(Note: This webpage has not been updated since June 2001)

S.Subramanya Sastry


Graduate Student
Computer Sciences Department
Email: sastry at cs dot wisc dot edu

3652, Engineering Hall


930, Jenifer St.
Madison, WI-53703

Phone: 608-250-4791

Links to sections on this page

Quick access links

Groups that I'm involved with

Friends of River Narmada
Asha for Education - Madison
Enron Action Group


Photographs that I clicked at the A16 action at Washington DC in April, 2000

Life at Hospet

I come from Hospet, a town in Karnataka , India . I spent the first 17 years of my life there. Did 12 years of my schooling there. For the record, I studied at Little Flowers Convent, Deepayan Secondary School and then Vijayanagara College.

Near Hospet(about 10 kms away) is Hampi , the ruins of the Vijayanagara Empire. Also, 5 kms away, is the Tungabhadra Dam, built across the Tungabhadra river.

Undergraduate Studies

I was an undergraduate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur , in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Those 4 years were wonderful. My photo album has a few photographs from that time. The IITK Class of '95 homepage has information about my classmates at IITK.

The folks at Silicon Automation Systems India (SASI) let me work with them for about 2.5 months during June-August 1995. I also did an internship with them the previous summer. During this time, I worked on developing data structures, algorithms and Motif-based GUIs for their applications. All this development was done in C++. At that time, they were going through the process of getting an ISO certification for software quality. As a result, I got exposed to good programming habits over there.

Graduate Studies

Currently, I am a 4th year graduate student in the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I got an MS from this department in May 1997. At this point, I am working towards a PhD. My advisor is Jim Smith.

Research Interests

Very broadly, my academic interests lie in the fields of Programming Languages and Compilers and Computer Architecture. Specifically, I am interested in studying how a close interaction between architectures and compilers can enable the use of useful programming language features and good programming practices without the performance hits that are normally associated with them (Example: inheritance and abstraction in object-oriented languages). The Self Project has demonstrated through the use of dynamic compilation and optimization techniques that it is possible to alleviate some of the performance penalties of object-oriented languages. I am interested in studying how the right kind of hardware support can enable the use of these and other adaptive optimization techniques for achieving higher performance. In our group, we are studying this in the context of virtual machines, specifically the Java VM.

Previously, I worked on compiler support for exploiting idle floating-point resources in a superscalar processor for executing integer codes. This work was presented at the PLDI '98 conference at Montreal. The paper can be accessed here.

From summer 1996 till summer 1998, I was a member of the Kestrel project in the Multiscalar group. As part of this project, I was involved in the hardware design of a four processing-element Multiscalar processor.

History of my association with Computer Science

So, how did I end up in Computer Science? It is a rather nerdy story and here it goes. It all started with a little pocket computer, Casio PB-110, that my father got me when I was in my 10th grade. It could be programmed using BASIC and had very little memory, 512 bytes or so, if I remember right. Over the next couple of years, I got access to x86 PCs and that is how I got hooked onto programming. Then, I read about Artificial Intelligence and got fascinated by the subject.

When I joined IIT, I could not get admission into Computer Science. Instead, I opted for Electrical Engineering. After the first year, I could change my major to Computer Science. Over those 3 years, for some reason, my interest in AI died out. Instead, I got fascinated by programming languages. At IIT, we were exposed to logic, functional and object-oriented languages. I did quite a bit of programming in Prolog and SML over there. I was especially impressed by the functional style of programming (after having programmed in C and spent tons of time staring at computer screens debugging pointer bugs). But, I was intrigued by the fact that very few people in industry used these languages for developing their software.

Then, I read about dataflow architectures and how they can help exploit lots of parallelism in programs and how they could support functional languages. So, that is how I first got interested in computer architecture. When I got into UW-Madison, I naturally got interested in this field, especially since UW does very good work in computer architecture.

Anyway, for quite some time, I see-sawed between Architecture and PL and what I wanted to concentrate on. At this point, I find myself equally interested in the developments of both fields.

Non Academic Pursuits

Asha for Education is a voluntary nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting basic education in India. There are a number of chapters (~35) in the US, India and other countries. There is a local chapter at Madison and is a registered student organization at UW-Madison. Asha-Madison has been around since 1995. I'm one of the many active members of this chapter. Please visit the websites for more information about the organization. Other than letting me do my little bit for the cause, it has also been a learning experience for me.


Recently, I have also taken a fancy to photography. I am still honing my skills in photography at this point. You can check out some of the snaps that I've clicked in the past (Photo scans) . This page has a collection of links (organized by category) that I find useful.

Sports and Games

Cricket is one of my favourite sports. I used to be a passionate fan of this game. Though I still follow the game, I'm not as passionate about it any longer. Back at IIT, I enjoyed playing phatta which is a tennis-ball version of cricket. My bookmarks have a few links to some cricket sites. In general, I like playing most sports and games (jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none!). During Fall '97 and Spring '98, some of our office people and a couple other guys formed an intramural volleyball team, the Blackholes. I enjoyed playing volleyball as part of this team.

I also like playing bridge. I first picked it up at Kanpur with a bunch of other guys at our hostel. After getting here, took a couple of bridge classes offered by ACBL (American Contract Bridge League).

Sometime around Spring '98, I took up jogging. I have been enjoying it so far. My goal is to participate in a half-marathon and finally, a marathon. Remains to be seen if I can get there.


I enjoy listening to music, anything that (I consider) sounds pleasant. Hence, I dont listen to hard rock or heavy metal. Check out the web page of the event listing of the music department of UW-Madison. They have many free concerts for students (as part of the guest artist and faculty concert series).


As far as reading goes, I am not a voracious reader. I've done my quota of reading pulp fiction novels. Of the pulp fiction books that I've read, Jeffrey Archer has been my favorite. Arthur Hailey comes a close second. Among the classics I've read, I liked novels by Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy a lot. At least until a couple of years back, I was not the greatest fan of fantasy or science fiction. But, I'll give them a try once again in the future. I read Vikram Seth's The Golden Gate recently and found it to be a wonderful book. Lately, I've developed an interest in non-fiction too. Talking of reading, Ramesh Mahadeven's articles make for some interesting reading.