When Martin Vechev graduated in Computer Science from Cambridge university he dreamt of creating a world-class research center in his homeland Bulgaria.
Today, his dream is a reality. Prof. Martin Vechev is the architect of The Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology (INSAIT) in Sofia. The deep tech institute was created in collaboration with two of the world’s leading tech universities, Zurich and Lausanne. It is supported by tech giants like Google, Amazon, Deep Mind, and the Bulgarian government.
Prof. Martin Vechev, our next guest at The Recursive podcast, combines several unique talents – he’s a tech entrepreneur, a professor at ETH Zurich, and an award-winning researcher. His efforts are in the field of building secure and fair Artificial Intelligence.
He has co-founded 3 startups in the area of Safe AI, blockchain security, and AI for Code. He has exited two of them already. And yet, it was never his dream to become an entrepreneur. He wanted to create an impact in science, on his students, and also on the world.
In his conversation with Irina, we get to take a look inside his mind and experience his sense of humor.
“My biggest role model when I was growing up in the area of the exact sciences was my uncle”, prof. Vechev reflects. It was through his uncle he got his first glance at entrepreneurship.
As a student, he took a break from his undergraduate degree in Computer Science in Canada to pursue his dream of working with people from his uncle’s lab in Sofia. He dropped the lucrative opportunity to earn more money in Canada to follow his passion back to Bulgaria and to get exposed to the whole technical range of computing. “It was a great decision for me. Following the passion to the place where you can learn the most”, prof. Martin Vechev says.
Then his journey took him to Cambridge, where he did his PhD. One of the lessons he took from that experience in the world of high-profile research and science, is that problem definition is more important than problem-solving. And also that “you need to embrace the chaos” to succeed.
You either make it, or you learn something
In this episode, prof. Martin Vechev also shares how his lifelong dream to build INSAIT in Sofia came to life. “You declare to the world what you want to do because this binds you to your decision. Even if you fail, you either make it or you learn something”
Surrounded by a family of hard workers, prof. Martin Vechev explains why he lives under the motto that “We have one life, time is too little, and you have got to move fast.”