About

Welcome to my website. In case you are wondering about my name, you can call me Sruti (pronounced as /ʃrut̪i/ or sh-ru-thi).

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Calc Intelligence group at Microsoft Research, Cambridge, United Kingdom, where I research various topics in end-user programming on spreadsheets. My current fancy is data analysis and formula authoring in Excel, spreadsheet comprehension, and spreadsheet errors.

Before I joined Microsoft Research, I spent 5 years at Oregon State University, USA, getting my PhD in Computer Science. I was advised by the awesome Margaret Burnett. My dissertation title “variations foraging” said that Information Foraging Theory was also valid even when the information that a person foraged in was all very similar to each other (e.g., different copies of code doing slightly different things). Only, people’s information foraging strategies were different from when they foraged among largely unique information (different pages of a website, or different methods of a program).

Along the way, I also got a Masters from Oregon State. My MS Thesis was all about what software developers do with their version control tools — how they commit their changes, what information they seek, what problems they face, and what information foraging theory has to say about designing better version control tools.

Before grad school, I was a software developer at ThoughtWorks. I still see myself as a developer and don’t leave a chance to write code to do my things (e.g., prototype, analyze data).

When I am not doing something related to Computer Science, I am reading on Indian history, philosophy, textiles, arts and mythology. I’m also a Sanskrit teacher and student. My recent fun activity is the study of Panini’s Ashtadhyayi (in bits and blobs) and Valmiki Ramayana in its original, along with its Sanskrit commentaries. They’re both mind-blowing in the sheer amount of meticulousness in the writing (no unsubstantiated claims, discussion of alternative claims and exceptions, unambiguous and all that we think is a hallmark of good research writing).

When I’m not doing any of this, I love bothering my husband, giving close friends and family a hard time, taking long walks, daydreaming, writing and doing Nothing.

Useless facts: I read, write and speak two ancient classical languages, Tamil and Sanskrit.

I’m married to Dr. Sudarshan Narayanan, a materials scientist, violinist and Sanskrit teacher.