Dhruv Purushotham

B.S.A.E. 2018

What is your next adventure?

Barring any surprises, and I don't see any, I will be continuing my work in graduate school studying under Prof. Oefelein in the high-performance computing lab. I plan to focus on improving simulations techniques for complex fluid flows.  Before I begin my studies, however, I will be taking a brief break in New Zealand, which is my home.

What about your next adventure are you most looking forward to?

I want to become a research scientist. I've always wanted to become a research scientist. I love the subject matter - planes and rockets are cool -- and I want to be able to research because I see it as a realistic and fulfilling way to use what talents I have. It is also a great platform on which to change the world for the better.

Did you have any previous co-op, internship, or research experience in this area?

I started out in the physics department, freshman year, doing experimental work where I took measurements of siliconphoto-multipliers. I was a co-author of a peer-reviewed paper, which was a great experience. After that, I  began an undergraduate research project with Prof. Sankar  that focused on computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The skills I developed there led to a global internship at the Indian Institute of Science where I was validating a CFD solver that was under development. After that I received a PURA to do research on accelerating code using advanced computer architectures. I was able to run codes more quickly on the Summit computer that is located at Oakridge National Labs.

How did your educational experience at Georgia Tech help you to achieve your goals?

In some ways, Tech has given me everything. I knew I liked physics, rockets, and planes when I got here, but I didn't know where to take that. At Tech there were people - like Dr. Sankar who introduced me to the BS/MS Honors Program, and Dr. Seitzman, who always helped me refine my questions, and Dr. Oefelein, who gave me access to the Summit computer - they gave me advice that gave me a perspective on what was possible. And I would never have had a prayer of using the Summit if it weren't for Dr. Oefelein,

What advice would you give to an underclassman who would like to follow the same path?

In my case, I had a goal, and I didn't know how to get there as an international student. The best thing I did was to reach out. The advice I'd give to anyone in my situation is to talk to the professors whose research interests you. Ask them how they defined their own path. They were undergrads once, too, and they have knowledge of a wide number of research areas and industry needs. They can help you find your way.