” as it was otherwise known.

Class photograph of XII-C
XII-C The Class with a Class

A few months ago a group of people from one of the other sections in our batch started a thread about having a reunion and started working on it. Over the next few weeks I noticed that it was mostly folks from the other sections who were interested and actively planning for the reunion, our class was mostly silent on the topic. Since I was not much in touch with anyone from any of the other sections, or rather was never friends with anyone outside of the C section (my class) I was of two minds about attending the reunion. Then we found out that the event was not happening at the school and instead was in a place in Qutub Minar area somewhere.

Then someone asked a question in our class group if anyone else was going. Interestingly most of the folks said that they would rather meet separately with just our class instead of the whole batch. After seeing that me and Tarini got talking about it and thinking about a separate reunion for our class. Tarini was nice enough to volunteer her place for the event and thus we decided to have our get-together on the same day as the other one.

The event was planned for the 16th, and Jani and I flew in early morning that day to reach Delhi by 2:30pm. Since it would have taken us too long to go to Noida and come back (we would have spent the entire time traveling instead of spending time at home) we decided to show up early at Tarini’s place and start the party early. That way we got to spend time with the kids and Aunty as well before the rest of the folks arrived.

The evening was quite memorable with a lot of old stories being told to spouses about folks who I hope didn’t get into too much trouble once their wives found out what they had been up to in school. Crushes were explained in detail, famous pranks explained etc. It was much more fun and intimate than attending a party with loud music, though that also would have been fun if we knew more people there.

Its hard to believe that its already been 25 years since we all were in school together and we have gone from:

to looking like this 25 years later:

I wish I could say that we all kept in touch throughout the last 25 years, but sadly that wasn’t the case. I was meeting Ravi after 25 years, Ankush and Rahul after ~16 years or so and it was a lot of fun to catchup after such a long time. To be honest it didn’t feel like so much time had passed since we last met. The rest of the folks I had been meeting them more frequently; some more frequently than others. It would have been great if the rest of the 40 odd classmates could have also made it for the reunion but that’s ok. There is always a next time.

In spite of only getting back to Delhi the day before Tarini went above and beyond with the food and drinks. I especially loved the mulled wine and that reminds me that I need to get the recipe from her, or instead get her to make it for me everytime I visit. Actually the second option seems a lot more fun and less work for me so I will do that.

The party went on till almost 4am, then me Tarini and Jani chilled out for a while after everyone went home and just chatted. The next day was again hectic as we had a brunch and headed back to the airport to come back to Bangalore so that we could prep for our next trip to Malaysia which we were leaving for the next day (18th). Got back to India on the 25th and that is why this post was delayed as I was having too much fun there to write about the reunion.

Well this is all for now. Will write more later.

– Suramya

December 13, 2023

Researchers use living human brain cells to perform speaker identification

Filed under: Computer Hardware,Emerging Tech,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:51 AM

The human brain is the most powerful computer ever created and though most people have been trying to create a copy of the brain using Silicon and chips, a dedicated group of people has been actively working on creating computers/processors using living tissue. These computers are called Bio-Computers and recently there has been a major breakthrough in the field due to the work of scientists from the Indiana University Bloomington.

They have managed to grow lumps of nerve cells called Brain organoids from stem cells, each of these organoids contain about 100 million nerve cells. The team placed these organoids on a microelectrode array which sends electrical signals to the organoids and also detects when the nerve cells fire in response. They then sent 240 audio clips as sequence of signals in spatial patterns with the goal of identifying the speech of a particular person. The initial accuracy of the system was at about 30-40 percent but after being trained for two days (with no feedback being given to the cells) the accuracy rose to 70-80% which is a significant increase. The team’s paper on this project has been published in Nature Electronics

Brain-inspired computing hardware aims to emulate the structure and working principles of the brain and could be used to address current limitations in artificial intelligence technologies. However, brain-inspired silicon chips are still limited in their ability to fully mimic brain function as most examples are built on digital electronic principles. Here we report an artificial intelligence hardware approach that uses adaptive reservoir computation of biological neural networks in a brain organoid. In this approach—which is termed Brainoware—computation is performed by sending and receiving information from the brain organoid using a high-density multi-electrode array. By applying spatiotemporal electrical stimulation, nonlinear dynamics and fading memory properties are achieved, as well as unsupervised learning from training data by reshaping the organoid functional connectivity. We illustrate the practical potential of this technique by using it for speech recognition and nonlinear equation prediction in a reservoir computing framework.

This PoC doesn’t have the capability to convert the speech to text but this is early days and it is possible that with more fine-tuning we will be able to create a system that will allow us to to speech-to-text with a much lower power consumption than the traditional systems. However, there is a big issue of maintenance and long term viability of the organoids. Currently the organoids can only be maintained for one or two months before they have to be replaced which makes it difficult to imagine a commercial/home PC like deployment of these machines as the maintenance costs and efforts would make it unfeasible. On the other hand it is possible that we might see more powerful versions of this setup in research labs and data-centers which would have the capacity to maintain these systems.

I am looking forward to seeing more advances in this field.

– Suramya

Source: AI made from living human brain cells performs speech recognition

December 12, 2023

The entire Byomkesh Bakshi Series is available on YouTube legally

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:59 AM

Byomkesh Bakshi was one of my favorite Detective TV shows when I was a kid. He is the Indian counterpart to Sherlock Homes but is not a copy of the character. The character of Byomkesh Bakshi; an Indian-Bengali detective with proficiency with observation, logical reasoning, and forensic science was created by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay in 1932 and appeared in multiple novels after that. In 1993 a TV series based on the character was first broadcast which adapted each novel into an episode of the show.

For some reason till recently there were hardly any copies of the original show available online to watch/download. I was searching for something else when suddenly I decided to see if I could find copies of the show and after a little bit of searching I found out that Doordarshan National, which owns the copyright to the show has uploaded the entire run of the show on their YouTube Channel (along with a lot of other shows as well from their golden days). This was an awesome find and over the next few days I am going to rewatch the entire series and confirm if my memory of the show is accurate. (I last watched it when I was ~13)

Interestingly enough I have met the actor Rajit Kapur who plays Byomkesh Bakshi a few years ago and he was extremely polite and considerate of the fans.

If you have not seen the show, I highly recommend you watch it.

– Suramya

December 11, 2023

ChatGPT is changing how we search for information and that is not good as it hallucinates often

Filed under: Artificial Intelligence,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 8:23 PM

Much as I dislike it, ChatGPT has changed the way we do things and look for things. Initially I thought that it was a fad/phase and when people would realize that it gives incorrect information mixed with correct info they would stop using it but that doesn’t seem to be the case. A couple of days ago we were having a discussion on worms and how much protein they have in them in a group chat of friends and Surabhi was tried to gross Anil out, instead of getting grossed out Anil asked for a recipe he could use to cook the worms. Immediately Surabhi went on ChatGPT and asked it for a recipe but it refused to give it stating that it is against their policies and might be disturbing to see. Before ChatGPT she would have searched on Google for the recipe and gotten it (I did that in a few mins after I saw her comment). The a few days later another friend commented similarly where they couldn’t find something on ChatGPT so decided to give up instead of searching via a search engine.

Other people have stated that they use it for tone policing of emails to ensure they are professional. Personally I would recommend The Judge for that as I had stated in my review of their site earlier this year.

The problem I have with ChatGPT is highlighted by the following quote shared by @finestructure (Sven A. Schmidt) “Whether it did it correctly I don’t have the expertise to evaluate but it was very impressive sounding.”. The way GPT works it gives information in a very well crafted manner (and that is super impressive) but the fact that it can have errors or it hallucinates from time to time makes it useless for detail oriented work for me. If I have to verify the output generated by ChatGPT using a browser then I might as well use the browser directly and skip a step.

I have screenshots of so many examples of how ChatGPT/Bing/Bard hallucinate and give wrong information. I think I should do a follow up post with those screenshots. (I have them saved in a folder titled AI nonsense 🙂 ).

– Suramya

December 7, 2023

Rice with Ketchup, Why??

Filed under: Humor,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

Why would anyone eat plain rice with Ketchup??? There are so many awesome things that you can add to rice to eat it with. No one I know or for that matter no one from the entire Asia, Africa, South American and maybe the Europe will try to eat plain rice with Ketchup… Even in the US most people would eat rice with some sort of gravy or sauces etc.

Ketchup doesn’t exist, what are y’all adding to this?

This is most probably a joke but remembering what some of the folks in the Western countries consider to be good food, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were folks who would eat plain rice with Ketchup.

– Suramya

December 6, 2023

ISRO Returns the Propulsion Module from Chandrayaan-3 mission to Earth orbit

Filed under: Astronomy / Space,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 10:55 AM

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) made a surprising announcement earlier this week about a new accomplishment by the Chandrayaan-3 Propulsion Module after the team managed to successfully return the propulsion module used by the spacecraft into a high orbit around Earth. This is a big deal and something only achieved by 3 countries before India (US, China and USSR).

This was not one of the planned missions for the module and was attempted when the team found that they still have over 100 kg of fuel in the PM available on the module for maneuvers. Its a credit to the precise planning and execution of the entire mission that the module still had extra fuel available for followup missions. So the orbit was modified over the course of a few months to move to an Earth orbit at about 1.54 lakhs kms (154,000 kms) allowing the module to complete an orbit every 13 days.

In order to continue SHAPE payload for Earth observation, it was decided to re-orbit the PM to a suitable Earth orbit.This mission plan was worked out considering the collision avoidance such as preventing the PM from crashing on to the Moon’s surface or entering into the Earth’s GEO belt at 36000 km and orbits below that. Considering the estimated fuel availability and the safety to GEO spacecrafts, the optimal Earth return trajectory was designed for October 2023 month.

First maneuver was performed on October 9, 2023 to raise apolune altitude to 5112 km from 150 km thus, increasing the period of orbit from 2.1 hrs to 7.2 hrs. Later, considering the estimate of available propellant, the second maneuver plan was revised to target an Earth orbit of 1.8 lakhs x 3.8 lakhs km. The Trans-Earthinjection (TEI)maneuver was performed on October 13, 2023. In thepost-TEI maneuver realized orbit, propulsion module made four Moon fly-bys before departing Moon SOI on November 10. Currently, propulsion module is orbiting Earth and crossedits first perigee on November 22nd with an altitude of 1.54 lakhs km. The orbit period is nearly 13 days with 27 deg inclination. The perigee and apogee altitude vary during its trajectory and the predicted minimum perigee altitude is 1.15 lakhs km. Hence as per current orbit prediction, there is no threats of close approach with any operational Earth orbiting satellites.

This test was a good way to prepare for future lunar missions where one of the mission parameters would be to bring back samples from the Moon to earth for study. The module’s expected lifetime was about 3 months and its already past that and still going on. Looking forward to finding out what other additional experiments we can run on it.

– Suramya

Source: India reveals that it has returned lunar spacecraft to Earth orbit

December 5, 2023

Near real-time Generative AI art is now possible using LCM-LoRA model

Filed under: Artificial Intelligence,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 6:21 PM

There are a lot of advancements happening in Generative AI and while I don’t agree that we have created intelligence (at least not yet) the advances in the Computer generated art are phenomenal. The most recent one is LCM-LoRA, short for “Latent Consistency Model- Low-Rank Adaptation” developed by researchers at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences (IIIS) at Tsinghua University in China. Their paper LCM-LORA: A Universal Stable-Diffusion Acceleration Module (PDF) has been published on last week.

This model allows a system to generate an image given a text prompt in near real-time instead of having to wait a few seconds which was the case earlier. So you can modify the prompt as you go and get immediate feedback which can then be used to modify a prompt. You can test it out at

Latent Consistency Models (LCMs) (Luo et al., 2023) have achieved impressive performance in accelerating text-to-image generative tasks, producing high quality images with minimal inference steps. LCMs are distilled from pre-trained latent diffusion models (LDMs), requiring only ∼32 A100 GPU training hours. This report further extends LCMs’ potential in two aspects: First, by applying LoRA distillation to Stable-Diffusion models including SD-V1.5 (Rombach et al., 2022), SSD-1B (Segmind., 2023), and SDXL (Podell et al., 2023), we have expanded LCM’s scope to larger models with significantly less memory consumption, achieving superior image generation quality. Second, we identify the LoRA parameters obtained through LCM distillation as a universal Stable-Diffusion acceleration module, named LCM-LoRA. LCM-LoRA can be directly plugged into various Stable-Diffusion fine-tuned models or LoRAs with-out training, thus representing a universally applicable accelerator for diverse image generation tasks. Compared with previous numerical PF-ODE solvers such as DDIM (Song et al., 2020), DPM-Solver (Lu et al., 2022a;b), LCM-LoRA can be viewed as a plug-in neural PF-ODE solver that possesses strong generalization abilities. Project page:

The technique works not only for 2D images, but 3D assets as well, meaning artists could theoretically quickly create immersive environments instantly for use in mixed reality (AR/VR/XR), computer and video games, and other experiences. I did try going over the paper but a majority of it went over my head. That being said it is fun playing with this tech.

The model doesn’t address the existing issues with AI Art such as how should the artist’s whose art was used as part of the training data sets be compensated, or the issue of copyright infringement as the art is not public art. We also need to start thinking about who would own the copyright to the art generated using AI. There are a few open court cases on this topic but as of now the courts have refused to give any copyright protection to art generated by AI which would make it a non-starter for use in any commercial project such as a movie or game etc.

– Suramya

Source: Realtime generative AI art is here thanks to LCM-LoRA

December 3, 2023

My Birthday celebration: A perfect day with friends and family

Filed under: My Life — Suramya @ 11:58 PM

Birthdays are usually a lot of fun and this year was the first one in a few years where I was at home instead of traveling. Brief list of where all I celebrated my Birthday in the past few years: 2019 – Antarctica, 2020 – Maldives, 2021 – Assam, 2022 – Nagaland. So this year we decided not to go anywhere and just spend time at home only. Now that we are older we had stopped cutting cakes at midnight for a few years but recently restarted doing that as it was a lot of fun. This time Akanksha, Ayush, Bagri,JD, Himanshi, Rajani, Samariddhi and Shahrukh showed up near midnight to wish me and that was sweet of them. Even though folks have come over to our place multiple times some of them still managed to get lost on the way and it was really hard not to make fun of them.

While sitting and chatting we started talking about ice-cream and and obviously I started craving for some ice-cream as we had been talking about it constantly. Rajani and Jani ordered ice cream for me and in total got almost 1.5 kgs of ice-cream. I am going to be eating that for the next quarter unless we have more folks over and I manage to feed it to them 🙂 .

Since I don’t like chocolate, Jani had asked for a Pineapple cake for me. The bakery folks forgot to write my name or anything on the cake and we were all making fun of Shahrukh about it, since he had picked up the cake. JD immediately jumped into action and at first tried carving ‘Happy Birthday Sur’ on the cake. Since that was too long and we had a Happy Birthday cake topper he switched tracks midway and carved ‘Sur’ on the cake. I guess they wanted to make sure people knew it was for my birthday and not a reused image from someone else’s birthday.

Pineapple cake with my name carved in it (look carefully, it is there)

Once we cut the cake everyone fed me a slice and thus I personally was forced to eat almost 3/4th of the cake. It was an awesome cake which made it easy but then I didn’t have any space to eat anything else after that even though the Pizza we had ordered was awesome.

Group pic on my Birthday

Unfortunately for Rajani she was extremely tired and decided to crash early and the rest of us continued to hang out and chill. At around 3am people decided to start heading out and we took a group selfie. Since Rajani was sleeping she wasn’t in the photo so we came up with the bright idea of taking a photo with her as she was sleeping and that was an awesome decision. She was very sporting about the whole thing when we showed her the photo the next day.

Pic with the sleeping beauty

After folks headed out we crashed (even though I wanted to stay up and watch the new Dr Who episode that had just come out) and the next day we were supposed to meet for Lunch with Surabhi & the kids, Anil and Manisha. As I knew we won’t be getting up early I pushed lunch to 2pm and then slept off. Waking up in the morning was painful but we managed it and drove over to ARAKU Coffee in Indiranagar.

Group photo during Lunch at Araku Coffee

We didn’t know it at the time but they were having a Taco themed event today and since I love Mexican food it was an awesome coincidence. We ordered pretty much every type of Taco they had listed and loved it. I also tried a Spiced Mead cocktail and it was soo good that I barely got to drink it as others (mostly Surabhi) kept stealing sips and I ended up having to order another one. It was one of those awesome lazy lunches where no one was in a rush to be anywhere so we all just hung out and chatted.

But all good things must come to an end so around 5 we had to call it a day and head back home. Once I was home, Jani crashed after finishing some of her work while I watched the new episode of Dr Who. It was an interesting episode, not one of my favorites but not one that I disliked either. The 14th Doc’s personality is noticeably different from the 10th and that does get disconcerting at times but still a lot of fun.

Well this is all for now. Have a really early morning tomorrow so an going to call it a night.

– Suramya

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