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Udacity AI for Robotics Alum : Patrick Glauner

Nothing makes us happier than our grads achieving their dreams. So when Patrick Glauner, a Udacity alum, reached out to us to let us know that he has become a full professor at the age of 30, we wanted to hear his story.

To quote his email to our founder, Sebastian Thrun, he said, “When I was finishing my undergrad in 2012, I took your AI for Robotics course on Udacity as I was curious to figure out what AI is. Your course really sparked my interest in AI. I subsequently decided to focus my career on topics in and around AI. Last month, I became a full professor at the age of 30 at [the] Deggendorf Institute of Technology in Bavaria, Germany.”

First Experience With AI

Back in early 2012, Patrick was finishing his undergraduate degree in computer science but his University did not offer any AI courses at the undergraduate level, so he did not have any exposure to AI at all. But, his curiosity about AI led him to Udacity.

“I took the “Intro to Artificial Intelligence” and “Artificial Intelligence for Robotics” free courses. I enjoyed learning from Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig, two of the most established AI researchers and practitioners in the world,” he said.

“I found it very helpful that — in contrast to attending Sebastian’s Stanford courses — I did not have to pay thousands of dollars per course after having gone through a lengthy and complex admissions process,” he added.

Both the courses sparked his interest in Artificial Intelligence and I decided to pursue it further. “What I find most exciting about AI is that it allows us to automate manual —  or human — decision-making. As a consequence, AI helps companies to skyrocket business processes while cutting costs in parallel. It was a truly rewarding experience to take the Udacity courses and then to apply the content when implementing my own AI applications,” he added. 

Pursuing a Career in Artificial Intelligence 

Patrick later decided to make a career in AI.  “My knowledge in AI helped me to become a Fellow at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN),” he said.  

“I applied my new skills in AI to natural language processing problems. After two years, I decided to return to academia and to learn more about the underlying foundations of AI. I then [completed] a master’s in machine learning at Imperial College, London, and subsequently a Ph.D. in AI at the University of Luxembourg. In my Ph.D. thesis, I applied AI to the detection of electricity theft, which is a major issue all around the world, particularly in emerging markets.” 

Towards the end of his Ph.D., he joined Krones Group, a major mechanical engineering corporation in Germany. Patrick led the competence center that was in charge of the corporate AI strategy and its implementation. 

Making the Shift From Corporate to Academia

After spending some time in the industry, Patrick felt that he wanted “to return to academia again to share my knowledge with students.”

“In Germany, there are a limited number of positions between the levels of postdoc and [a] full professor. However, there are opportunities for executives in [the] industry to directly become full professors. At age 30, I recently became a Full Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Deggendorf Institute of Technology in Bavaria, Germany.

“Our Department of Applied Computer Science has recently started to offer a bachelor’s program in artificial intelligence. In my classes, I teach our students how to apply artificial intelligence models to solving real-world problems in the industry,” he added.  

Patrick’s Entrepreneurial Stint with Skyrocket.ai

Patrick split his time between the university (teaching classes and doing research) and his own company skyrocket.ai (https://www.skyrocket.ai/english), an artificial intelligence consulting company. 

He said, “I find [it’s] really exciting to advise companies on how to solve real-world challenges using artificial intelligence. Consulting also allows me to work at the forefront of modern artificial intelligence. 

“As the field of artificial intelligence is evolving very rapidly, that experience also enables me to keep my classes at university cutting-edge in terms of real-world constraints. Looking back, I am glad I switched to a full-time managerial role in industry at the time I was finishing my Ph.D. That experience then helped to make it very quickly to a full professorship.”

He has also just completed a new book with Springer on “Innovative Technologies for Market Leadership: Investing in the Future.” The book also includes a number of industry-specific chapters on how AI innovations create real value in the industry, for example in mechanical engineering, medicine, or automotive.

“Thank you very much for offering your fantastic courses on Udacity! I probably would not have made it that far at age 30 without having taken your courses!”

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