Ajay Bhatt

Computer Architect, Intel

Santa Clara, CA

Ajay Bhatt is perhaps one of the most respected inventors in today’s world. His creations have defined the world we live in and simultaneously eased the way of life dramatically.

Bhatt was born in India and completed his graduation from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda. Bhatt joined Intel in 1990 shortly after completed his master’s degree from the City University of New York.

As a senior staff architect on the chipset architecture team, Bhatt had several responsibilities. But it was the creation of the USB (Universal Serial Bus) that earned him his recognition. Along with his team, Bhatt was able to standardize connection between different computers.

Bhatt has, on several occasions, reiterated this was far from easy. Not only from the technological context, but from the administrative and competitive ones, his team met with several hurdles. “Initially, it was difficult for them to understand the merits. We had a big tent and we included everybody, we listened to everybody’s inputs and tried to address them to the best of our abilities and that’s why USB is successful”, Bhatt confessed in 2013. It’s never easy to bring about radical change, especially in an industry with several big players. But since USB not only solved connection problems, but massively increased customer satisfaction, it was tempting to many companies. Bhatt explained how Compaq – now owned by Hewlett-Packard – was concerned with its dropping customer satisfaction ratings and hence got on board with USB. Further, it helped computer hardware manufacturers save money.

The success and application of the USB has been inconceivable. Even Bhatt originally thought of this being a one off $40 million opportunity. We have seen several models in almost 2 decades, with each surpassing the other in quality, processing speed and utility. Brilliantly enough, this evolution has not rendered the older versions useless. One can still use a USB 1 or a USB 2.0 on any modern computer. Such was the ‘open standard’ that Bhatt at first conceived and made true.

Bhatt’s first invention was a huge one to live up to. He certainly made a name for himself, not only in his industry, but ironically in pop-culture. He was often referred to as the “Rockstar” after Intel debuted their commercials. But Bhatt stayed focused on how to find new methods of making life simpler and more inter-connected.

Bhatt’s next breakthrough came with the PCI Express. The ‘Peripheral Component Interconnect Express’ was the new alternative to its less-sophisticated predecessors. It would enable higher maximum bus throughput, smaller physical foot-printing, better performance scaling, all at higher-speeds. Today, in virtually, all modern computers PCIe serves a critical role – serving as the primary motherboard-level interconnect.

Bhatt’s career has seemingly had one goal – improve what’s been improved, perfect what’s been perfected, and find easy/convenient solutions to some of the toughest computing problems. It is, hence, no surprise that he holds over 30 patents, with several more in the pipeline.

References

Glass, Nick, and Matthew Knight. “How USB Turned Intel’s Ajay Bhatt into Rock Star.” CNN. Cable News Network, 26 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/26/tech/innovation/usb-intel-billion-seller/index.html>.

“Indian Inventor Ajay Bhatt Honoured for Developing USB.” Gadgets Now. Times of India, 29 May 2013. Web. 12 Feb. 2015. <http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/computing/Indian-inventor-Ajay-Bhatt-honoured-for-developing-USB/articleshow/20332592.cms>.

N.d. PCWorld. By Gordon Mah Ung. Web. 14 Jan. 2017. <http://www.pcworld.com/article/2999836/components/happy-birthday-usb-the-standard-turns-20-and-proud-inventor-ajay-bhatt-tells-all.html>.

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