Rajeev Motwani

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Rajeev Motwani
File:Rajeev Motwani in 2006.jpg
Rajeev Motwani in 2006
Born March 26, 1962
Jammu, India
Died June 5, 2009 (aged 47)
Atherton, California, United States
Occupation professor, angel investor
Spouse(s) Asha Jadeja

Rajeev Motwani (Template:Lang-hi; March 26, 1962 – June 5, 2009) was a professor of Computer Science at Stanford University whose research focused on theoretical computer science. He was an early advisor and supporter of companies including Google and PayPal, and a special advisor to Sequoia Capital. He was a winner of the Gödel Prize in 2001.


Early life

Rajeev Motwani was born in Jammu to a Sindhi family. He grew up in New Delhi.[1] His father was in the Indian Army. He has two brothers. As a child, inspired by luminaries like Gauss, he wanted to become a mathematician. He went to St Columba's School, New Delhi. He completed his B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Kanpur in 1983 and got his Ph.D. in Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley in 1988 under the supervision of Richard Karp.[2]

Career in computer science

Motwani joined Stanford soon after U.C. Berkeley. Motwani was one of the co-authors (with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and Terry Winograd) of an influential early paper on the PageRank algorithm, the basis for Google's search techniques. He also co-authored another seminal search paper What Can You Do With A Web In Your Pocket with those same authors.[3] He was also an author of two widely-used theoretical computer science textbooks, Randomized Algorithms (Cambridge University Press 1995, ISBN 978-0521474658, with Prabhakar Raghavan) and Introduction to Automata Theory, Languages, and Computation (2nd ed., Addison-Wesley, 2000, with John Hopcroft and Jeffrey Ullman). Prior to his involvement with Google, Motwani founded the Mining Data at Stanford project (MIDAS), an umbrella organization for several groups looking into new and innovative data management concepts. His research included data privacy, web search, robotics, and computational drug design.

Motwani was an avid angel investor and had funded a number of successful startups to emerge from Stanford. He sat on the boards of Google, Kaboodle, Mimosa Systems, Adchemy, Baynote, Vuclip, NeoPath Networks (acquired by Cisco Systems in 2007), Tapulous and Stanford Student Enterprises among others. He was also active in the Business Association of Stanford Entrepeneurial Students (BASES).[4][5][6][7]

Motwani was a winner of the Gödel Prize in 2001 for his work on the PCP theorem and its applications to hardness of approximation.[8][9] He served on the editorial boards of SIAM Journal on Computing, Journal of Computer and System Sciences, ACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data, and IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering.

Personal life

Motwani, and his wife Asha Jadeja, had two daughters named Naitri and Anya.[10]


Motwani was found dead in his pool in the backyard of his Atherton home on June 5, 2009. The San Mateo County coroner, Robert Foucrault, ruled the death an accidental drowning.[11] Toxicology tests also revealed that he had a blood-alcohol level of 0.26 percent, more than three times the level considered drunken driving in California.[11] He could not swim, but was planning on taking lessons, according to his friends.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]


  • Gödel Prize
  • Okawa Foundation Research Award
  • Arthur Sloan Research Fellowship[24]
  • National Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Kanpur
  • Bergmann Memorial Award from the US-Israel Bi-National Science Foundation
  • IBM Faculty Award


  1. Rajeev Motwani, computer scientist at Stanford; adviser, investor in Silicon Valley, dead at 47
  2. Template:Mathgenealogy.
  3. Brin, Sergey; Motwani, Rajeev; Page, Lawrence; Winograd, Terry (1998), "What can you do with a Web in your Pocket?", IEEE Data Engineering Bulletin 21 (2): 37–47, http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~ley/db/journals/debu/BrinMPW98.html 
  4. NeoPath Networks Locks Up $6M Equity Financing; August Capital and DCM-Doll Capital Management Lead the Investment 2004-03-08
  5. "Cisco kisses NeoPath products goodbye" by Deni Connor, Network World, 2007-04-04. Retrieved 2009-06-06.
  6. Rajeev Motwani, Google founders’ professor and early investor, dies 2009-06-05
  7. Mathematician at heart 2004-08-01
  8. 2001 Gödel Prize citation
  9. Arora, Sanjeev; Lund, Carsten; Motwani, Rajeev; Sudan, Madhu; Szegedy, Mario (1998), "Proof verification and the hardness of approximation problems", Journal of the ACM 45 (3): 501–555, doi:10.1145/278298.278306 .
  10. Google mentor Rajeev Motwani dies in freak accident 2009-06-07
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lee, Henry K. (July 16, 2009). "Stanford tech mentor was drunk when he drowned". San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications, Inc.. pp. D-4. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/07/16/BAOO18Q2HH.DTL. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  12. Weaver, Matthew (2009-06-07). "Google founders' mentor found dead in swimming pool". guardian.co.uk. Guardian News and Media Limited. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/jun/07/rajeev-motwani-dead-google-swimming-pool. 
  13. techcrunch remembrance 2009-06-05
  14. Silicon Valley Grieves Rajeev Motwani's Passing, Michael Arrington, Washington Post, 2009-06-06
  15. Remembrances from Near and Dear
  16. Remembrance by Sergey Brin
  17. Rajeev Motwani, the Legendary Stanford Professor pluggd.in remembrance 2009-06-06
  18. SiliconAngle remembrance - A Friend to All Pursuers of Life 2009-06-06
  19. Rajeev Motwani 2009-06-06
  20. Rajeev Motwani, Professor, Early Google Adviser, Dies 2009-06-06
  21. "Rajeev Motwani, Google founders’ professor and early investor, dies" by Camille Ricketts, VentureBeat, June 5, 2009. Retrieved via The New York Times, 6/6/09.
  22. Remembering Rajeev Motwani
  23. Professor Rajeev Motwani at The Telegraph
  24. Rajeev Motwani passes away 2009-06-06

External links

Template:Gödel winners

az:Raciv Motvani

br:Rajeev Motwani it:Rajeev Motwani ru:Мотвани, Раджив sk:Rajeev Motwani

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