# Sitemap

A list of all the posts and pages found on the site. For you robots out there is an XML version available for digesting as well.

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## Lone Lorn Creature

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I have recently had the immense pleasure of reading Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield. The book comes highly recommended by critics and several Top Lists. In fact, Charles Dickens himself said that David Copperfield was his favorite of all the books he had written. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Turns out, there are several similarities between the Victorian English and present day Indian society. Neither seem very pleasant for women to thrive. I do not understand why women in that era died so readily, often due to poor treatment at the hand of men around them. I am not sure if this was how it was or if writers potrayed women this way. For instance, Dora Spenlow seems to die quite quickly in this book, primarily afflicted by an unhappy marriage.

## Seeking Perfection

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I have this tendency to try to do things meticulously. I sometimes seek perfection in mundane tasks. For instance, I keep thinking, I need to read a particular celebrated author very carefully. I need a physical copy of the book to be able to underline beautiful prose, think deeply about the ideas and then write about them in my journal or blog. Over time, I have realized that adding this barrier of reading very carefully made me read a lot lesser. “Perfect” settings for reading were hard to come by. I don’t often have hours to sit and underline things while sipping on the perfect cup of cappuccino in a dimly lit cafe. While it would be lovely to have that perfect setting, I realized, I cannot let phases of my life not be enriched by books just because I am seeking the “perfect way” of reading.

## Brave Face

less than 1 minute read

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I locked away some things and told myself I couldn’t face them just yet. But, I want to start the new year with strength and bravery. However small this act might be, I am glad to have the courage for it. So, for the first time since September, I got myself to look at some photographs I took in Paris. I remember the emotions that went through me as I darted about on a cold Paris afternoon, missing the warmth of the jacket I had forgotten at home, taking pictures. I remember my idle thoughts at that time, things that bothered me. I am happy knowing I have changed so much since and I believe I have changed for the better.

## Sherlock Holmes and Measurement

less than 1 minute read

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While preparing my lodgings for an extended period of paper writing that awaits me, I started listening to Stephen Fry’s reading of Sherlock Holmes books. I paused the audio when Holmes says this:

## Partial reading list for 2019

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As this year comes to a close, I find myself dwelling on things I want to do better in the next year. I have a list of things that I plan to do more or less of in 2019 but that list is still work in progress. Today, I am planning my reading for the next few months.

## My neural network is training

less than 1 minute read

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While that deep neural network is training, I’ll up my knitting game.

## The importance of arguing right

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Daughter of a lawyer and an avid debater from the age of 13, I think I am fairly vocal about my opinions. Often, friends and colleagues disagree with my opinions. Voicing such disagreements on matters of social, political, scientific or philosophical nature is a healthy and productive use of one’s time. These debates can help people gather more information, appreciate a different dimension of the problem, etc.

## Airport Security

less than 1 minute read

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You think you are making progress, looking like you know what you’re doing in life. But then just when you feel sure, a lady at the airport security desk looks at you for five seconds and asks “Are you above 18?” There has to be a way of fixing this.

## Last Impressions

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Several platitudes remark on the importance of first impressions. They highlight how important first impressions are, how one must be good at making them. I have come to realize that more important than first impressions are last impressions. It is somewhat obvious, last impressions convey the final word, set the tone of how we remember people, places and things. Unlike first impressions, where much can be changed, last impressions aren’t open to fixing. Yet, last impressions are often chosen with the least care. As humans, we often burn bridges while quitting on engagements, both personal and professional. I feel saddened when I observe such choices made around me.

## How to pick an Airbnb?

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If you are traveling to a city you haven’t been to before and are faced with the challenge of finding a good Airbnb there, I want to share with you my trick for picking suitable Airbnbs to maximize happiness.

## Mailbox of Joy

less than 1 minute read

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Long ago, a friend gave this bit of professional advice. He said, I should keep a folder in my mailbox for all the positive emails I have ever received: paper acceptances, internship offers, compliments on my research, etc. He said this while he dealt with the humbling realities of hunting for academic jobs. While I have not experienced the hardships of hunting for academic jobs myself, I am going to make such a “happiness folder” in my mailbox to find instant motivation when I need it!

## Goodbye, Fall

less than 1 minute read

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Here is a picture of the last day of Fall before snow came down with bitter cold:

## Lending reality, not order, to memory

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I once knew a friend for a short but significant duration in my life. I never met them but they made pleasant a turbulent phase with discussions about tea and a quote I have come to revist time and again. This quote comes from West with the Night by Beryl Markham. It goes like:

## The Baker’s Apprentice

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You might already know that I adore baked goods. My love for them is poetic. There is nothing prettier than a piece of light, fluffy vanilla cake with bits of raspberry in it. My host in Bellevue (Peter, you’re awesome and I miss you) last summer once baked these delicious raspberry and date muffins. I have vivid memories of devouring those while struggling with the intricacies of networks’ peering policies. Such fond memories.

## Things we do for good coffee

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Our lab has a nice Breville espresso machine which comes with a burr grinder built in. We like it. Since its arrival in the lab space, I make way fewer pour-over style cups of joe. I still love my aeropress and Hario v60 but am definitely partial to a good shot of espresso. How much do we love having the coffee machine? So much so that some days I drag myself out of bed to come and have nice coffee in the lab. We are amateur baristas, caffeine addicts and connoiseurs, all at the same time. Here is a sample of some fine latte art from the budding baristas in the Calipr research lab:

## Bottle of Olympia Royale

less than 1 minute read

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That bottle of Olympia Royale tea, the one I thought I was going to enjoy after coming home. The bottle that had hopes associated with it. The one I couldn’t hold, the one I couldn’t open, the one I couldn’t savor. I tried to buy it again only to find it is now sold out online too. Unavailable, indefinitely.

## Diwali!

less than 1 minute read

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I hardly ever thought about festivals. I have been away from my family home since I was 17. Initially in India, far from family traditions and now in the US, especially so. This is the first time I am thinking of Diwali and its celebration. This is the first time I am missing the lights and the rangolis. Maybe, I will find my old kurtis from 2015 and try them on again today to revisit the festival of lights. To those sharing my nostalgia, here’s hoping the Diwali diyas of bygone days remind you of the goodness in the world.

## Dinner time biking

less than 1 minute read

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I biked to Whole Foods to get groceries today. While there, I got tempted to get dinner to avoid cooking. This is becoming a nasty habit. Sadly I have been bad, mostly eating out and avoiding cooking for weeks now. But, this is a problem for future me. Today, I got my groceries at Whole Foods and packed a slice of pizza for dinner.

## Measuring Time in Fallen Leaves

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Now listening to this, staring at the leaves fall.

## UMass, please pay me.

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Update: On October 19, 2018, UMass finally paid me! Hurray! Eyeing those fancy calligraphy sets to celebrate the richness!

## Pata Hai?

less than 1 minute read

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Recently, I seem to have lost the ability to voice my opinions about life in general to a person. I don’t think I valued this enough while I had it. My musings were often preceded by the phrase “Pata hai..” (meaning “Do you know?”) and consisted of views on the banalities of life, science, research, etc. Now, I will chronicle these musings on my blog. It is like crowdsourcing the effort of listening to me, onto you, my readers!

## Teeny Tiny Steps

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I love grocery shopping. There is something therapeutic about it. Not because it is shopping, I don’t find shopping for clothes fun. But groceries have untapped potential. They are precursors to delicious meals, raw material for culinary adventures about to unfold. I look forward to going to the Trader Joe’s in Hadley and getting a week’s sustenance. An added advantage is that until the brutal New England winter strikes Amherst, I can bike on the Norwuttuck Rail Trail to get to Trader Joe’s. This trail will get a special mention in my thesis if and when I graduate from the PhD program. Here is why:

## Yoga and questionable music choices

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After several failed attempts, I finally went for my first yoga class in over a month. It isn’t that I was particularly lazy. I spent a month with my family in India and found it hard to keep practicing when I had very little control over my life. I finally came back in the beginning of this month but life circumstances since have made even eating one meal a day challenging. But yesterday, resolved to start a routine, I left for my favorite Yoga teacher’s class at the Amherst Yoga Center at 5.30 PM. To my dismay, my bike had a flat tire so I skipped the yoga class to walk my bike to a bike shop which is close to home. But this failed attempt at re-starting my Yoga routine only strengthened my resolve.

## Short Coffee Tour In Brooklyn

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I was a staunch believer of “It’s Always Tea Time”. But then graduate school started and I felt the need for something stronger. That and the deliciousness of coffee. So I am largely a coffee person now. Its nice to be a coffee addict when staying in the vicinity of NYC. The city is full of cute little cafes that serve artisan coffee in a cozy setting. So this weekend we did a short coffee tour in Brooklyn. It was short because we covered only 3 cafes in the entire day. But the idea was to spend time reading in each of the cafes and enjoy the ambiance along with the coffee. This post is a story with pictures that hopefully captures the spirit of my coffee tour.

## Between Semesters

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I am in the place after the end of a semester and close to the beginning of the next. The semester break begins with the uncontrollable joy of having survived and the glowing hope of planned productivity. Or so it started for me.

## Student Again! Settling in at SUNY, Stony Brook

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Until recently, I was a software developer working on routing protocols at Arista Networks. I had a lot of fun working for Arista. The work was challenging, I was learning new things and the stock options were insane! With the comfort of it all, I had a nice place stocked with plenty of books and cute little cafes in my neighborhood. Here’s a picture of my living room from that time:

## It’s Always Tea Time

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On an average working day, I have at least 3 cups of tea without sugar with very little or no milk. Weekends are more relaxed, I make a pot full and keep sipping tea to fill the interstices of my day. Recently, I read this article about ways of brewing tea. More than the style of making the perfect cuppa, I was amazed to know both George Orwell and Douglas Adams were passionate tea drinkers. In his essay, A Nice Cup of Tea, Orwell says,

## Getting Things Done

less than 1 minute read

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## Source Code Browsing In Emacs

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Its extremely important to be able to navigate a large code base effectively. I have been taking good tools for source code navigation for granted at my workplace. But most of my personal, side projects were small enough for me to get by without such tools. Either that or I was being lazy.

## The New Interface

less than 1 minute read

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In order to generate BIND files for PDNS configuration the weight, priority and port corresponding to each server entry is also required. So, I added those fields in the web application and the corresponding fields in the SQLite database. Here is a screenshot of the new interface:

## Generating PDNS Config File: Optimization

less than 1 minute read

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Taking up the issue stated in the last post, in this post I will elaborate on the optimization that reduced the time taken for generating the mapfile from 5 hours to one second approximately.

## Generating PDNS Config File: Part 2

less than 1 minute read

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In this post I will describe recent changes to the Flask webapp. On clicking the Plot Voronoi button, it also generates the map file pdns.config that maps networks to mirror servers’ pseudo IPs.

## Removing a Mirror Server from the Database

less than 1 minute read

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From where I left last week, I added checkboxes for every entry (mirror server) and made all of them submit to the /delete URL when the Delete Selected button is clicked. Then, in the delete method, I checked the entries for which the checkbox was checked and deleted them from the database.

## Adding a Mirror Server to Database

less than 1 minute read

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This tiny post shows how to add a server titled Test with a URL google.com. Here is the confirmation screen with the entry added!

## Flask Web Application

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In this post, I will describe the Web application I have setup. This application basically uses a Sqlite3 database to store the information of all the CVMFS servers. It shows the list of servers currently in database. If the user is logged in, he/she can add to the list of servers. They only need to add the name of the server and the URL. Then the application performs a GeoIP look-up and adds the server’s latitude and longitude to the database.

## Generating PDNS Config Files: Part1

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While setting up PowerDNS with geobackend, there are a few configuration files that need to be supplied. In this post, I will talk about how I am trying to generate the geo-ip-map-zonefile.

## Annotated Map Plots

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It was getting hard to debug the code which was calculating the networks allocated to each Voronoi cell. So I added annotations to the map to make it easy to decipher which server is named what.

## Buckets of Networks

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This is in continuation with the previous post: Data Visualization: Part 3. In the Python application that generates Voronoi polygons for the server locations, I needed to find how many networks in the world lie in which Voronoi cell. So here’s what I did:

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## Visualization for Offline Purposes

While the JavaScript visualization described in Data Visualization: Part 2 works within the browser, there is a need for building an application that allows manipulation of the mirror server data along with visualizing it. So, in this post, I will describe the construction of Voronoi diagrams in Python.

## Visualizing Data: Part 2

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This post is in continuation to the [Visualizing Data: Part 1] (http://racheesingh.github.com/2012/06/09/visualizing-data-part-1/) post. That post was about plotting the locations of servers on a world map (using JavaScript and the third part library d3.js). In this post, I will use d3.js’s built-in functions to plot the Voronoi diagrams, dividing the map into regions/cells.

## Visualizing Data: Part 1

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In this post, I am trying to visualize some data on a map to get a fair idea of how things are distributed.

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## Domain Name System (DNS)

DNS is a distributed database containing names and addresses of all reachable hosts on the Internet. While attempting to connect to a domain name (for instance: www.google.com), a host first checks its hosts file (for instance: /etc/hosts) for an entry corresponding to the domain name. If this entry is not in the hosts file, the host sends a query to its primary DNS name server. If the primary name server does not have the appropriate record, it forwards the query to a server higher in the domain name hierarchy [1].

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## What is CERN VM File System?

CERN VM File System is a client server file system developed to deliver software distributions onto virtual machines in a fast, scalable and reliable way.

## GSoC 2012 with CERN SFT

less than 1 minute read

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As a part of Google Summer of Code 2012 I am working on a project with CERN SFT as the mentoring organization. The project is titled “Continuous cartography of public network services”. In this project I will be working on an algorithm that maps IP addresses of CERN Virtual Machine File System clients to mirror servers in such a way that network latency is reduced. I would also be building a web application to allow administrators to dynamically add/remove mirror servers. The application should allow for visualization of mirror locations across the globe on a Google/OpenStreet map.

## Portfolio item number 1

Short description of portfolio item number 1

## Portfolio item number 2

Short description of portfolio item number 2

## The Politics of Routing: Investigating the Relationship Between AS Connectivity and Internet Freedom

Published in USENIX Free and Open Communications on the Internet, 2016

## Characterizing the Nature and Dynamics of Tor Exit Blocking

Published in USENIX Security 2017, 2017

## Run, Walk, Crawl: Towards Dynamic Link Capacities

Published in ACM HotNets 2017, 2017

## RADWAN: Rate Adaptive Wide Area Network

Published in SIGCOMM 2018, 2018

## Characterizing the performance and deployment of Multi-CDNs

Published in ACM IMC 2018, 2018

## Talk 1 on Relevant Topic in Your Field

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This is a description of your talk, which is a markdown files that can be all markdown-ified like any other post. Yay markdown!

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## Conference Proceeding talk 3 on Relevant Topic in Your Field

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This is a description of your conference proceedings talk, note the different field in type. You can put anything in this field.

## Teaching experience 1

Undergraduate course, University 1, Department, 2014

This is a description of a teaching experience. You can use markdown like any other post.

## Teaching experience 2

Workshop, University 1, Department, 2015

This is a description of a teaching experience. You can use markdown like any other post.