Q: What is the most important thing that's happened in computing in the past 10 years?
A: The appearance and development of the smartphone is the most life-changing “application” that we all use today. During the past 10 years, the development in this field is tremendous. Ten years ago, the first touchscreen devices started to appear and they quickly conquered the market. This device transformed from providing calling and texting functions to a complete handheld computer, providing more CPU power and storage than a lower-end PC. Now, we have a complete tool to assist us whenever a full-size PC in unavailable. Remarkable.
Q: By the end of your career, where do you think computer science will have taken us? What are you working on that might contribute to that?
A: One of the most critical advances in the near future will relate to autonomous vehicles, in which computer science plays a major role. Currently, we can observe the first instances of this trend; however, there is a lot to improve. I believe that there will come a time (during our lifetime) that people will be banned from driving cars, as they make fatal mistakes, which can be avoided by machines. At first, self-driving cars will also make mistakes; however, software bugs will be resolved in time, leading to completely safe travel. There is also a possibility that humans will be allowed to drive cars for fun; however, computer-assisted driving will turn on automatically if one drives recklessly.
Currently, I work in the field of computer networks. Robust, resilient, reliable, and always-available networks will allow this to happen. Cars will have to communicate with each other to create a truly safe ecosystem.
Q: Who is your favorite historical figure? Why?
A: I prefer to look to the future, rather than the past, so I do not dwell on history too much. If I had to choose, I would go for Ramses II, the greatest ruler of ancient Egypt, for his accomplishments, and especially for building the most beautiful temple in Abu Simbel.
Q: If you weren't working in the computer science field, what would you be doing instead?
A: I would be either a doctor or a lawyer. The first option would be easy as both my parents are accomplished doctors. My father is a general surgeon and my mother is a neurologist. I would choose the second option because I enjoy logical thinking and moral dilemmas. I think that I would have been a good lawyer.
Q: What is your favorite type of music?
A: I listen to all kinds of music, with slight preference to rock.