Meta PhoDcast 173: Matjaž Leonardis, computer scientist

Matjaž Leonardis (foto: osebni arhiv).

With Matjaž Leonardis about neural networks and backdoors in computing, and what drives him to seek new answers to questions in all areas.


Meta PHoDcast
Meta PHoDcast

Meta PHoDcast so pogovori z mladimi raziskovalci in raziskovalkami o življenju, vesolju in sploh vsem. Gostitelji so dr. Zarja Muršič, Lucija Ana Vrščaj in Nika Žibrat, njihovi sogovorniki pa znanstveniki in znanstvenice pred zaključkom doktorata z različnih področij znanosti. Vsak drugi četrtek.

Matjaž is a Slovene expat whose interests have landed him in Austin, Texas. After graduating from Gimnazija Bežigrad, he applied for Bachelor studies at Oxford University. He describes his years there as interesting and character-building due to many things, an important one being the environment of studying in such a prominent institution steeped in tradition.

With difficulty, he tries to compare his academic experience in Oxford to that in Austin. Research Matjaž is involved in spreads into areas of quantum computers, neural networks, and the theory of computability. We briefly discuss transposable back doors and neural networks and their implications on systems implemented in our everyday lives.

He praises meditation, which he practices almost daily. In addition, he highlights the importance of connecting with other people you can talk to in difficult times. As he describes the coronavirus lockdown he subtly smiles, as for him this was the time when the world has come to a pause, allowing him and his colleagues to have their most productive discussions. Matjaž recommends the TV series Billions, The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch, and Sean Carrolls’s Mindscape podcast. He would invite Richard Feynman and John Bardeen, two physicists, to debate two scientific perspectives.

The advice Matjaž would give to other scientists is: instead of experiments, focus and connect on the research idea itself. The question on his mind is, “At some point, there was some situation that made somebody care about this problem. Why was that? What and who was behind this idea?”. This allows you to tweak the seemingly insignificant experimental details that can bring you closer to the answer.


Meta PHoDcast so pogovori z mladimi raziskovalci in raziskovalkami o življenju, vesolju in sploh vsem.

Gostitelji in gostje smo znanstveniki in znanstvenice z različnih področij znanosti. Večinoma gre za doktorske študente in študentke pred zaključkom doktorata, občasno pa so naši sogovorniki tudi podoktorski raziskovalci in raziskovalke v tujini.

Nastajanje podkasta v letu 2023 finančno podpira ARIS, Javna agencija za znanstvenoraziskovalno in inovacijsko dejavnost Republike Slovenije.

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