Kanishk Vashisht | Hacking Global Challenges

Before coming to Columbia this fall, Kanishk Vashisht was already an accomplished innovator in New Delhi: he’d co-created a device using ultra-sound imaging and pitch-varied tones to help visually impaired people navigate spaces and a web app called Proudify empowering users to add LGBTQ-friendly rainbow filters to images on social media. Kanishk had also co-founded and led HackIndia, which organized his nation’s largest hackathon.

Having chosen Columba Engineering for its diversity, research opportunities, and chances to work closely with renowned faculty, he hopes to harness advanced computer science to help solve enormous global problems, from more efficient solar panels and electric cars to better compression algorithms helping data farms save energy. He’s already putting together a hackathon on campus, Columbia Impact, bringing together students in computer science and business.

“Engineering can be used to reduce the great inequalities that the world faces today,” Kanishk says. “Contrary to what a lot of people think, there isn’t always one correct answer, but many ways to approach a problem. It’s fascinating seeing how people come up with different solutions and then amalgamate them to find a solution that works best.”

In his free time, Kanishk is interested in music, finance, and Arsenal Football Club (“soccer,” he explains). After Columbia, he plans to tackle challenging algorithms at a high-frequency trading firm, and would also like to work with clean energy non-profits to promote sustainability.

By Jesse Adams

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