Peter Santhanam


Peter Santhanam


Principal Research Staff Member, IBM Research, Government Programs


IBM Research - Yorktown Heights Yorktown Heights, NY USA


Welcome to my personal page! I have one of the more eclectic backgrounds you will find among professionals. You can probably tell that from my publication list. I started my undergraduate studies in Physics in 1970 and I obtained a B.Sc. degree at Voorhees College of the University of Madras, India and an M.Sc. degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India. After a brief period in Biophysics research at the University of Madras, I moved to Hunter College of The City University of New York for another Masters degree in Physics where I worked on the electron correlation problem in atoms.  Then I decided to switch to experimental low temperature physics and did a thesis on 'Localization and Superconductivity in Thin Films and Narrow wires of Aluminum' towards a Ph.D. degree in Applied Physics at Yale University.

I joined the Physical Sciences Department at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center as a Research Staff Member in 1985. I was a part of a group of researchers at IBM working on the evolving new area of 'Mesoscopic Physics' which addressed the question of what happens to physical (my focus was electrical) properties of conductors when the size of the sample size became smaller than the intrinsic length scales such as electron inelastic scattering length (typically 1 micrometer or 10,000 Angstroms at liquid Helium temperatures i.e. ~4K)!  This was a lot of fun and we made some amazing discoveries that brought quantum phenomena to a new different level. This area has evolved into the realm of nanotechnology over the past decade. But our experiments showed many of these quantum effects will not affect any of the electrical circuits working at room temperature (i.e. 300K). Well, that was that!

When I had an opportunity to start a new career in Software Engineering Research at IBM in 1993, I decided to jump on it.  I  worked on a wide variety of topics in software engineering, particularly software metrics, various modeling approaches and testing.  Till 2014, I was the Senior Manager of the Software Engineering group.  Then for three years I was the Program Director for the Cognitive Computing (i.e. Artificial Intelligence) organization at IBM Research, responsible for helping our Executives coordinate strategy & execution across our worldwide teams.  In 2017, I moved to focus on the narrower scope of AI Engineering that leads to tools and practices supporting the AI Application Lifecycle activities.   This is critical for building and supporting real AI systems and a vital part of the IBM business portfolio.  More recently, I have taken an opportunity to work on enabling AI in government agencies and their ecosystem.

Here is a recent book I cowrote with James Luke and David Porter, 'Beyond Algorithms: Delivering AI for Business'.  I hope you find the book interesting and useful.

I am a member of the ACM and the AAAI, and a Life Senior Member of the IEEE.  I am a great believer in unorthodox interdisciplinary approaches to solving real problems. I have to admit that I never had a dull moment during my entire career, so far! I just wish I can still remember all the things I learnt over the years!



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