Celebrating our graduates: Sujan Gonugondla, Ph.D. to Amazon


Allie Arp, CSL

As far as final semesters go, Spring 2020 has been unprecedented. While the traditional graduation ceremony and many of the celebrations that go along with it may have been canceled, we want to recognize what our graduating students have contributed to research during their time at CSL and celebrate their future plans.

Our next feature is Sujan Gonugondla, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical and computer engineering who studied under CSL faculty member Naresh Shanbhag. Gonugondla’s research

Sujan Gonugondla
Sujan Gonugondla

focuses on developing machine learning systems for edge devices. Earlier this semester, he was one of two CSL students to be awarded the prestigious IEEE-SSCS Predoctoral Achievement Award.

Read more about Gonugondla’s plans after graduation, the research that made him proud, and his advice for current students below.

What are your plans after graduation?
I will be joining Amazon as a research scientist. I will be working on new devices that use cutting-edge ideas in artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our day-to-day tasks more efficient. I look forward to applying the knowledge I acquired over the course of my Ph.D. to my work at Amazon.

What are you most looking forward to about your job with Amazon?
As a researcher in academia, we rarely focus on how our research will be applied in the real world. At Amazon, I am excited to see how the ideas and problems that I work on will eventually impact the consumer in their everyday lives.

How do you think your experiences at the University of Illinois have shaped you as a researcher?
The University of Illinois has been a top school for electrical and computer engineering and attracts the best students from all over the world. The environment and the people I met and interacted with at CSL, along with the world-class faculty and courses at Illinois, have helped shape me into a good researcher.

What research that you’ve done at the University of Illinois and/or CSL are you most proud of?
During my stint at CSL, I worked on designing and fabricating in-memory computing integrated circuits. I was fortunate to be one of the earliest designers of such circuits. It was a privilege to be part of this research in Professor Shanbhag’s group. CSL has always been at the forefront of many important inventions, and I feel fortunate to have contributed to one such effort at CSL.

What advice would you give to current CSL students for the time they have left here?
I would ask the current students to dream big and take up challenging problems. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with the best minds in the world, and I would urge them to take advantage of that. Looking back, there were many challenges I faced that seem hard to overcome. Now, all those challenges have made me learn and be a better researcher overall.