I studied at Technical University of Berlin both for a Diploma degree in Computer Science (with focus on Computer Graphics and Artificial Intelligence (AI)) in 1997 and a PhD degree in Theoretical Statistics in 2000, respectively.
I have worked in both basic and applied science: For the first 15 years of my professional life, I was predominantly working on the basic research myself, while focusing on managing applied science for the next 10 years. I have had the great fortune to work at Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, and Zalando. Since April 2022, I am back into working on basic research and teaching as head of the Artificial Intelligence and Sustainability research group at the Hasso Plattner Institute and University of Potsdam.
I want my work to have a positive impact on many people’s lives. I particularly enjoy the application of principled research to large-scale real-world problems, learning new things every day and getting to work with people. I fundamentally believe in a people-first approach: As a scientist, I want to solve problems that people actually have – also called „working backwards“ and „customer-obsession“. As a manager, I always put people (development) over project (success). As a scientific leader, I much prefer to discuss ideas with another scientist over just reading their work – learning happens faster and in a more sustained way in a dialog rather than through reading.
I do not accept existing scientific boundaries and think that the largest breakthroughs will be made at the intersection of existing disciplines. If you would like to learn more about my research work, please see below. My research interests include approximate computing, Bayesian inference and decision making, game theory, information retrieval, natural language processing, computer vision, distributed systems, machine learning theory and knowledge representation and reasoning. I have published over 80 peer reviewed conference and journal papers in these fields.