By Meredith Dault
24 October 2011
As a Master’s student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Dhyanesh Chaudhari spends his days figuring out what causes software to crash. But after putting in eight hour stretches daily at the lab, Chaudhari says he wanted an off-hours activity that would keep him engaged and learning, but that would give him a break from his routine research. “Some people play video games,” he laughs, “but I was looking to do something else.”
That’s when his supervisor, Dr. Mohammad Zulkernine, who is with the School of Computing, passed along an email from a Kingstonian and part-time student looking to partner with a programmer. Michael La Fleur, who regularly used ‘Blackberry Messenger’ with his smartphone, wanted to design an ‘app’ that would help him connect with other BBM users. He just didn’t have the technical smarts he knew he needed.
Chaudhari, who grew up in Brampton and got interested in computing after taking a couple of classes in high school, had never designed a Blackberry ‘app’ but knew he had found the challenge he was looking for. He contacted La Fleur and the two hit it off, setting to work developing their idea. Estimating that he spent between 300 and 500 hours on the project over the summer, their ‘app’, know as Lynked, was approved and launched by Blackberry in mid-September where it is quickly gathering users who can download it for free.
As Chaudhari explains, Lynked works by looking at your list of friends on Facebook. “It then looks at how many of your friends have the same app,” he explains, “and then it makes suggestions. For example, your friend Joe has Blackberry BBM. Do you have him on your list? If not, you can add him.” If someone adds you, you get an invitation on your phone telling you that someone wants to add you to their BBM network.
Chaudhari says now that Lynked is now being used by users in more than 50 different countries -- with more joining by the day -- he’s ready to put his focus back on his own research. “I have to graduate on-time!” he exclaims.
“My current research is to rank the component in software in terms of their reliability,” he says, “and then to figure out what the most unreliable component are,” -- a process that is particularly vital in an era of growing ‘cloud computing’, where millions of users might be depending on the same piece of software.
Working on an accelerated time-line, Chaudhari says he hopes to finish his Master’s by December -- a period of just 16 months. He has his sights set on working for a technology company where he use his creativity -- the way he has with both his academic work and with the Lynked app. “I want to work for a company where you can apply your own ideas,” he says, “and not just a nine to five job. This project proves that I am creative and that I can handle my own projects.”