Last week, we welcomed another new team member. Bram Reps joins the Sentiance team as Junior Data Engineer. Bram holds a MSc and PhD in Applied Mathematics, he will help build and maintain a sound and competitive computing infrastructure for Sentiance’s intelligent software solutions.
I associate a startup environment in the first place with ambition. And ambition comes along with many fascinating challenges. Therefore a successful startup must go hand in hand with innovative thinking and creativity, which is the fuel that drives a mathematician; in addition to coffee of course.
What will you be working on for the first couple of weeks?
In the beginning I will basically start absorbing the entire Sentiance technology. I prefer an immediate hands-on experience where I dive into the present software libraries and get my hands dirty on several small open issues. While getting myself familiar with the specific architecture my eyes will be open to identify potential bottlenecks and possibilities for future optimizations.
You’re coming from a purely academic background, why did you decide to make the switch to industry? Do you expect any hurdles?
During my years in academics I gradually made the transition from mathematics to computer science, yet the common keyword has always been scalability. My PhD research focused on scalable iterative solvers from a purely numerical point of view. As a postdoc I mostly learned the programming practices of hiding and avoiding communication in a high performance computing context.
The switch to industry seemed like the logical next step to me, as I wanted to get even closer to the actual end user of state-of-the-art science and technology. Many people have warned me for a culture shock, but so far I feel perfectly at ease in such a passionate startup team. With loads of interesting things to learn, it is like being thrown in the next exciting project. Whether it is in academics or industry: challenging problems are waiting to be solved.
You’ve just installed Journeys a couple of days ago, what do you think your sensor data will say about you?
I am expecting a rather accurate profile. In everyday life I tend to stick to certain habits like going to familiar shops and taking the fastest bike route to my destination, because I hate to put my time in making such choices. So I’d be happy to have my smartphone assist me in that and let me focus on the funny things.
What do you do when you’re not busy crunching data?
If not crunching our two children either, then I like to switch focus on the piano in a music band. Actually, in some way music is just another programming language that one can use to develop an amazing software library of songs. But most of all it is a great way to recharge my batteries and clear the data cache in my mind.