Harald Gietler | Foto: aau/Müller

Follow what interests you, and don’t be upset by setbacks

Harald Gietler has just finished his PhD in Technical Sciences, specializing in Information and Communications Engineering. His research work focuses on localization technology. Instead of radar or sonar, Harald uses electromagnetic fields. We talked to him about his field of research and the influence of artificial intelligence. Moreover, he also told us about the reasons why he decided to study at the University of Klagenfurt and why he would advise others to study in Klagenfurt too.

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

I outline my field of research as localization technology like radar or sonar. In contrast to those, I use electromagnetic fields instead of radar or acoustic waves. However, the goal is similar, i.e., localization of a moving target. Especially with the ever-increasing number of robotic systems in our daily lives, localization of robots to enhance their internal navigation and collaboration with other robots, humans, and the environment is crucial.

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

The answer to many questions is not straightforward. Often, the answer is a compromise between involved factors. Depending on specific requirements, the parameters of choice can differ.

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

There are many reasons why I studied in Klagenfurt. However, the most important ones are the area of research, the excellent quality of supervision, and the local surroundings such as mountains and lakes.

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

Since the university offers a wide range of study branches that attract different human beings, I regularly meet people with different opinions and ideologies. This is a beautiful aspect of the university because it is always exciting and stops me from getting lost in my technical bubble.

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

If the results of my studies didn’t change my view of the world, the long path leading to the results certainly did. Setbacks and achievements, critical thinking, and the opportunity to teach students opened my mind to a broader view of life.

Why should one study here at the University of Klagenfurt?

The University of Klagenfurt offers a variety of study branches with excellent supervision. Furthermore, the support when doing a semester abroad and its location in beautiful mother nature are invaluable.

What would be important advice for new students?

Follow what interests you, and don’t be upset by setbacks.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully still in a position where I can research exciting topics.

A few words with … Harald Gietler

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

Most likely, I’d be working as a development engineer in the technology sector.

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

I am very confident that they understand in general what I am working on. Maybe not down to the very last detail, but they have a good sense of my research’s implications and potential applications.

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

After turning on the computer, I usually start reading e-mails while drinking a coffee and reading notes I made on my current research.

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

Yes, I am delighted that I can enjoy my holidays to the fullest and be able to leave the thoughts about my work behind until I am back.

What makes you furious?

Nothing specific, but occasional things such as being stuck in a traffic jam when in a hurry.

And what calms you down?

I engage in several different sports that help me calm down and forget my worries.

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

I don’t think it’s possible to name a single person. Progress is based on the work of many. If I were forced to choose one, I would mention James Clerk Maxwell because his work significantly influences mine.

What are you afraid of?

Obtaining unsatisfactory results from experiments that have been planned far in advance.

What are you looking forward to?

Apart from the upcoming holidays, I am looking forward to some fascinating, tightly scheduled experiments.