Portrait of Thomas Vrancken

New 2023 Lecturers Honoured

Lecturer in Machine Learning Systems Design.

Could you briefly describe your career, your research interests and your approach to university teaching?

I first obtained a B.Sc. in Econometrics & Operations Research and then an M.Sc. in Artificial Intelligence, both at the University of Maastricht. During that time, I had the opportunity to study one semester in the SGH Warsaw School of Economics and one semester at the University of Technology Sydney. I concluded my Master by undertaking a thesis internship at Philips R&D, in their High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, on text classification.

My objective of creating concrete real-world impact with Machine Learning (ML) lead me to first work as a Data Scientist at YDatalytics (now Metyis), in Amsterdam for one year. I then moved back to Belgium and worked for four years at ML6 as a Machine Learning Engineer.

ML6 has been one of the fastest growing and most mature ML in production company in Belgium. I had the opportunity to be part of this growth and pick up different responsibilities along the way. I worked for different clients and in different industries. This also means that I could play different roles on these projects, from ML Engineer to Customer Engineer, Tech-Lead, Project Manager and eventually Squad-Lead.

I could experience firsthand the challenges in bringing ML systems to production. Only a fraction of the work is put into implementing the ML model. Most efforts go into functional work, data pipelines, infrastructure setup, training/deployment pipelines, CI/CD, monitoring, ... And ensuring that different engineers can work on it. Competitive data scientists and MLEs need to have a core understanding of MLOps concepts and Cloud engineering.

My career has been built around accelerating the adoption of ML technologies and providing value with it. One of the key challenges of this transition is building a workforce capable of developing ML applications. I hope that students at the end of the course will be able to develop their own ideas and future applications.


Thomas Vrancken

© Photo : ULiège - B.Bouckaert - English translation :

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