At Algorithmia we’re lucky enough to be surrounded by group of wildly intelligent, quirky, and fun engineers. We’d love for you to come by and meet them in person, but until then we’ll post a series of interviews introducing you to some of the talented people who are creating the future of AI.
For today’s installment, We'd like to introduce you to Besir! He’s an Algorithm Engineer who develops unique AI/ML algorithms. You may remember him from our work on the DanKu protocol, the first trustless contract on the ethereum blockchain. Fun fact: the Ku of DanKu is for Besir’s last name.
Besir, where were you before coming to Algorithmia and why did you make the change?
I’d been living in Turkey since middle school and finished my Computer Science Degree in Data Science in Istanbul. I had been working as a research assistant at my school’s Data Science Lab while also working at a blockchain startup when Diego (our CEO and co-founder) reached out to me.
When Diego first contacted me about working at Algorithmia I actually ignored the first e-mail! I wasn’t really looking to switch jobs at the time, but when I began to research Algorithmia my mind was changed. Algorithmia was working on the forefront of AI and machine learning. They were trying to productionize cutting-edge ML at scale. I was fresh out of school and had a ton of new skills to test and learn. I knew I could have an impact on the company and the AI space with Algorithmia so I decided to go for it.
That’s a pretty big move, do you think you made the right decision?
Looking back at almost three years here I’m glad I made the leap. I can’t imagine working on this many different problems or having this level of impact anywhere else. I believe that Machine Intelligence will have a huge impact on our lives in the days to come, and I hope to have a defining role in shaping this new future. My co-workers are also constantly challenging me to be better. It was important for me to be part of a team that would force me to improve. I didn’t want to be the smartest guy in the room.
So would you say your co-workers are your favorite thing about working here?
They’re a huge part of why I like working here but I actually think the coolest thing is that I could research, write, and publish my own paper while I was here. The CTO and Co-Founder, Kenny and I started on a trustless contract project at a local hackathon. With our background in blockchain it made sense for us to keep working on it, even though it wasn’t directly related to Algorithmia. We published it earlier this year, the DanKu Protocol. You can read more about it on our blog.
Did anything else surprise you about coming to work here?
I didn’t expect to have such great lunch options! We’re right in Pike Place Market and have a ton of amazing choices ranging from Seafood Chowder to amazing BBQ. We’re also half a block away from our company-paid gym, which makes it super easy to go there everyday after work. I also love dogs so I really like when my co-workers bring their dogs in for the day.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know Besir! Check back later for our next interview with one of our other amazing engineers or check out our careers page today to learn about life at Algorithmia!