The Tale of Tenacity: Somdip Dey's Technological Journey for Change
Somdip Dey, FRSA
Lurking behind the scenes of revolutionary technologies and social enterprise, Somdip Dey, a Professor of Practice in AI/ML at Woxsen University and the Chief Executive Officer of Nosh Technologies, has been actively shifting paradigms, yet remaining relatively unknown within the public sphere. His inspiring story reveals an ambitious innovator from Kolkata, India, who is steadfastly striving to effect palpable change in the world.
Born in Kolkata, Dey's academic journey began at St. Xavier's College where he graduated in 2012. He made waves during his tenure by introducing a ground-breaking system that employed QR codes to ensure the authenticity of degree transcripts and certificates, a methodology that would eventually be mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC) in a bid to prevent degree forgeries.
In 2013, Dey ventured to the United Kingdom, setting his sights on a Master's degree from the esteemed University of Manchester. Tragically, in 2014, during his academic pursuit, his parents were involved in a severe accident in India. The distressing incident necessitated the diversion of all his personal funds to India for their medical treatment. Left without the means to feed himself, Dey found himself resorting to the unsavoury practice of dumpster diving to ward off starvation.
This first-hand experience of hunger and food wastage sparked the genesis of a revolutionary idea. Alongside his academic peers, Dey co-developed the world’s first crowd- food sharing platform in 2014. This open-source platform aimed to connect people with surplus food to those in need in their vicinity. In the following years Dey's innovative solution inspired entrepreneurs globally to join the fight against food wastage.
Upon his graduation from the University of Manchester, Dey transitioned into the professional realm, accepting a role as a Software Engineer. This move was largely necessitated by his family’s financial strains, exacerbated by his father’s paralysis resulting from the accident. Unmoved by the unsuccessful efforts of Indian doctors to restore his father's mobility, Dey sought to take matters into his own hands. He relinquished his corporate role to join a funded PhD programme at the University of Essex, where he focused on developing embedded machine learning techniques in embedded robotic systems aimed at rehabilitation – a direct response to his personal experiences.
In a recent episode of the Phd - The Philosophical Drama show, hosted by Amogh Aparna Maheshchandra, Dey revealed that his driving motivation was the potential to harness technology in meaningful ways that could enhance lives and societies. This ethos is reflected in his endeavours, from fighting hunger to improving physical rehabilitation.
During his PhD stint in 2020, amidst the backdrop of the global COVID pandemic, Dey recognised an increase in household food wastage due to the fluctuating shopping schedules. This observation led him to co-develop the Nosh app, the world's first AI- powered food management and waste reduction application. This innovative solution aimed to curb household food wastage.
The success of the Nosh app culminated in the co-founding of Nosh Technologies alongside Suman Saha. The company is a deep-tech firm dedicated to fostering sustainability in the Agri-Supply Chain through technology.
Dey explained that his intention behind the commercialisation of the Nosh app was to generate revenue that could be reinvested into further development of food waste reduction technologies worldwide. His remarkable contributions have garnered recognition, including being named an 'Outstanding Achiever' at the 2023 India UK Achievers Honours, sharing the accolade with noted personalities such as Parineeti Chopra, Raghav Chadha, and Adar Poonawalla. Dey has also been recognised as an 'MIT Innovator Under 35' in AI/Robotics in Europe, and as an 'Under 40 Sustainability Star' by CorpStage.
Juggling his roles as CEO of Nosh Technologies, Professor at Woxsen University, and Lecturer of Computer Science at the University of Essex, Dey remains committed to mentoring the next generation. He believes that his role as an educator provides the unique opportunity to guide students towards successful careers in technology, as he himself was guided by influential academics in his early career. In the interview, Dey credits his academic success to Dr Asoke Nath of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, Professor Steve Furber of the University of Manchester, and Dr Amit Kumar Singh and Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier of the University of Essex.
Now at the age of 32, this relentless innovator continues to strive towards developing technologies and teaching, with the hope to inspire future generations of technologists. The journey of Somdip Dey serves as a testament to the power of perseverance, innovation, and the profound impact of leveraging technology for the benefit of society.
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