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Local teen publishes second book before heading to Stanford

KOIN Portland 8/10/2022 Amanda Arden
Local teen publishes second book before heading to Stanford © Provided by KOIN Portland Local teen publishes second book before heading to Stanford

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A Westview High School graduate is heading off to college with two published books under his belt. 

Aditya Sood's latest book, "Trailblazing into Data Networking: For Newbies!" was published July 18. 

In his "For Newbies" series, Sood aims to find simple ways to explain complex topics and in the process, he often learns more about them himself. 

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"I actually remember an old adage; it says, ‘Teaching somebody is the best way to learn something.' I already had excellent backgrounds in these fields, but when I wrote this book, it actually showed me some of my own, perhaps holes in my own knowledge," he said. 

Photo shows the cover of “Trailblazing into Data Networking: For Newbies!” The book by Aditya Sood was published on July 18, 2022. Photo courtesy Aditya Sood © Provided by KOIN Portland Photo shows the cover of “Trailblazing into Data Networking: For Newbies!” The book by Aditya Sood was published on July 18, 2022. Photo courtesy Aditya Sood

The world of computer science can be daunting, Sood said, but his "For Newbies" books help simplify complicated concepts. His first book, "Trailblazing into Cryptography: For Newbies!" which was published Dec. 30, 2020, does this using illustrations and helpful analogies. 

Cryptography involves some intense mathematics, but Sood left those out, opting instead to focus on helping people understand the concepts. 

His latest book on data networking does the same. 

"Data networking is also definitely a pretty challenging topic to grasp just because there’s so many layers and protocols that just make everything a little bit overwhelming," he said. 

Data networking is a fairly broad topic. It covers everything from video calls to Instagram to email use to web browser searches. Sood said the pandemic inspired him to dive deeper into the topic. 

"During the pandemic, everything was on Zoom, everything was online, and a lot of people were actually just wondering, ‘How are these companies able to make everything digital so seamlessly? What is happening on the back end?'" Sood said. 

He wanted to help answer those questions. 

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Sood said a lot of his previous research into cryptography could be applied to data networking, but he also took a class on the subject at Portland Community College and conducted his own research project on the topic, with the help of his mentors at Intel and Google. 

Many of his mentors praised his latest book, including Nancy Cam-Winget, a Cisco fellow in networking. 

"This is a very easy read to understand the fundamentals of how the Internet works and how to protect yourself from attackers," Cam-Winget wrote. 

Sood plans to continue the "For Newbies" series and is considering branching out from computer science and focusing on genetics in his next book. In 2021, he took part in a research internship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he studied genetics. He's also done similar research with Oregon Health & Science University in recent years.

While genetics is the topic he's leaning toward now, he said there are a lot of possibilities. 

"I guess we'll just kind of see," he said. 

In September, Sood is heading to Stanford where he plans to study computer science. He's also interested in studying biology, genetics and economics and how computer science is being used in those fields. 

While Sood might be moving away from the Portland metro area, he hopes his books will continue to be used by local schools. 

Already, Portland Community College is using his cryptography as a supplementary text and the data science teacher at Westview High School has added a small piece of the book to her class curriculum. He donated several copies to the Beaverton School District. 

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"My entire idea behind the ‘For Newbies' series is to kind of make the information… accessible to everybody," Sood said. 

He's already reached out to professors and educators in the area to inform them of the release of his second book. 

"Trailblazing into Cryptography: For Newbies!" is available to purchase on Amazon. 

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