Helmut Katzgraber was born in Lima, Peru and is of Austrian descent. After growing up in Lima and completing military duties in Austria, he studied physics at ETH Zurich. In 2001 he received his PhD in Physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After postdoc positions at the University of California, Davis and ETH Zurich, in 2007 he was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation professorship. In 2009 he joined Texas A&M University, receiving an NSF CAREER award in 2011. Since 2015 he holds the rank of professor. In addition, he is an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute and an affiliate professor at the University of Washington. Since 2018 he is principal research manager at Microsoft.