Welcome to a new blog

How do you start a blog? By introducing yourself. So: My name is Yves Sucaet, and I’m the Chief Technology Officer of Pathomation. As the top tech guy, one enjoys certain liberties. One of those, is using corporate resources to host my own blog.

Why a blog? Why now? I’ve thought about it many times before certainly. Now seems a particularly good time however, as I find myself about to embark on a new journey: data science.

Why data science? Because it is hot? Because it is cool? Because it is hype? All of the above, probably. Yes, data science is undoubtedly a hot field, and as a software tech company’s CTO, it’s only my duty to go where the next big opportunities lay. Is data science cool? I’m not the one to say. Depends on your definition of cool, I guess. Is it a hype? Most definitely. But that need not be a bad thing necessarily. It merely means that there’s somewhat more fog out there than usual to cut to the core of a topic and understand it.

I like to think that I come into this unbiased. Also keep in mind that I cannot absorb all knowledge about data science at once; what you’ll read here will eventually be somewhat biased, as it will be influenced by the tools I pick up along the way (more about that in a subsequent post).

I had tried picking up the subject before, but honestly failed miserably. Because of the hype. Because of the clutter. Because of the learning curve of some of the tools out there. Because it’s not fun trying to wrestle yourself through a 300-or-so page book, only to find a list of 3000 other references you should REALLY read to get more background.

What’s changed? I think I’ve finally come across a platform that can help me on my way. I’ve typically been skeptical about online learning (University of Phoenix, Trump University…), but edx.org seemed to be one checking out. It’s backed by some major names in education, including Harvard and MIT. Combine that with a specific “track” (and not just random incoherent tutorials about the next great framework) to get you on your way, and I decided to give it a try.

One of the first things discussed in the course is reaching out. To talk about what you do and how you do it. So this is blog my attempt of contributing to the community, and to take you with my on my path so perhaps we can learn together.

So what else is there to know besides the fact that I’m looking into data science to expand our company’s reach and renew my own personal skillset? I originally trained as a bioinformatician. I completed my graduate work at Iowa State University in 2010. As part of that curriculum, I took a machine learning course in 2007. That was fun, but hard, and tedious. I went through the statistics. I played with the Weka toolkit. As a project for the course, I remember working on k-mer pattern clustering in amino acid sequence strings. The algorithm worked, but one had to do such an extraordinary amount of work, that I didn’t find to subject interesting enough to continue with. I understand that the people that did continue into this field, eventually put their heads together and built the easily configurable back-ends that we have today. Throw in some HCI-people and you get user-friendly interfaces to control those back-ends, too.

Machine learning anno 2007.

Machine learning anno 2017.

Here’s the bottom line: I don’t come into this blindly. I don’t come into this naively either, I believe. I’ve certainly got baggage. Good baggage, I think. And I’m able and willing to travel. And I’m looking forward to meeting new people on my journeys. So leave a comment if you feel so.