GOOGLE RESEARCH, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND
AREA OF WORK
- COMPUTER SCIENCE
- DATA SCIENCE
- MACHINE LEARNING
- PHD STUDENT
- CHRISTOPH LAMPERT GROUP
What the future can hold for excellent PhD students after graduating from ISTA can be seen by the example of Alexander Kolesnikov. During his PhD at ISTA, Kolesnikov focused on the design of computer systems that can automatically learn to parse and understand visual information, like images or videos.
He received his doctorate in 2018, is currently working at Google Research in Zurich, and has now received the 2022 ISTA Alumni Award, given to excellent former researchers of the Institute.
WHAT’S WRITTEN ON YOUR BUSINESS CARD?
My name is Alexander Kolsenikov. Actually, I don’t have a business card. But if I happen to make one, it will say: Computer Vision and Machine Learning Researcher at Google Deepmind.
WHAT’S THE ESSENCE OF YOUR JOB?
It is actually very similar to the typical postdoc position. So, I happen to come up with some new research projects and then execute these projects together with my colleagues, submit the research to conferences, travel there, and I also happen to participate in internal projects inside Google as well.
WHAT’S YOUR SCIENTIFIC BACKGROUND?
I did my education in Moscow before coming here. I was mostly focused in applied mathematics and computer science. And when coming here, I decided to specialize in machine learning and computer vision.
WHAT ROLE DID ISTA PLAY IN YOUR CAREER?
ISTA played a very important role in my career. When I first came here, I had some fundamental education, but I didn’t have many research skills. Most of the research skills that I have now, I actually acquired them at IST Austria.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MEMORIES OF ISTA?
I have a lot of nice memories of doing sports together with my ISTA colleagues. I used to regularly play football, frisbee, do climbing, or even some competitive programming.
CAN YOU GIVE THREE PIECES OF ADVICE TO CURRENT ISTA MEMBERS?
Maybe the first advice is to prioritize mental and physical health. Sometimes life in academia can be quite stressful and it’s very easy to get carried away and forget to take care of yourself. The second advice I would give is just to talk a lot with people around you, with your colleagues, and also with external collaborators. It can be very helpful in hard to predict ways. Maybe you get a new research idea or get unstuck. Or it may help you to find a new job after you decide for example to stop working in academia or finish your PhD. The third advice is to be very critical of the advices you get. I think everybody’s situation is very different, and no matter from who you hear the advice: be very critical and aware that it may not apply to your situation.