Nasir Ahmed, The Indian Engineer Who Invented Video Calling And Now Lives In Argentina

Nasir Ahmed, the Indian engineer who invented video calling and now lives in Argentina

The discovery was born out of perseverance in the face of rejection. Indian engineer Nasir Ahmed had found the algorithm that would compress image and video files for digital transfer, but he needed time and money to study it. In the mid-1970s he presented the research proposal to the US National Science Foundation. The institution rejected the project as “too simple.”

Thus, Nasir asked his wife, the Argentine Quelita, if she supported him in the decision to take three months without salary to advance in the study. Nasir had the intuition that he was facing something big, he needed time to study the subject. And so he did.

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Nasir, an Indian-born engineer, traveled to the United States in 1961 to pursue his doctoral studies at the University of New Mexico that led to the discovery of the “discrete consensus transform.” Nasir’s 1974 discovery ended up being a great contribution to the development of digital technology. Nasir had found a way to compress images and videos to send them digitally.

Dan Fogelman, director and screenwriter of the Serie This is us.

In the fifth season, produced in the midst of a pandemic, Fogelman decided to incorporate the impact of COVID-19. That is why, among the new stories, in the eighth chapter of the fifth season, the life of Nasir Ahmed is included, who while living in the United States met Esther Pariente, an Argentine born in Tucumán.

For his part, Fogelman, passionate about history, recommended In the room, a short documentary by the Argentine director and publicist Gastón Bigio, released last year and made after watching the episode of the series.

“In the middle of the pandemic lockdown, I saw an episode of This is Us that blew my mind. When I wanted to know more about him, I realized that there was no video on the internet of the man who invented video calling and the transmission of photos and videos over the internet “, writes Bigio in a post on LinkedIn.

“After dozens of calls, I decided to travel to Yerba Buena and I had the great pleasure of being able to interview Nasir Ahmed and Queli in their living room. They were locked in, like the billions of people who used the algorithm Nasir created during the pandemic.” says Bigio.

But in addition to telling his story, Bigio shares with Nasir Ahmed some of the repercussions among the viewers who thank him for having been the person capable of creating the way to connect, in times of isolation, with his family to capture their reaction.

Thanks to Nasir Ahmed, today it is possible for us to communicate by video call with people far away, be it due to isolation policies or physical distance. And thanks to Dan Fogelman and Gastón Bigio, today we know their story.

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