Michael Bronstein, Class of 2003
University of Lugano, Switzerland
Research Scientist, Intel Inc.
It has been nearly a decade since I attended the International Achievement Summit in Washington, D.C. in 2003. At that time, I was a graduate student in computer science at the Technion Institute in Israel, working on computational methods for 3D shape analysis. I have magical and almost surreal memories of the Summit, in particular of meeting and talking to people who usually appear in newspapers or television. Afterwards, it took some effort to persuade my friends it had really happened. I met many interesting people in Washington, with many of whom I still keep in touch.
I received my Ph.D. in 2007 and had to choose between an industrial career or an academic one. Some claimed these roads were divergent, but unlike the character in the Robert Frost poem, I tried to take both of them, spending three years in the United States as a technology executive at a Silicon Valley start-up, and as a visiting lecturer at Stanford. In 2010, I joined the newly established Institute of Computational Science at the University of Lugano, Switzerland as an assistant professor, where I am continuing my work on geometric and visual computing.
In the ten years that have passed since the Summit, this field has dramatically changed. What seemed wild scientific dreams in 2003 have now become commercially available technologies that promise to revolutionize the way we interact with computers. I am happy and proud to have had an active part in this development, both scientifically and commercially. The 3D acquisition technology I developed at Technion during my graduate studies was licensed by the Israeli start-up Invision in 2009. The company was acquired by Intel in 2012 in a transaction that was an exceptional success, even in a world of start-ups that has seen many dreams come true. As a result, I joined Intel as a scientific advisor, where I have the luck and privilege to work with among the smartest people on earth.
In the years that have passed since the invitation to the Academy, I have moved across three continents, had sleepless nights, seen some successes but even more failures, and had a lot of fun. Perhaps my most important achievement is that Gabriella, the person who accompanied me patiently and devotedly down the sometimes thorny path of the last decade, has become my wife.