— Meet Ali

I realized if we did not have this algorithm, the amount of time we would spend trying to find the right solution would be astronomical.

Let’s start with an introduction!

My name is Ali and I’m from Lebanon. I am a working student in Roche as part of the Sample Quality team in Germany. Currently doing my masters in data engineering and just have the thesis to go. I also have an electrical and computer engineering background from the American University of Beirut.

Why is working with data so important to you?

When I worked at the American university in Beirut, we were trying to find scholars to apply and study at the university. We visited a lot of places and talked to many students encouraging them to apply. The applications needed to be scanned and do manual data entry inorder to choose which students get the scholarship. There is a programme that when you input this data, it will find the best candidate. I realized if we did not have this algorithm, the amount of time we would spend trying to find the right solution would be astronomical. Every problem we face has data. All you need is to find, process and analyze this data. This solves many problems. There is where I more realized the power of data, and wanted to further pursue it.

When did you first hear about Roche?

This was kind of a funny story. I got an email in my university about a scholarship opportunity at Roche and we would need to apply to the data mining challenge. I got to the interview round but was not selected, but later they contacted me after offering me to apply for the Healthcare Xplorer challenge. I definitely did and was successful this time and so here I am!

Why did you decide to apply?

I had several ‘whys’ which helped me decide to apply to Roche and the Healthcare Xplorer challenges. I am a person who is deeply data driven. This is exactly what Healthcare Xplorer focuses on – finding solutions based on data. Secondly, since I am a fresh graduate, I have all this new knowledge about machine learning and data science which I really wanted to apply in the real world. The challenge I ultimately applied to and what I am working in now works with cutting edge technology. Healthcare Xplorers enabled me to work on projects which have a direct impact on society. This is so important for me, so that was why I applied.

What was your challenge question about?

The challenge is about Non-Invasive Liquid Level Detection. So RDA works like a pipeline. We focus on preprocessing medical tubes. You need to put them in a specific way to ensure the sample liquids get the right tests. To reach the test, you need to detect the liquid levels by using two lasers each of different wavelengths which basically ensure the samples are accurate. What I do is try and find a more accurate algorithm which can be used for liquid level detection inside these tubes.

How was the Xplorers camp?

Reaching the camp alone felt special because I had another chance to show what I can do and work with Roche. I was already aware of the panel view so that was not new to me. I enjoyed that I had to try and find a solution to this specific problem. I have to admit, I was kind of stressed as I had to present in front of experts in the field, but it was exciting at the same time. It was super amazing to get this valuable feedback from the experts which I could apply after.

What was Roche like? Was it as you expected?

I already knew Roche was a pioneer in Healthcare, focussing on innovation. This is exactly what I saw when I joined. We work on finding innovative solutions to improve the lives of patients. I also knew it was an international company but it was so cool to get to know different cultures and different people from different walks of life. Expectations meet reality in this case which was a great experience.

Which project are you most proud of working on so far?

Because the work we do at Roche has a positive impact on patients, I am already proud to be contributing to this work. I also hope to successfully finish my current project, because I would truly get to see the impact showing the work myself and my team have done has helped make this process more efficient, more accurate, which helps healthcare providers and patients in the end.

What are you up to nowadays?

Apart from continuing on with my Non-Invasive Liquid Level Detection project, I am taking the opportunity to improve my skills in machine learning, software knowledge and in computer vision and image processing.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

As a short term goal, I want to improve my skills and work to become an expert in machine learning for the Healthcare field.

Would you recommend Healthcare Xplorers? Why or why not?

If you are a person who loves data, wants to help make cutting edge solutions and enjoys solving complex problems and wants to learn from experts in the field, then I absolutely recommend Healthcare Xplorers to you.