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Meet Lyu Jeonghyun, Data Scientist at AlpacaJapan

Today, we are very excited to introduce our new grad, Lyu Jeonghyun (aka Lyu-kun), who joined Alpaca this April. Lyu-kun is our Data Scientist focusing on Long term (forex, bonds) market prediction. We had him answer a few questions about himself and his aspirations - read on to find out some interesting facts about him!! (Interviewer: Maiko Mizuno, HR)

Interview:

(Maiko) Hi Lyu-kun, it’s really great to spend some time with you today to get to know you better. To start with, could you tell us about how you ended up joining Alpaca?

(Lyu) Well, it’s a bit of a long story…I was a student at Osaka University researching GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks), which is one kind of model of Deep Learning. It’s a model that can directly learn the characteristics of a target domain. In the field of computer vision, it’s frequently used to generate images or convert the style of images.

Anyway, I had the opportunity to present my research at a conference held by JNNS (Japanese Neural Network Society) where I had the chance to speak with someone from PFN (Preferred Network). At that time, I had also already been doing asset management of my own utilizing price forecasting models for stock and cryptocurrency. When I mentioned about this to the person at PFN, he told me ‘There’s this startup called Alpaca which is really standing out in the field of market forecasting’ which immediately caught my attention. However, to be honest, at that moment, it wasn’t that I had this image of working at Alpaca as I was seriously thinking of pursuing my own business where I was creating price forecasting models for stock and cryptocurrency and my business partner focusing on marketing.

(Maiko) Interesting to know that what you already had been working on your own was so relevant to what Alpaca had been focusing on.

(Lyu) Yes, even though my major was neuroscience, the reason why I had been so into studying deep learning was because I wanted to create an automatic trading model. My motive there was to earn big money…(laugh) However, there were weaknesses to what I had been doing as there wasn’t enough PoC in the process.

(Maiko) I see. My gut feeling tells me we’re now going to talk about why you joined Alpaca.

(Lyu) I knew back then that I needed to develop my model but my business partner was against it and insisted we just continue marketing our product as is. I ended up calling it quits with my business partner and decided to move on. There was also another big event in my private life - my wife got pregnant with our first child, I had a family to protect.

I actually had another choice to continue with my research with financial support at graduate school as my research achievements were well valued. However, in my laboratory, although there were people who had very good knowledge in classical machine learning, there weren’t any who had good knowledge in recent research of deep learning (which is also included in machine learning). Therefore my final decision to work at either Alpaca or PFN.

(Maiko) And how did you end up at Alpaca?

(Lyu) Well, I wasn’t accepted at PFN to begin with (laugh) as my technical skill sets didn’t meet their needs. But because of that, I got to join Alpaca. My manager, Sho Yoshida, is bringing in so much knowledge to me. My current goal is to exceed Yoshida-san!! To be honest, I’ve always thought my deep learning skills were my strengths all-round. So I’ve been making a lot of suggestions to Yoshida-san but I just end up finding out that he’d already challenged most of my suggestions. Yoshida-san is AMAZING!! When I have more time in the future, I’d like to learn more from Keisuke Umezawaas well. All members of the Data Scientist Team have many attractive skills -there is so much to absorb from them which is really exciting.

(Maiko) Thanks for being so open (laugh). So how do you feel after a few months working at Alpaca?

(Lyu) I already had an impression about Alpaca when I had my final interview. Talking about Yoshida-san, I get to see his great skills with my own eyes everyday. He is even more awesome than I had initially imagined. As for our CEO, Morifumi Yotsumoto, my first impression about him was very aggressive, but I found that he is actually a more calm and down to earth person than I had initially thought (laugh). He’s also a lot of fun when we all go out drinking!! Overall, I think Alpaca is full of interesting and weird people (laugh). I like and can relate to the way Shun Ko has a very unique sense of humor where we find the same things funny. As for Tomo Kitayama, he speaks very fast (laugh) but he is always logical and therefore my thinking also gets stimulated when I speak with him.

(Maiko) It’s always fun to hear how our colleagues feel about each other (laugh). Knowing you had various options in terms of what kind of company to work at, did you specifically have interest in joining a startup?

(Lyu) Well, when it comes to what kind of company I want to work at, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a mega firm or startup. Whether I can challenge and pursue my desire in the machine learning field is all that matters to me. I want to enjoy working and I have a strong desire to be in an environment where I can develop my skills and knowledge.

(Maiko) Are you getting all that at Alpaca?

(Lyu) Yes, especially in the engineering field where I need to further develop my skills. I don’t think I’ll be able to further develop my strengths if I do not start from where I’m not good enough. I feel that Alpaca is a company that can offer such environment.

(Maiko) What is it that you seek further at Alpaca?

(Lyu) First of all, we need to exchange our technical knowledge even more. Members of the Data Science Team are constantly acquiring new knowledge and building new models from their knowledge and ideas.. We need to be able to share our knowledge during such change.

Secondly, this is my personal suggestion, but it would be great if we can take turns summarizing research papers on deep learning whenever new ones come out so that we can efficiently share knowledge within the team.

(Maiko) Great ideas, is there anything else you wish to say about Alpaca?

(Lyu) It would be great if we can have more opportunities to mingle outside work like sharing hobbies etc. That would be great fun!!

Lastly, I am going to make every effort to go beyond Yoshida-san in the very near future!! I’ve got to admit, everyone in the Data Science Team has outstanding skills where they have the capability to embody their vast knowledge in the data science field. I am very lucky to be working in such stimulating environment.

(end of interview)

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