Stefan Jeschke is in the unique position of having left IST Austria and at the same time not having left the campus. He works now for Nvidia. Although the company which designs graphic processing units is based in Santa Clara California, Stefan Jeschke has rented an office on the IST Austria campus and works from there mainly communicating via skype and email with his colleges from all over the world. In an interview with Daniela Klammer and Kathrin Pauser he answered some interesting questions about his work.
Watch a short version of the interview here on youtube or read the long version below!
Stefan Jeschke, researcher at Nvidia.
Basically what I am doing is basic research, like I did at IST, I am working on realtime algorithms for future computer games.
I am very free in what I am doing, as long as it is exciting and interesting for my managers. Whenever I find something that excites me I can work on it as long as I want or until something cool comes out. I am very free at choosing my time to work, where I work and how I work. We have a very international community at nvidia. I am basically working with people from New Zealand, from Bangkok, all around the world and the US of course. It is an interesting environment to work.
No, it is all skype meetings and online.
Hopefully in the same job, if this works out. This is basically my dream job, I would say and I have no intent to change anything soon.
I have a classic academic career bachelor and master computer science, computer graphics in my case. Then I did a PhD in 2005, followed by quite a few postdocs in different universities: TU Vienna, Arizona State university in Phoenix, Arizona, then TU Vienna again and then IST until last year.
I learned a lot of new stuff here. The guy I was working with was Chris Wojtan he does physics simulations and I didn’t do that before too much. So I learned a lot from that perspective. He also introduced me to the job I have now. He made the connection for me so that was a very positive influence. I am still working with him quite a lot. So overall it is a very positive influence.
It was only like twenty steps, literally[laughs]my current office is only twenty meters away from my old office. Also was not such a big step because I still work in the same area I am still doing basic research as I did before. So in my case the difference is not that big but that might be very unique. I also have publications at the same conferences as before. I tend to pressure myself to publicize while my manager is more interested in demos for GTC but of course he also likes publications.
One advice is what worked out for me I didn’t think too much of a career to do but rather what I liked to do which was not too hard because in Austria all the contracts are short term anyways. Doing that what you like most at the moment is probably the best strategy to keep a healthy relationship to your job. Basically I never thought too much about long term because there are no long term perspectives for postdocs or similar positions in Austria. Just keep your focus on what you are doing now and do your best and go from there.
This is a hard question. I enjoyed the photography club we always had nice meetings. That’s one thing. Of course the scientific rewards are another, doing really great work and having great papers accepted at the best conferences – that is certainly something that I remember.
I had been at IST for some of the lectures and I think it was my wife that said, why don’t you apply there. What I liked is that there are only few students but those students are highly motivated and I liked that. That was one of the reasons to choose IST.
I would say it is pretty unique. As far as I know, I am the only employee in Austria at Nvidia and that was quite a struggle to get that but now I can work from where I want within Austria.