Here at Substorm we’re proud to have a team from (an in) all over the world. Did you know we have employees from Sweden, Chile, India, Poland, Lithuania and Romania?
Meet Sergio Liberman who came to us straight from receiving his master in Machine Learning at Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan in Stockholm in 2021. But his story begins in Santiago, Chile where he broke his first computer at the age of five and was producing webpages at the age of twelve. Today he excels our work with machine learning – and teaches us about Completos, and pigs.
Started working at Substorm: 2021
Languages: Spanish, English, Python and now a little Swedish
Favourite Completo topping: Avocado
Bucketlist destination: Portugal, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Louisiana, Hawaii, Salvador de Bahia, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Easter Island
Your primary focus at Substorm is Machine Learning, how would you explain machine learning to a (thirty)five year old?
Machine Learning is teaching a computer to do a task by examples and generalisation. Eg. for classification: this photo is a soup, this photo is a hotdog, now what is here in this photo?
Classification is similar to when teaching a kid how to differentiate between a dog and a cat by showing them photos of both, but you can also use Machine Learning for searching images. In that case, if you have an idea of what you look for, you could search by analysing the content of the photos in gallery mode (for example, the color or the brightness might be what you remembered) or use the information that the phone addssuch as the location in which the photo was taken and the exact time and date.
On the subject of differences - what's the biggest difference between Chile and Sweden?
Definitely the language. But I just started to take Swedish lessons!
Hur går det då? (How's that going in Swedish)
Bara bra, tack! (Just fine, thank you! in Swedish)
But regarding the language, one thing I ‘ve been thinking of lately is how we in colloquial Chilean Spanish use many phrases that have to do with animals. For example, if we say that we are short of money, that’s that we are “duck”. Or if you are very tired, you say that the “mare laid down”. Having fun would be “having a pig time” and to gather some money between friends to share a beer is to do a “cow”. We have these phrases very internalised in our language and our daily routines, so living here and not being able to use them is a huge difference!
What's, besides Swedish, is the latest thing you learned to do?
Yesterday I was studying up on Apache Kafka for an upcoming project.
What's the best thing about working at Substorm?
First of all my colleagues, they really all are amazing people. I also appreciate the individual recognition here and the feeling of responsibility. And that I get the time to also do my own stuff.
Your own stuff? Tell us more!
Nerd stuff, I love learning new stuff at home as well, like using old software and getting cool ideas for personal projects. When working in Substorm, many times I get to read about that same stuff for the projects I work on, so it’s a win-win!
You also teach your colleagues (and interviewers) things all the time, for example you recently held a lightning talk about Completos? For those who weren't present, what is it?
Completos is the typical Chilean hotdog that you can prepare with many different ingredients, such as avocado, tomato, sauerkraut, pickles, sauce or cheese. It’s a big thing in our culture as well. I recently added a few Completo review instagram accounts in which they rate Completo joints.
When was the last time you had one?
About a month ago in this small chilean café called Dignity here in Stockholm.
What's your favourite Swedish dish?
Fisk med potatis och sås, maybe salmon!
Finally, what advice would you give to someone thinking of getting into Machine Learning and AI?
Be curious! And be interested in the underlying technology. Read blogs, papers, watch lots of videos and try to solve a challenge from the Kaggle Community!