Alumni portrait - Øyvind Storesund Hetland - NTNU Alumni
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Øyvind Storesund Hetland
Øyvind Storesund Hetland
Position: Data Scientist consultant in Inmeta
Education: Master of Science in Applied Physics and Mathematics (2006-2012)
Philosophiae Doctor, Physics
Civil engineer reminisces about his student days
Øyvind Storesund Hetland misses the steep learning curve from his time as a student. He remembers everything from when he used oil from the deep fat fryers from Burger King in Glasgow in jet engines to being challenged at every level – other than engineering – at the student society Samfundet.
- I think maybe the civil engineering degree taught me to think like an engineer, while the PhD taught me to think like a scientist, says Øyvind Storesund Hetland, with a smile during a Skype meeting from Oslo where he has his home office.
He says that the civil engineering degree in Technical Physics is known to be an engineering degree with theoretical gravitas, and that he has benefited from it in his studies both in the PhD and in the job as a Data Scientist consultant in the IT consulting company Inmeta. He signed the job contract just before he finished his PhD in 2017.
Exchange student in Tokyo and in Glasgo
Hetland certainly does not mind reminiscing about his student days in Trondheim. He reckons he spent as much time on the student society Samfundet and the sport club NTNUI as on the studies, and admits he gets quite nostalgic reminiscing.
- Life was so compact and intense, you learnt so much, both academically and socially.
- What are the most valuable lessons you have brought with you from NTNU?”
- I learnt a lot from NTNU giving me the chance to do two exchanges. At the University of Glasgow I did the classical engineering classes, we once started two small jet engines with oil from the deep fat fryer at Burger King in order to run noise analysis on turbine blades. Experiences like these are hard to forget, Hetland reminisces, and continues:
- Here I met my future wife, and I am obviously grateful for that. During my sixth year of the degree, I was at the University of Tokyo where I wrote my master's thesis about the steel used to contain nuclear reactors. It was just after the Fukushima accident in 2011, so it was an exceptional time.
After the stay in Japan, he got an exchange summer job in Switzerland through the organization The International Association for The Exchange Of Students for Technical Experience, aka IASTE. He strongly recommends others to do the same.
From forecasting a cow’s weight to increased maritime safety
Today, his everyday job is to create smart solutions using machine learning and artificial intelligence, which means everything from self-driving cars to automatic diagnosis of cancer, and to automating the document flow at the Norwegian Parliament. Thus, as an alumnus of NTNU, he contributes to bring knowledge into society in many ways.
- At Hafslund my job was to improve communication between the new AMS meters, at Tine I created models to predict a cow’s future weight, and at DNVGL I have worked with different decision support systems that make it easier and more efficient to inspect ships and oil platforms for safety nonconformities, Hetland says about the varied everyday life at work
Motivated by finding smart solutions
- What motivates you in your work?”
- A lot! We build systems that can do exciting things in the real world, models that can self-improve For that I need physics, mathematics and statistics, and at the same time I have to think as an engineer to create a solution that is robust enough to survive in the real world. I appreciate this kind of challenge.
We live in an overly exciting time when it comes to machine learning and artificial intelligence, he thinks. Currently it is particularly interesting to follow developments where such technologies are used in medicine and pandemic dynamics.
The alumni network has importance both professionally and socially
Hetland is very enthusiastic, and the kind of person who does not run out things to talk about. Experiences from Trondhjems Studentersangforening, Pirum, Snaustrinda and Studenterhytta NTNUI have given him memorable recollections, and cured his stage fright. He has also been president of the PhD organization DION. They collaborated with NTNU Alumni on various events, such as various subject seminars and events where the students could get the chance to meet representatives from business and industry.
- How important has the Alumni network been to you?
- I really appreciate my friends and contacts from my student days and have regular contact with many of my PhD colleagues. Having an alumni network can make it easier for me to find expert in different areas to contact if I need it in my work.