Despite all that’s going on in the world, our work continues and we’re thankful to our fantastic team for keeping things moving forward. Earlier this year we started showing off one of our Qcify superstars every two months. Next up: Antoon De Cleen, who keeps us cutting edge as R&D software developer.

The right algorithms in the right place

Antoon’s job was originally focused on improving deep learning, but he has come to take on a wide range of duties. “I now handle everything that has to do with image processing and acquisition, in particular classifying images,” he says. “Basically we receive images of produce, clean them to extract clean data and then process that through a network that gives us information on what the image contains and scores the content by class.”

So what does a typical day for Antoon entail? To begin with, lots of programming work in MATLAB language for technical computing, which he uses to make proofs of concepts and show what’s possible. “MATLAB is actually really good for that. At the moment we’re working on converting that MATLAB code to C++. So I’m partly responsible for Qcify’s software,” he says. “I do the software development work together with my colleague Jef, who has a lot more knowledge and experience in that area.&rdquo

A big part of Antoon’s job consists of creating and applying algorithms. “Why this is so important? Well, if you have a bad algorithm, it makes things slow and inaccurate. If you don’t clean your data, your neural network won’t give clean results. It’s extremely important to have the right algorithms in the right place.”

Lean mean trans-Atlantic team

What Antoon loves most about his job is the sense that he’s making an important contribution. “As a consultant in a large company, you have a very limited range of tasks,” he says. “At Qcify on the other hand I have a lot of responsibility, which is very cool. It’s not for everyone, but I like being intrapreneurial. You see quick results, which is really useful. There’s no overhead at all, you just get started and boom. That efficiency really appeals to me.”

Another thing he appreciates is the freedom to try new things. “If I want to try something because I think it adds value, I’m free to do it. I don’t have to get permission first. If it’s good, I say it. If it isn’t, I also say it,” he says. The open atmosphere at Qcify is supported by the lack of hierarchy. “Raf doesn’t act like the boss, though he is the boss. He’s in charge, but he’ll never push his leadership on us. When it comes to the field of tech, he’s a big proponent of new technology. So if I propose something new that I think would work better, I can go for it.”

As far as working in a trans-Atlantic team goes, Antoon hasn’t had any problems with the time difference. “When my workday in Belgium ends, the Silicon Valley workday begins. Then we can have a meeting with the whole team. That way we bridge the time difference, and otherwise we just shoot each other an email. Time zones aren’t a limiting factor, especially with Raf, who always seems to be reachable! The team atmosphere is definitely there!” he says.

Carrying on despite corona

Antoon is grateful to be able to carry on with his job during the corona crisis. “I’m one of the lucky few that can keep working unhindered. My job hasn’t changed, which I’m thankful for. Usually I’m based in the Herentals office, but now I work remotely. Of course there’s impact on sales and the supply chain, but our work continues and that’s great.”

At the moment he’s busy adapting the software of existing machines. “We have a new classification for several things and new ways to make improvements. For example, we’re applying more machine learning to other areas beside image processing. This will enable more automation and let us add things faster. Most of our machines are used in the almond industry, but there are lots of industries where our approach can be applied. Right now we still have a lot of work to do to expand to specific products so that process goes smoother.”

In any case Antoon sees a bright future at Qcify. “I see myself working for Qcify for a long time. It’s a very challenging and rewarding job, and I wouldn’t want it any other way!”

Want to be part of our growing dream team? Keep an eye on our job openings or click here to send a spontaneous application!

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