A much-loved Stanford University professor from India, Motwani wanted to be mathematician, opted for Computer Sciences out of compulsion and discovered that his love for numbers found perfect expression in machines. The success stories at Google, Paypal, Sequoia Capital are all a reflection of what the man stood for. Born in Jammu and Kashmir, Motwani’s schooled at Delhi’s St Columbus, graduated at IIT- Kanpur and acquired his doctrate from University of California, Berkeley. He won Godel Prize in 2001 for his work on the PCP theorem and its applications to hardness of approximation.
"Officially, Rajeev was not my advisor, and yet he played just as big a role in my research, education, and professional development," Google co-founder Sergey Brin wrote in his blog Friday hours after Motwani, 47, was declared dead. "In addition to being a brilliant computer scientist, Rajeev was a very kind and amicable person and his door was always open. No matter what was going on with my life or work, I could always stop by his office for an interesting conversation and a friendly smile," Brin wrote. Inspiration for GoogleMotwani relocated to the US in the mid-1980s, later serving as the director of graduate studies for the computer science department. It is here that he mentored many start-ups and proved to be a major catalysts in the Silicon Valley developments.Silicon Valley gurus credit Motwani with impacting products and companies significantly. Michael Arrington, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the blog TechCrunch said Brin and Page always gave Motwani significant credit for helping them create what would eventually become Google. It was a 1998 paper called ''What Can You Do With A Web In Your Pocket'' by Brin, Motwani, Page and Terry Winograd that became the basis for Google. In the paper, the quartet said they intended to ''take advantage of the link structure of the Web to produce a global 'importance' ranking of every web page.'' They said this ranking, called PageRank, helps search engines and users quickly make sense of the vast heterogeneity of the World Wide Web.