Hi, I’m Chirag (IPA:
/ʃɪɹɑːg/, like the former French president), and I am a first-year MSE candidate in computer science at Princeton University. I have yet to be assigned an advisor at Princeton. My research interests lie in an unlikely pair of fields: programming languages and computer architecture.
I previously attended Cornell University, where I received a B.Sc. in computer science in May 2017. I was fortunate to have been advised by Adrian Sampson, who helped cultivate my initial interests and synthesize them into a veritable form. My undergraduate thesis focused on a theoretical framework called LambdaLab that would provide appropriate tools for instruction in the lambda calculus. I also tinkered with NVIDIA’s CUDA programming language with applications to heterogeneous hardware in graphics programming.
Most of my undergraduate research focused on what Adrian calls approximate computing, an emerging field at the cornerstone of programming languages and computer architecture. Approximate computing captures the idea that computers can have better performance if we can allow them to have certain imperfections. This type of model is still fairly new, so researching ways to synthesize various languages, compilers, and hardware to examine this trade-off more closely is one of my significant goals.
The ethnic origins of my name are from Greater South Asia. In particular, Chirag is from an Persian word that means “light or to enlighten”, and Bharadwaj is a family name—after Bharadwaja, a great ancient sage who lived in the years following the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization. Supposedly, I am part of a family that can trace their lineage back to him across many generations. My parents gave me the first name that I have because I was born soon after Diwali, which is a festival of lights. Of course, in Asian cultures, the family name comes first, so historically my name would have been written
I was born on 23 November 1996 in Flushing, NY, which is a small and diverse ethnic enclave in the borough of Queens in New York City. I grew up there for a little while. I don’t think I will ever forget the beautiful parks. Flushing is home to around 70,000 people, of which about 70% are of Asian heritage like myself, at least according to the 2010 census.
I attended middle school and high school in Princeton, NJ—a relatively quiet neighborhood in suburbia. Princeton is downright beautiful (but only Ithaca is gorges). There is so much greenery and it feels really nice to be surrounded by so much forestry in the Garden State. Princeton has many areas that are designated as “preserved open space”, so a lot of the greenery is pretty much legally required to be there. You can even get in trouble if you cut down trees! They don’t take “the Garden State” lightly, I guess.