About Me

Hello! I’m a physics and computer science student at Harvard and a Technology and Innovation Fellow at the Harvard Business School. I have recently worked in investing, from early stage VC to public global macro, but my academic background spans machine learning, autonomous tech, theoretical physics, and fair AI. Some of my recent research projects include biologically-inspired techniques for adversarial ML robustness, unsupervised ML methods for understanding topological phase transitions, and deep convolutional neural nets on dark matter simulations.

I founded Adventus Robotics, an autonomous robotics startup specializing in automating power wheelchairs for hospitals and consumers. Adventus won the 2020 Harvard i3 Innovation Challenge, the 2021 Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, and the 2020 LPCE Launch Fund accelerator.

After traveling to the Arctic in 2013, I pursued climate advocacy and produced an open-source documentary about climate change featuring author Margaret Atwood and astronaut Chris Hadfield. The documentary, 400PPM, was awarded the international Gloria Barron Prize.

Maya Burhanpurkar

Work Experience

The DE Shaw Group


D.E. Shaw

Renewable Investments Intern
Summer 2021

DESRI has raised over $15 billion of debt and equity capital for over 4500MWac of renewable assets

Georgian Partners


Georgian

Applied Research Scientist Intern
Jan-May 2021

Georgian is a $2B+ tech-focused growth equity firm and fintech company in Toronto

Bridgewater


Bridgewater

Investment Associate Intern

Summer 2020

Bridgewater is one of the world's largest and most successful macro hedge funds

Contrary Cap.


Contrary

Venture Partner

2018-2021

Contrary is an early-stage VC fund backed by cofounders of Twitter, AirBnB, Facebook, and Reddit


Selected Distinctions

Academic Honors

Phi Beta Kappa, Senior 48 2020

Inducted by Harvard into national academic honor society article

Harvard Business School Technology and Innovation Fellow 2020/21

One of 13 students selected for the program article

John Harvard Scholarship 2018/2020

Awarded annually to top 5% of the class in an academic year

Detur Book Prize 2016-17

Awarded to freshmen achieving a 4.0 GPA for the academic year

Research Fellowships and Awards 2017-20

PRISE Fellow (2019), Herchel Smith Fellow (2019), Harvard College Research Program Fellow (2018/2019/2020)


Adventus Robotics

MIT-Lemelson Prize Winner ($10k) 2021

National MIT prize for for Collegiate Inventorsarticle

i3 Innovation Challenge Gold Prize Winner ($10k) 2020

Harvard Center for Technology & Entreprenuership article

Harvard LPCE Launch Fund Winner ($10k) 2020

Lemann Program on Creativity & Entrepreneurship article

Harvard iLab President's Innovation Challenge 2020

One of 5 finalists selected from 500+ companies article

The Allston Venture Fund Grant Recepient 2020/21

Awarded $70k from Bain Capital, General Catalyst, and others article

Other Awards

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012

Presented on behalf of the Governer General of Canada article

Canada's Top 20 Under 20 2013

Presented annually to the top 20 youth in the nation article

Corporate Knight's Top 30 Under 30 2018

Awarded to 20 Canadians for sustainability efforts article

Emerging Canadian Female Leader of the Year 2016

Awarded by Brescia University and presented by Geena Davis article

International Barron's Prize for Young Heroes 2016

Gloria Barron prize for public service and community impact article

Ontario’s Junior Citizen of the Year 2011

Presented by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario article

Science fair research awards 2013/2014/2015

Two-time Canada Wide Science Fair Grand Platinum award (2012/14), Team Canada ISEF (2013), Google International Science Fair Semi-Finalist (2013)article


University Scholarships

University of Toronto National Scholarship, National Schulich Leaders Scholarship (declined) 2016

Awarded full ($70k) scholarships to study at the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo

TD National Scholarship (declined) 2016

Awarded a $70k scholarship to study at any university in Canada


Publications

2019

The CHIME/FRB Collaboration. 1/9/2019. “Observations of fast radio bursts at frequencies down to 400 megahertz.” Nature, 566, 7743, Pp. 230-234.

The CHIME/FRB Collaboration. 1/9/2019. “A second source of repeating fast radio bursts.” Nature, 566, 7743, Pp. 235-238.


2018

The CHIME/FRB Collaboration. 8/9/2018. “The CHIME Fast Radio Burst Project: System Overview.” The Astrophyiscal Journal, 863, 1.


2017

M. Burhanpurkar, M. Labbe, C. Guan, F. Michaud, and J. Kelly. 7/2017. “Cheap or Robust? The practical realization of self-driving wheelchair technology.” International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics.

Nature cover


Research Experience

Dedispersion Example

CHIME Fast Radio Burst Collaboration

I worked on the CHIME Fast Radio Burst collaboration for a year, a project aiming to solve the mystery of cosmic FRBs. CHIME collects and analyses ~1TB/s of data in real-time. I worked on the initial stage of detections, which removes radio-frequency interference, amplifies signal, and searches for candidate FRBs in telescope beams. I worked on writing a wide variety of noise filtration assembly language kernels, visualization tools, and miscellaneous optimized tools, including what is likely the world’s fastest pseudo-random number generator.

[ApJ System Overview Paper] [Nature Detections Paper] [Nature Second Repeater Paper]

Fuzzy Train Stacking

Blind Pulsar Search

I worked with Prof. Kendrick Smith at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics on developing and testing new algorithms for blind pulsar searches that leverage dynamic programming and machine learning techniques. These algorithms improve the computational cost of pulsar search by several orders of magnitude and make visible pulsars currently orders of magnitude too faint to see. This work was supported by the Perimeter Institute Summer Undergraduate Program.

Winding Analysis

Unsupervised Learning of Topological Phase Transitions

I worked with Prof. Subir Sachdev at Harvard on generalizing the application of a diffusion maps to learning the BKT transition in the 2D XY model to more complicated models. We investigated the action of the diffusion map on a 3D XY model coupled to an Ising gauge theory. Our goal is to develop an approach could be useful to probe phases of new complex systems that cannot be investigated analytically. This work was supported by the Herchel Smith Fellowship, the Harvard College Research Program, and Harvard College Program for Research in Science and Engineering.

[Github] [Physics 90r: Supervised Research paper]

RTAB Map Planner

Autonomous Navigation Stack

I worked with Prof. Jonathan Kellu at the Institute for Aerospace Studies at the University of Toronto on developing a self-driving wheelchair to assist people with severe physical disabilities. For the project, I wrote a semi-autonomous assistive mode package using the Point Cloud Library, RTAB-Map, and ROS and contributed to the fully autonomous package for the wheelchair. I presented aposter at the IEEE International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics in London.

[ICORR Paper] [Poster]

Gazes on an ImageNet Image

Adversarial Robustness (ongoing)

I worked with Dr. Andrzej Banburski at MIT on investigating biologically-inspired mechanisms for enhancing adversarial robustness in ResNets for image recognition. Our goal is to design more robust and efficient classifiers. I implemented parallel spatial transformers and trainable gaze models as intelligent attention mechanisms to augment existing retinal and cortical fixation methods described here.

Quijote Simulation

ML for Dark Matter (ongoing)

I worked with Prof. Cora Dvorkin at Harvard on using CNNs and scattering transforms to better constrain LCDM parameters. Our goal is to augment existing methods for parameter estimation with state of the art machine learning approaches. We utilized the 1PB Quijote Simulations to train our models. This work was funded by the Harvard College Research Program.


Extracurricular Activities

Adventus Robotics, Founder and CEO

Website Awards

400 PPM, documentary featuring Margaret Atwood and Chris Hadfield

Watch here

Harvard Science Review (2020-21)

Latest Article (downloads PDF)

Harvard Data Analytics Consluting Group (2020)

Case Team Leader

Harvard Business School Technology & Innovation Fellow (2020-21)

Profile

UCLQ Quantum Tech Summer School (2018)

Website

Harvard Society for Physics Students

President, 2019-20 APS-IDEA, 2020-21

Harvard Undergraduate Women in Physics

Board Member (2020-21)

MaRS DD Studio [Y] Fellow (2016-17)

Final Report Program Info

Deloitte Consulting (2019)

Early Mentorship Program

Near-Earth Asteroid Orbit Determination Project

Github Paper

Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (2019)

Website

Perimeter Institute Summer Undergraduate Program (2018)

Website Profile

Harvard Innovation Lab (2020-21)

Harvard-Wide Presidents' Challenge (Top 5)

In the Media

Lemelson-MIT Profile

A profile by MIT News for my work on an autonomous wheelchair awarded the MIT-Lemelson Student Prize

Harvard Gazette Profile

A profile in the Harvard University magazine, the Harvard Gazette, for my work on CHIME and the autonomous wheelchair

Harvard SEAS Profile

A profile by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences after winning the i3 Innovation Challenge for my self-driving tech startup

CBC We are Canada

A profile produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) for Canada's 150th annniversary (link to view video outside Canada)

CBC International Women's Day

A segment on CBC Newsnight for International Women's Day celebrating women in STEM

30 Under 30

Corporate Knights' Top 30 Under 30 profile for work in environmental sustainability

Popular Science

Popular Science profile for 400 PPM documentary release

Perimeter Institute Profile

Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics profile for work on the CHIME telescope

Women in STEM Calendar

Profile accompanying inculsion in the inaugural See It Be It STEM It Women in STEM calendar

TVO Feature

TVO (Television Ontario) interview (outside Canada link)

UofT Profile

University of Toronto Engineering article on work in Prof. Jonathan Kelly's autonomous sytems lab

Brescia Profile

Profile for the Bresica Emerging Canadian Female Leader of the Year award

TEDxYouth

TEDxYouth talk on talent diversity (2014)

Other fun things: I was featured in a book, The Youth Manifesto / Le manifeste de la jeunesse, by BBC presenter Johny Pitts that has currently been released in French and will soon be released in English. I was also featured in Vinita Kulkarni’s book क्षितिज पश्चिमेचे (Western Horizons). I once competed on the popular Canadian TV show Canada’s Smartest Person, but I sadly achieved only a close second on account of my poor balance.