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'GPT-4o wouldn't have happened without you': Sam Altman praises Pune boy Prafulla Dhariwala

Jaya Vishwakarma
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Sam Altman praises Pune boy Prafulla Dhariwala

"GPT-4o would not have happened without Prafulla Dhariwala." That's what AI giant OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said two days after ChatGPT-4o (with the 'o' standing for Omni) was introduced.

But who is Prafulla Dhariwala? "My name sounds like truffle, but with a P," is how Prafulla Dhariwala introduces himself on his website.

And he's more than just a catchy introduction—Dhariwala, a native of Pune, is the mastermind behind the creation of GPT-4o. He is a research scientist who leads the Omni team at OpenAI.

"GPT-4o would not have happened without the vision, talent, conviction, and determination of @prafdhar over a long period of time. That (along with the work of many others) led to what I hope will turn out to be a revolution in how we use computers," Altman wrote in reply to Prafulla's X post.


In his X post, Prafulla said that GPT-4o is the first model to come out of the Omni team, OpenAI's first natively full multimodal model.

"This launch was a huge org-wide effort, but I’d like to give a shout-out to a few of my awesome team members who made this magical model even possible!" Dhariwala wrote.

Dhariwala's early days at OpenAI

He first joined OpenAI in 2016 as a research intern and rose through the ranks to become a research scientist at the AI giant, working on generative models and unsupervised learning.

He is one of the co-creators of GPT-3, the text-to-image platform DALL-E 2, the music generator Jukebox, and the reversible generative model Glow.


Dhariwala's journey has been marked by a series of remarkable accomplishments.

In 2009, he won the National Talent Search Scholarship from the Government of India and took home a gold medal at the International Astronomy Olympiad in China.

In the following years, he continued to shine, winning gold medals at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2012 and the International Physics Olympiad in 2013. 

His Class XII performance was stellar, with an impressive score of 295 out of 300 in the physics-chemistry-mathematics (PCM) group. He also excelled in entrance exams, scoring 190 in the Maharashtra Technical Common Entrance Test (MT-CET) and 330 out of 360 in the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE-Mains).

In recognition of his academic achievements, he was awarded the annual Abasaheb Naravane memorial prize in 2013 by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).

“In Class XII, I studied throughout the year, focusing on JEE preparations as I wanted to study at IIT. But now, I am more than happy to have been selected by MIT,” Dhariwala told Mid-Day newspaper in 2013. 

Dhariwala pursued his Bachelor's in Computer Science (Mathematics) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), graduating in 2017 with a perfect GPA of 5.0/5.0.