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Meet Ferdinand Roth, Data Scientist at Julie Desk #LifeAtJulie

It might be a new year but some things don’t change and sometimes that’s for the better! The #LifeAtJulie series continues and today, let’s meet Ferdinand Roth, Data Scientist and Basket Officer in Chief at Julie Desk!

You can still find previous episodes of #LifeAtJulie, in case you’ve missed them. 

ferdinand roth

1. Hi Ferdinand, can you tell us a bit more about your background?

I studied mathematics for 4 years at the University of Nancy before joining Telecom Paris Tech Engineering School, where I deepened my knowledge and skills in statistics and machine learning. Then, I worked as a Data Scientist at Bluestone, where I stayed for a year. Following that year as a consultant, I joined the startup PriceMatch, where I worked on a Revenue Management algorithm. And after that, I was hired at Julie Desk. 

2. How did you end up at Julie Desk?

PriceMatch was bought by Booking.com and, rather than joining a major international group, I wanted to work on a new project from the ground up.  That’s when I met the co-founders of Julie Desk, Julien, Nicolas and Guillaume, who were looking for a Data Scientist to develop Julie’s AI. That was the beginning of my adventure at Julie Desk.

3. What’s your role at Julie Desk? Can you describe a typical day? 

I work on the automation of email processing. Basically, I make sure that Julie understands each email and can detect all the information necessary to schedule the appointment. So I develop models that can understand natural language and organize information to answer client requests.

For more details on my work at Julie Desk, I invite you to read my article How NLP gave birth to Julie.

4. Any advice for people willing to do what you do? 

I would advise them to take advantage of every opportunity that allows them to challenge their knowledge and skills.

5. What is the main challenge that you face (or have faced) while working at Julie Desk? 

The main challenge I face every day is to make the machine understand natural language. It is a really complex problem defined as AI-complete – which means that resolving the problem is equivalent to creating an Artificial Intelligence and making it as intelligent as a human – and that has yet to be completely resolved! However, since the appointment scheduling task is so specific and restrictive (in comparison to all possible requests that a human could make), this still allows us to have algorithms that are effective.

6. Where do you see Julie Desk in 5 years? 

Julie’s Artificial Intelligence will have gotten out of control and it will run the world. 😉

7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I don’t even know where I will be in 5 hours!

8. Three words to describe you? 

Persistent, optimistic, contemplative.

9. Anything about you that people might not know and you’d like to share? 

The last two companies where I worked had such big success that they were bought just two years after my arrival. I hope to also bring such luck to Julie Desk.

10. What is the first thing you do in the morning? Any routine? 

Snooze the alarm clock. Getting out of bed every morning is as hard as creating an Artificial Intelligence.

11. Your favorite App? 

Google maps to compensate for my bad sense of direction.

12. Favorite meal?

A good burger always does the trick.

13. Favorite quote? 

“The main scourge of humanity is not ignorance but the refusal to learn.”

Simone De Beauvoir (French writer, philosopher & activist)

14. Who inspires you the most? 

Nobody in particular and several people at the same time.

15. Your best memory at Julie Desk?

Probably our last team building weekend between raclette, paintball, and broken ribs!

Thank you for your time, Ferdinand!

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