Chang Wei is a Data Scientist at Stemly. He studied Electrical Engineering at Monash University, Melbourne, and further his studies with a Ph.D. in Machine Learning, specializing in Scalable Time Series Classification. He has won the best paper award and the Mollie Holman Medal that was awarded to the top 10 Ph.D. thesis at Monash University. He’s been working primarily on various Demand Planning projects with the customer, focusing on developing good forecasting models.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kuching, Sarawak, a small city in East Malaysia. Kuching is a very laid-back city. It is one of the cities in Malaysia with lots of greeneries that has attracted many tourists to its hiking trails. Kuching Is also famous for Its food. Some of the popular food In Kuching is the laksa and noodles which are very different from other parts of Malaysia and Singapore. I completed my high school education there and moved to Kuala Lumpur for college. When I was 19, I moved to Melbourne to pursue my engineering degree and Ph.D. at Monash University. Coming from a tropical country, I enjoyed the cold Melbourne climate (although It was very erratic at times). In addition, the friendly Aussies and the varieties of good food in Melbourne have made me decided to make Melbourne my home.
When did you realize you wanted to do Data Science and how did you pick up your expertise?
After I completed my engineering degree, machine learning and data science start to gain more attention around the world. Everyone was talking about Big Data, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence. This Is when I decided to further my studies in machine learning and data science, although the terms were very vague to me. Many computer science skills such as programming and understanding data structures and algorithms are important to study machine learning. However coming from an engineering background, these are not my strength. So I started to look for resources online and practice my programming skills. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources online where one could learn any programming language easily. I learned a lot from going through hours of YouTube videos and computer science blogs. Besides, being a Ph.D. student also helps me understand the fundamentals and theory behind many machine learning and data science.
What are your favorite parts about working at Stemly?
I love working at Stemly because of the culture and the people at Stemly. Everyone at Stemly Is friendly, supportive, and encouraging. Stemly is a global multi-culture organization with teams and customers from all around the world. I get to work with people from Singapore, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia while physically in Australia. In addition, I also love the fact that I always get to learn something new from each project that I have worked on. All the projects at Stemly are very Interesting In the sense that they are similar but different at the same time. For Instance, most of the projects are demand-planning focused but the data and solutions could be vastly different.
How have you been able to learn and grow at Stemly?
I learn and grow a lot while working on multiple projects at Stemly. The projects at Stemly are Interesting and unique, each of them requires a different solution. Hence to solve the problems, I have to understand the data and think outside the box to come up with a solution for the project. Besides, some projects also require me to interact with the customers which allows me to develop better communication skills.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am a foodie. I love to hunt around for good food, even if it means traveling for 30 minutes to 1 hour for the food. Being a foodie also makes me love traveling. I love to travel around the world, exploring different cultures and finding the nicest food In the cities, I travel to. During my spare time, I like to do bonsai gardening. Bonsai is a Japanese word, meaning plant In a pot. Growing a bonsai Is like an art where you can shape the tree however you like to make It stands out. Pruning and working on bonsai help to clear my thoughts and relax.
What are your future career ambitions?
My ambition Is to make a Positive Impact on the world. Since my university days, I have always wanted to start my own company and make a difference in the world. I hope to use my knowledge In machine learning to change the world.
What technological problem do you think is worth solving and why, if you had unlimited resources?
I think that a big technological problem worth solving Is how to incorporate all the advancements in machine learning Into a smart AI system that can assists our daily life, like J.A.R.V.I.S. from the Ironman movies. There have been huge advancements In many machine learning applications but they are mostly independent of each other.
Everyone’s either a sweet or savory person, which one are you? And what’s your favorite cake/dish?
II think I am a savory person most of the time. My favorite food is sushi. Although sushi may look simple, it can be very complex where each component, including the soya sauce used, plays an important role in the taste of the dish. Of course, I would not say no to a good cup of bubble tea and waffles!
Check out Chang Wei’s LinkedIn profile, GitHub account and Website to find out more.Artificial IntelligenceAustraliaCustomer SuccessData ScienceData ScientistDemand PlanningElectrical EngineeringJ.A.R.V.I.S.KuchingMachine LearningMalaysiaMelbourneMollie Holman medalMonash UniversityPh.D.SarawakScalable Time Series Classification