Alex Varshavsky

Senior Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Research Lab 

Alex Varshavsky discovered computers when he was almost a teenager, having moved to Israel from his birthplace of Moldova. This discovery quickly set Alex on a lifelong academic and professional path. He reflects: “I first saw a computer at age 12... I was fascinated by it and decided right there that this is what I want to do.”


When asked why he chose to come to UofT, Alex notes, “UofT is the best school in Canada. After moving here, I decided to pursue a graduate career. I looked at several places, received offers from Waterloo and UofT- and chose UofT.” He adds, “I was also very impressed by my advisor, Eyal de Lara, when I came to talk to him before I actually applied to the program.”


“I really enjoyed my time at UofT. The atmosphere is very friendly and you are constantly surrounded by smart people, which is very motivating.” When asked to identify a particular highlight of his graduate career, Alex shares, “Getting your first paper published and presenting it at a conference is a very exciting experience.”


Alex’s time at DCS included free travel to various exotic places for conferences- “it’s part of the game,” he explains. “I have also been involved in several great research projects, all of which are pretty cool.” His projects include work on “Proximity-based Authentication of Mobile Devices”, “Accurate Indoor GSM Localization,” and “Calibration-free Localization”.


After graduating from the department in September 2008, Alex joined AT&T Labs in Florham Park, New Jersey. His job responsibilities include coming up and evaluating creative ideas, publishing papers and writing patents. AT&T Labs provides a university-style free and supportive environment for doing research with no strings attached. "On my first day at AT&T,” Alex remembers, “I was brought to my own large, personal office with a view of a lake, trees, blue sky and deer wandering about, and was told to do whatever I deemed interesting. I have a great job.”


When asked if he has any “words of wisdom” for current grad students, Alex offers this advice: “1. Enjoy yourself. 2. Talk to people- both within your research group and outside. It’s very helpful to get feedback and learn what others are doing. 3. Go to conferences more often- your advisor may pay for your travel even if you don’t have a paper. Knowing top people and talking to them periodically is a must for a research career. 4. Finally, and most importantly: enjoy yourself!”