Cortana, Microsoft’s new digital assistant was presented this year. However, few people know that behind this project is a Greek scientist who stated that he is proud of his Pontian origins, while he also is in love with his job.
The 41-year-old principal software architect at Microsoft, Savas Parastatidis, originates from a Pontian village called Petinos. He had expressed his love and inclinations towards computers from a young age: “My favorite game was to ruin my home’s electronic devices,” he admitted.
“Growing up, I discovered video games and my parents borrowed a computer from a friend so that I wouldn’t waste all my pocket money in arcades. This changed my life,” he added. As he noted during an interview with Greek newspaper “Ethnos,” his parents, Fotini and Giorgos, paid much attention to his learning and helped him achieve his dreams.
After three and a half years of studying Informatics at the Technological Educational Institute of Thessaloniki, he joined the Erasmus program and travelled to Leeds in the UK. He then studied for a post-graduate degree in Newcastle and received a scholarship in order to begin his doctorate research studies on computer science.
In 2005, Parastatidis moved to the United States, after accepting a job offer from Microsoft. He did research for the company for four years and collaborated with several leading scientists in the field. At that point, he was given the opportunity to work on a new project, the creation of a digital assistant, Cortana. As the principal software architect, he worked 14-18 hours a day, seven days a week and the outcome was successful.
“I don’t consider this work because I am simply following my dream. I will continue to do what I love and try hard for it.”
Parastatidis has managed to rise to the top, however he never forgets his roots and in fact he says he is very proud of his origins. “I love Seattle, where I have been living for the last 10 years, but my birthplace, the Pontian village of Petinos, will always have a special place in my heart.”