Hans Kristjan Veri, the recipient of Cybernetica Fellowship: when a family-based hobby turns into an academic curiosity

Dan Bogdanov and Hans Kristjan Veri

Each year since 2017, we are granting a fellowship of 5000€ to an excellent master’s student of computer science, data science, and software engineering. The fellowship gives the opportunity for collaborations with our researchers and a paid internship position at Cybernetica.

This year, we are happy to be granting it to Hans Kristjan Veri - get to know him below!

What sparked your interest towards technology in the first place?

It was my father’s passion for technology. He taught me how to use a computer at a very young age. He wasn’t working in a computer science related field, he’s just an above average tech-savvy person who played a lot of computer games in the 90s. This early exposure led me to create web pages and write scripts at a very young age and it just took off from there.

How has your passion towards computer science changed throughout the years? What projects have you worked on independently, what kind of IT directions interest you the most etc.

I started out with a perception of computer science as a chance to apply mathematics, but during my Bachelor’s studies, I’ve grown to appreciate it for the rich field of study that it is. I still mostly dabble in the theoretical corners of computer science with an especial interest in coding theory and cryptography. I’m currently engaged in a project to develop a new function secret sharing scheme.

Where do you come from and what made you choose computer science as a career path?

My background is quite typical – a love for mathematics and natural sciences led me to a programming-focused high school. After serving in the army, during which I forgot all previous knowledge, I decided to pursue a computer science degree in Tartu. This is because I liked the clever solutions that arise in simple programming tasks and it was closely related to mathematics.

Where do you see your career path moving after completing your studies in computer science?

I have a strong inclination towards the academic world and plan to closely align my career with academia. While I'm still in the early stages of my journey and lack precise plans, I intend to gain some work experience beyond the university setting to gain a broader perspective on potential future opportunities.

What, in your opinion, will be the next major breakthroughs in ways computer science affects people’s lives in general?

It’s hard to predict the “next big thing”, but the most exciting one for me is the possibility of quantum computers, especially the cryptography challenges it poses. Furthermore, it will be exciting to experience all the unpredictable changes that the quantum revolution will bring - which big problems will be trivial, which will remain?

What life lessons would you share with those who are still considering pursuing an education or a career in IT?

I would encourage them to explore the rich variety that IT can offer and not commit prematurely. There's a multitude of fields within IT, including software engineering, data science, cryptography, hardware, and AI, to name a few. I recommend dabbling in each of them, whether through projects or university courses, as this exploration may unveil a passion that resonates with you.

If you could change the world, what would you do?

I would just end the wars. It breaks my heart that people in Ukraine, Gaza, Sudan … are dying in pointless conflict and I can’t think of anything more urgent than that.