The I in IRIS - Anatole

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Meet Anatole, AI & Immersive Audio Research Scientist, whose background is ideally suited for his role. With a captivating career history, Anatole is a fascinating individual.

What is your role at IRIS?

I have been a research scientist at IRIS Audio Technologies for about 9 months now. To be more specific, my role is actually three-fold: First, I have a main research project in AI, which mostly involves training and designing new deep neural networks architectures. Second, I help the other researchers in the team with their projects, which includes brainstorming with them and making sure I understand everything they are working on. And finally, I design and prototype our immersive audio solution, which consists in creating signal processing algorithms to immerse the listener into virtual soundscapes.

AI & Immersive Audio Research Scientist, that’s a really interesting title. What led you to this path and interest in immersive audio?

I studied physics and classical piano at the same time, and always dreamed of being a renowned concertist in classical piano. But after graduating in both fields and spending more than a year trying the classical pianist life, I quickly realised that this was not a life for me. Too lonely, too stressful... I then started looking for jobs in science and I think I ended up quite naturally working in acoustics and immersive audio tech because those jobs require both a strong scientific background and an acute and trained sense of hearing, so having studied physics and music, it was a good match. 

My first job consisted in designing virtual acoustics sound systems to install in concert halls so that they can actively modify their acoustics to better suit each performance. I loved it! It was a very good crossover between music and science and this is also when I discovered and became fascinated with AI. I then completed a Stanford licence on the topic during my free time followed by a couple of online courses over the span of 2 years, and here I am! Working in AI & immersive audio at IRIS. 

What a journey. On that topic, we hear your one request when moving into your house share was that you could play your piano at least an hour per day. Tell us about your passion for piano, how it started, and where you wish to go…

I was lucky enough to grow up in a flat with a grand piano in it, although no one really played in my family. I think I was very impressed by the object itself so I asked my mom if I could learn to play. That’s really how it started. I then developed a passion for classical music over the years, along with a stupid competitive mindset that drove me crazy every time someone played better than me! But most of all, I developed a sort of addiction for the instrument. I have never experienced stronger sensations than when playing the piano.

Today, I approach it with a much healthier mindset where it is only about the pleasure of playing. I still perform concerts though, about once a year, but only low pressure ones. I recently bought a new piano (a Bechstein!), so I am all set to carry on playing for many years!  

Some quickfire questions:

App you couldn’t live without: WhatsApp, very handy when your friends are scattered around the globe ;)

Favourite motorbike route/destination: The Himalayas! 

Favourite thing to do in London: Go to hidden jazz bars and speakeasies

Biggest pet peeve: Loud chewers

Something your colleagues don’t know about you: I can fly a plane and drive a motorcycle, but I don’t have a driving licence for cars