Shashank Srikant

Shashank Srikant

ವಂದನೆಗಳು. I'm a graduate student in CS at CSAIL, MIT.

I have worked extensively on building systems involving machine learning, program analysis, natural language processing, and have written software which has served thousands of end-users. Until 2016, I was a senior research engineer at Aspiring Minds' research lab


  • 3/2020: We find out what happens in our brains when we read programs! [arXiv], [Twitter]
  • 12/2019: Our work on dependency-graph based program representations to detect malware released. [arXiv]
  • 9/2018: Fun paper on zero-shot learning of dog breeds! [Github] Some interesting neuroscience bits to it as well! This was submitted to [SIGTBD 2019]
  • 7/2018: Loved the coursework -- Advanced NLP (6.864)[Project], Program analysis (6.820), Computer security (6.858), Machine learning (6.867) [Project], The Human Brain [Project]
  • 2/2018: Our work on derivative free minimax optimization [PDF] and deep nets for botnet detection [PDF] released.
  • [All updates]


Aspiring Minds (Research group) [link]

Advised by Varun Aggarwal, SM '07 EECS, MIT [link]

Designed and shipped products which

  • automatically and scalably grade computer programs
  • automatically and scalably grade pronunciation and fluency in speech
  • recommend resources from the web based on textual descirptions
  • deliver questions in adaptive tests in a way that optimizes test error and question bank exposure
Have led both, research and software engineering teams to deliver these products.

Publications: SIGCSE '17, KDD '16, IKDD CoDS '16, ICML '15 (workshop), KDD '14, NIPS '13 (workshop), DEV '12 (poster). Details on research page.

Talks and Invited lectures: Microsoft Research Bangalore (Host: Dr. Bill Thies), Xerox Research Center India (Host: Dr. Om Deshmukh), IIT Madras (Host: Prof. Balraman Ravindran); Invited lecture at a graduate course on Program Analysis, IIT Madras (Host: Prof. Rupesh Nasre)

Organized ASSESS 2014, 2015 at KDD 2014 and ICDM 2015 - the first workshops which brought together researchers from the ML and education communities to talk about the state of the art in assessment technologies.

Seva Setu [link]

Seva Setu is a young social organization which ensures citizens in rural India exercise their fundamental rights. I was involved in various innovative programs which bridge the gap between existing welfare facilities by the government and those who can benefit from them. See our research on malnutrition in Bihar, India and learn about the Each one, Reach one program.

Co-founder, Data science for kids! [link]

Co-founded (with Varun Aggarwal) a fun initiative to teach kids the core idea behind data science through hands-on exercises. Had very popular runs in multiple cities, including one at UIUC.

  • Read our SIGCSE '17 paper on the methodology we devised to teach these ideas.
  • A nifty app to run these experiments on is on its way!

Founding team, ML India [link]

Helped building an information platform to track and popularize efforts in the machine learning space in India. This is fast gaining traction, with close to a hundred users getting on-board organically every fortnight.

  • Learn how India compares to other countries in top-tier academic publication
  • Check out some of the informative interviews of academics at the cutting edge of machine learning in India
  • Join the group now!

Microsoft India

Was hired out of college as a software development engineer. Declined this offer to instead work with the then very young research group at Aspiring Minds.

National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra

Advised by Dr. Jitender Chhabra [link]

Worked on two fun, hard B.Tech projects. In one of them, we were the only team from India and one of the two undergraduate teams to have made it to the penultimate round of evaluations at a software engineering olympiad. These projects exposed me to a variety of tools and techniques in graph algorithms, machine learning algorithms, software engineering, database systems, bluetooth drivers/systems, MVC web architectures and web-browser plugins. Details on research page.

Other activities: ACM ICPC training, ACM ICPC India finalists, won a neat little laptop thanks to a contest by IBM's University Relationship Program, College quiz team, Led the Literary and Debating club, Participated in/won/judged several programming and hardware intramurals.

Microsoft Summer Research Scholarship at Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee

Advised by Dr. Rajdeep Niyogi and Mr. Binay Pandey, doctoral student [link]

Was exposed to writing code on CUDA, Nvidia's parallel processing architecture. The idea was to parallelize a known compression algorithm to see if its performance could be improved. Details on research page.

Intern, Engineering team, Brio Infotech and Telecom, now Juno Telecom

A startup founded by Microsoft and Intel employees [link]

Wrote an internal tool to parse logs generated by Apache Log4j's logging utility in their production code. Was good initial exposure to object oriented software, production-grade code, open source library mods/dev.