Friday, 28 August 2015


Girisha Durrel De Silva is in his fifth year of our Computer Science PhD programme. He loves model railroading but has not been able to indulge in his hobby here in Singapore. He also watches cheesy reality shows even though he knows that most of them are scripted. Being from a cricket obsessed nation, like all the other kids, he wanted to be national cricket player, but then he grew up and realized it wasn’t his forte. Like other cyclists we’ve interviewed here, he hopes that our campus could be made more cycle-friendly. Girisha’s ultimate dinner guests would be former Top Gear UK presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. He’s currently planning on a career in the teaching track of academia. 

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Kandy is considered a sacred city and is well known around the world as it is home to the temple of the Tooth Relic which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Kandy is also a popular tourist destination among the foreigners and the locals living in other parts of the island because of the cool climate, thickly forested hills and many historic landmarks. 
During my childhood, my city used to be more laid back in nature. For example, most of the shops would close by 6 pm and most bus services would stop by 7 pm :). So people used to spend more time with their families and enjoy the finer things in life :) I did all my schooling in Kandy and moved to the capital to pursue my degree at the University of Colombo.

Why are you doing a PhD?
I have played around with computers since I was very young and I have always been fascinated about all things related to computing. My eagerness to learn about computing made me pursue a degree in computing. Midway through my degree I got to work on a small scale research project in my university and that experience really made me think that research is what I want to do in future and here I am pursuing a PhD at NUS.

Describe your research and its significance.
Mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous and people are moving from the traditional desktops to mobile devices to carry out their day to day computing tasks. For better performance, limited bandwidth and battery capacity of mobile devices need to be addressed by better power and bandwidth management techniques. 
State-of-the-art mobile devices in the market are equipped with multiple communication interfaces such as cellular, WiFi and bluetooth radio. Each interface has different power, radio and data rate characteristics. In brief, my research concentrates on exploring the diversities provided by these interfaces to improve the performance of a mobile device in terms of power consumption and data rates. 
In few years, almost everything in the world will be connected to the Internet and as a result, networking in general is going to impact our lives even more than today. Therefore, solutions to most of the interesting problems being researched by the networking community today, will be applied by people on a day to day basis in the next decade.

Describe your SoC experience.
[I enjoy] doing research work with professors who are world class in their research fields. The suggestions, criticisms and the guidance they provide help us to improve our work and follow the right direction. [The most challenging part is] coming up with a research problem which is both interesting and practical.
I work closely with two professors, namely: Prof. Chan Mun Choon who is my adviser and also Prof. Wei Tsang Ooi who is my co-adviser. Both professors are very kind and are always willing to help me in my research work through effective guidance. If someone wants a definition for hard work then they should see how my professors work :). Out of the courses I attended I really enjoyed attending Prof. Chang Ee-Chien’s course as he kept us entertained throughout the class with his witty jokes while delivering the lecture content. During my first semester at NUS I attended a course conducted by Prof. Tulika Mitra. I needed to make up for my low scores during mid-term and had to clear a lot of queries related to the first half of the course content. In spite of her busy schedule, she was kind enough to give me an appointment in which she patiently answered all my queries. 
I also used to be a tutor for an introductory networking module for Undergraduate students at SoC. It was a great experience to work with a bunch of very talented students.

What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
My grandfather is from Hubei, China. That makes me part Chinese :)

Worst design?
Internet Explorer. LoL.

Favourite sports team?
The Sri Lankan cricket team and the English Rugby Team

Pet peeve?
Seeing unread emails, messages etc. At least take time to mark all of them read :D

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