Vahid Tavakkoli: „Working as a Researcher is a Fascinating Job.“

Vahid Tavakkoli completed his doctoral studies at the University of Klagenfurt. He talked to us about his research focus on artificial intelligence, especially using neural networks to create new effects on images and he also told us why he chose the University of Klagenfurt and why everybody should study at the University of Klagenfurt. Two days after his PhD defence his daughter was born, which was very exciting for Vahid.

How do you explain to your neighbour at the garden fence what you are working on?

Today, most people are familiar with artificial intelligence, especially using neural networks to create new effects on images, showing what you will look like when you become old or putting a picture of your face on the picture of somebody else’s body in videos, converting a picture of somebody into live video. So, it is already well known, and I am also working in this field.

What do you know now about your research question after your doctoral thesis that you didn’t know before?

I had an idea about my research questions before, but the solution became much clearer while working on my thesis. I think what we learn mainly when pursuing a doctorate is how to express an idea scientifically. How can we conduct research and how do we do it systematically, which is acceptable in the international community.

Why did you decide to study at the University of Klagenfurt? Why did you choose Klagenfurt?

I completed my master’s degree at the FH Kärnten in Villach. My master’s thesis was about distributed computing and I want to do more research on this topic, so I searched different universities to find a suitable professor who would agree to do this kind of research. I found professor Kyamakya and he was so supportive and gave me the motivation to start this degree.

Are there still new things for you to experience at the University?

Yes, working as a researcher is a fascinating job. Every day you will face new challenges to solve. You will see new projects and you will try to solve them using what you learn from others.

Has your view of the world changed as a result of your studies?

Yes, of course. I learned many things about artificial intelligence. People see the AI usage all around, and now I know how to create them as well, which was not previously clear to me.

Why should one study here at the University of Klagenfurt?

It is a good University with a good rank of 301. Most professors are the best in their fields with a good scientific reputation, especially our institute (Smart systems technologies). There is enough resource/support for anybody willing to do research, and it is a really friendly environment; your colleagues and professors become your family to help you to reach your goals.

What would be important advice for new students?

Have plenty of motivation and actively work on their research and publications.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I see myself in two directions. One is to continue my studies and become a professor and the second one is using what I learned to create a start-up.

A few words with…Vahid Tavakkoli

What would you be doing now, if you hadn’t become a scientist?

During my studies, I always worked full-time in other companies as a senior software developer. So Senior Software Developer 😊

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

They know it is very useful nowadays as there is news of new AI every day

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office in the morning?

Checking the previous day’s training results

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

Yes. In 2019, I was in Zurich for two days.

What makes you furious?

Using different methods does not reach the solution of the problem when I cannot solve my software bugs.

And what calms you down?

When my baby girl is laughing.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

Stephen Hawking, his explanation about cosmology was very interesting for me.

What are you afraid of?

Becoming inactive for a long time.

What are you looking forward to?

I want to bring my ideas into new products.