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Meet Prafulla Dhariwal, the Indian brain behind OpenAI's GPT-4o

Sam Altman-led OpenAI has created a lot of buzz around the company's recent launch of GPT-4o.  The man who reportedly steered the ambitious new project of OpenAI is Prafulla Dhariwal, an Indian scientist who has received praise from Altman himself.

Meet Prafulla Dhariwal, the Indian brain behind OpenAI's GPT-4o gcw
First Published May 17, 2024, 6:06 PM IST

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has praised Indian prodigy Prafulla Dhariwal with the successful rollout of the company's most recent flagship AI model, GPT-4o.  The new model has been widely hailed for how it engages in fluid conversations, addresses user issues, perceives surroundings and gives outputs based on its understanding. The AI model can translate speech in real time, take notes, solve math problems, and can even sing.

Altman declared on X (formerly Twitter) that ChatGPT 4o would not have been feasible without Dhariwal. But who is he?

Dhariwal, a native of Pune, has long been acknowledged for his academic and scientific contributions. In 2009, he earned the Government of India's National Talent Search Scholarship, demonstrating his early promise. That same year, he won a gold medal in the International Astronomy Olympiad in China. His run of success continued with gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2012 and the International Physics Olympiad in 2013.

Dhariwal has a solid academic record as well. This includes an exceptional score of 295 out of 300 in the physics-chemistry-mathematics (PCM) group on his Class XII test. He also performed well in admission tests, achieving 190 in the Maharashtra Technical Common admission Test (MT-CET) and an impressive 330 out of 360 in the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Mains).

In 2013, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) awarded Dhariwal the annual Abasaheb Naravane memorial prize in appreciation of his academic achievements.

Dhariwal went on to get a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science (Mathematics) at the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating in 2017 with a 5.0/5.0 GPA. His experience with OpenAI began in May 2016 as a research intern. He progressed through the ranks to become a research scientist. His noteworthy contributions include GPT-3, the breakthrough text-to-image platform DALL-E 2, the creative music generator Jukebox, and the reversible generative model Glow.

The debut of GPT-4o at OpenAI's Spring Update event demonstrated the model's sophisticated reasoning skills spanning speech, text, and visual, establishing a new benchmark in AI technology. This is OpenAI's first step into natively multimodal models, accomplished under Dhariwal's guidance of the Omni team.

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