Carnegie Mellon University

Yogesh (Yogi) Venkata Gopalan (M.S. December ’14)

Yogi Class
Yogi worked for five years after he completed his undergraduate degree before returning to school at Carnegie Mellon University. He worked at Ericsson for two years, and then he worked in a laboratory setting at his dad’s manufacturing hardware company for high voltage transmission lines. After working in industry, Yogi was interested in pursuing an interdisciplinary academic program focused on energy. Although he considered many different schools, he found that CMU’s EST&P program offered one of the few programs that would allow him to focus on energy control and demand, rather than supply. He was also happy to learn that there would be other students his age—the EST&P students range in age from 22 to 32.

Yogi was fortunate to have enrolled in excellent courses that helped form a cohesive trajectory throughout the EST&P program. For example, although graduate-level Power System Economics and Artificial Intelligence classes may sound wholly unrelated, they actually both require similar techniques and understanding of the market. Yogi makes the statement that sometimes you just “have to bite your teeth and learn.” In fact, his advice to perspective students is to “take one course that is completely outside of your comfort zone but that you still find interesting. This challenge will help you understand how you perceive and attack a new problem.” Following his own advice, Yogi’s favorite two classes were beyond his comfort level: graduate Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Embedded Systems.

The CMU Intelligent Workplace (IW) hired Yogi for a summer internship between his second and third semesters. During his time with the IW, Yogi was able to work on a variety of projects and to see new technology. One of his first assignments was to get three different plug-load measuring devices from different vendors to work together. Another project involved Microsoft’s launch of a cloud-based machine learning tool. Yogi was thrilled to interact with and learn from everyone at the IW. The most valuable part of Yogi’s experience at CMU was what he learned from students, faculty, and staff outside of his courses. He enjoys being exposed to a wide variety of topics, so that he could at least learn the keywords relevant to a particular field. One project that he worked on under Jovan Ilic, Ph.D., an electrical engineering professor, and Azizan Aziz, Ph.D., a professor at the school of architecture, was focused on building hardware to control all the systems installed in a building: lighting, heating, window shades, etc. Several spinoff companies have formed as a result of this project, and this topic has truly resonated with him.

Yogi recently joined Lutron Electronics as a Design and Development Engineer in Coopersburg, PA. Lutron Electronics is a privately held company that specializes in lighting and environmental control systems. Yogi’s goal is to eventually start his own manufacturing company, perhaps relating to agriculture and the food industry. Like many engineers, he enjoys having a tangible product result from his hard work.