An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Nikhil Murthy ’21 aims to fundamentally change the way that we interact with the world with the power of deep learning. He enrolled at MIT with a passion for artificial intelligence, deep learning, and entrepreneurship—an intersection that according to him, “can’t be done any better than at MIT.”

Deep learning is a subset of machine learning focused on algorithms inspired by the structure and function of the brain. Deep learning, which is used to process data and create patterns for use in decision making, is used across industries for many tasks, helping to streamline processes and more efficiently analyze data. 

Because deep learning is applied to such a variety of industries, Murthy realized the need to gain a deeper knowledge of those industries. Just weeks into his first semester, he discovered an easy way that didn’t involve Google, but instead, MIT alumni experts in their field. 

Murthy joined the MIT Alumni Advisors Hub, a tool that virtually connects MIT alumni with students or other alumni seeking advice. “I knew I needed to learn more about fields like healthcare and finance,” says Murthy, “that’s why I wanted to turn to the Advisors Hub. I wanted to talk to people that had graduated and had insight that I couldn’t find by just looking at online blogs.”

After using the platform once, Murthy got so much out of the 30-minute chat that he has since spoken to seven more alumni—some numerous times. “Each conversation has helped me to see the world slightly differently or change how I approach a problem.”

“It’s interesting to learn about specific things people do in their work,” says Murthy. “I talked to someone that works in the insurance side of healthcare, a side I didn’t have a complete appreciation for. Beyond the patient side of healthcare such as medical diagnosis and treatment, there exists a whole slew of problems on the business side. He specifically worked with insurance companies and billing claims, and talking to the advisor about his work opened up that whole area for me.”

In addition to trying to learn more about the fields of each alumni, Murthy has also focused on how their fields and deep learning can be applied to startups, as someone who is running his own company. Murthy started his consulting company, Cognite Solutions, a little over a year ago and has had the opportunity to work with companies ranging from health and energy to finance and automotive. “I go to a lot of conferences and meet people that needed to apply deep learning but didn’t have the expertise,” says Murthy. “I can help people implement deep learning solutions into their products—things like risk stratification, improving patient outcomes, increasing efficiency, and automating processes.” 

Murthy has also taught a course through Coursera, A Practical Introduction to Deep Learning, and has authored research papers in machine learning in the fields of robotics, finance, and natural language processing, and he presented his findings at multiple software conferences. 

The MIT Alumni Advisors Hub, which is open to students and alumni, launched in June 2017 and has attracted thousands of alumni and hundreds of students for the opportunity to make meaningful connections filled with career advice and insights. 

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