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Rajesh P. N. Rao was born in Madras (now Chennai) and grew up in Hyderabad, India where he graduated from Kendriya Vidyalaya Kanchanbagh (a Central Government school). During high school, he  obtained 2nd rank in science in the nation in 10th grade board exams and was selected as one of five high school students from India to participate in the 1987 Research Science Institute (RSI) summer program: as part of RSI, he was fortunate to get his first taste of scientific research when he worked in a lab experimenting with high-temperature superconductivity at the University of Maryland, College Park, and his article Epitaxy of high-t_c superconductors was selected for a best paper award.

Rajesh Rao received a Robert and Nona Carr academic scholarship to attend Angelo State University, a Texas State university, where he graduated summa cum laude with a double major in computer science and mathematics, and a minor in physics.


He received his M.S. and PhD degrees from the University of Rochester and was an Alfred P. Sloan postdoctoral fellow at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies before joining the University of Washington as an assistant professor in Computer Science and Engineering in 2000. He is currently the CJ and Elizabeth Hwang Professor in Computer Science and Engineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering, and co-Director of the Center for Neurotechnology.


Rajesh is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholar award, an NSF CAREER award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, a Sloan Faculty Fellowship, and a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering. He is the author of the textbook Brain-Computer Interfacing (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and co-editor of two volumes, Probabilistic Models of the Brain (MIT Press, 2002) and Bayesian Brain (MIT Press, 2007).


Rajesh's research spans the areas of computational neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and brain-computer interfacing. He also works on the 4000-year-old Indus script (on which he has given a TED talk) and studies classical Indian painting.

With Francis Crick, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, during tea at Terry Sejnowski's lab at the Salk Institute (as a postdoc in 1998). Click here for details. 

With Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, August 30, 2002. Click here for details.

From the TED 2011 conference program. Click here for the TED talk.



Computational Neuroscience

1997 - 2000

Salk Institute for Biological Studies, California

Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow

Brain-Computer Interfaces

Artificial Intelligence

The Indus Script

1992 - 1997

University of Rochester, New York

PhD and MS in Computer Science

1988 - 1992

Angelo State University, Texas

BS summa cum laude in Computer Science & Mathematics

Classical Indian Paintings

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