Avani Wildani, an Emory assistant professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, got her first computer when she was three years old. A TI-99 from Texas Instruments, it was the first 16-bit personal computer and known for its eccentricities.
“It spoke to you in this very robotic voice,” Wildani says. “It was a really hot thing at the time for the computer to talk to you.”
Wildani was born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, to immigrants from the state of Gujarat in India. The oldest of three children in a close-knit family, she did not start speaking English until she began school.
Biology fascinated her from an early age, particularly mysteries of how the brain works. “I’m interested in how we think about things,” she says, “and what information means for the mind.”
One focus of her current research is the looming problem of information storage: The disconnect between our growing ability to gather digital information – on everything from human genetics to deep space – and our limited technology and resources for keeping and managing all of that data.