Rohit Kapoor

MSc, Computing Science, University of Alberta

Rohit Kapoor has been dubbed a "master inventor" by his employer, IBM. Not many people are given this title, because not many people have done what Kapoor has done.

Kapoor, who completed his master’s degree in computing science at the University of Alberta (U of A), attained this rank for inventing and patenting 12 things. Kapoor is now up to 14 patents, and at age 30, he is one of the youngest people at IBM Toronto to win the master inventor badge.

Many of his patents are connected to Internet-related products. For example, some of his work involves e-commerce on cell phones.

Using a cell phone to buy things on the Internet is considerably different than using a computer. One of the challenges, says Kapoor, is figuring out not-too-complex ways to display information on the tiny screen of the cell phone.

Kapoor says his graduate work at the U of A prepared him well for developing commercial software at IBM. "Some of my professors ran their own software companies… It was research, for sure, but it was applied research. It had very real commercial implications."

"I learned a lot about how commercial software is actually made… It really helped me when I moved into commercial software. That’s one thing I really value from my time at the U of A."

Kapoor’s thesis was about transferring customer records of insurance companies onto the Internet so customers could access their records online. The software he developed could automatically convert a company’s client records to a web format.

Kapoor was the top master’s student in his program at the U of A. His grade point average was the highest students can get. The University is lucky he happened to run into an Edmontonian just when he was deciding whether he would attend the U of A or another school. This person gave him such a good impression about the city of Edmonton and the University that he chose the U of A.

Kapoor and his wife live in a Toronto suburb now, but they love Edmonton, and they would like to perhaps move back some day. "It was one of the best times of my life. I really enjoyed both Edmonton and the U of A," he says.

"I absolutely recommend the U of A. The Toronto (branch of IBM) has hired a lot of people from the U of A… Edmonton’s just a great place. I have the Oilers written on my board (at work). The U of A’s a great university and Edmonton’s a great city."