MeetThatname: Sylvain Surcin. Artificial Intelligence Expert and Kwaga’s Core Engine and Outlook developer.
Main expertise: Hard to say because his expertise is really two-fold— linguistics and programming. Sylvain has a PhD in Computational Linguistics with a specialization in Semantics. We all know “Semantics” is a big word, but more concretely, beyond parsing words in a sentence, analyzing them, assigning values and possible interpretations— the real value of the field is what you do with all of that rich linguistic information after you’ve understood it— hence Artificial Intelligence.
Why Kwaga? Birds of feather flock together, right? Sylvain and our CTO, Frédéric Meunier have known each other since 1999, and have been bumping into our CEO and CSO (Philippe and Gaëlle) regularly ever since. When Philippe had the idea to launch a team to conquer the world of email with the power of linguistics, well… Sylvain, Fred, and Gaëlle were immediately on board.
Bragging rights: Just like many of the team at Kwaga, Sylvain has this dual identity of being a “coder” and also a language lover (speaks fluent French, English, Spanish, Catalan and can function in German, Greek, Portugese). Sylvain approaches code as an art and the release of Outlook in the next few weeks will prove that!
Current Mission: Finalize Outlook’s basic service and then expand from there (and believe me, there’s a ton of potential). Sylvain also designed the core of WriteThatname’s analysis engine, and he’s working on improving it and accelerating its processing time which of course sounds easy, but if it were… I would have explained it in greater detail… something about UIMA, C++ and predictive resource usage optimization. 😉
Finally, Sylvain is also an avid musician and believe it or not, the Kwaga offices double as a chamber room for Traditional Irish Music on Sundays… maybe one of these days, I’ll write about it and post a bit of audio/video of the weekly event which Sylvain hosts 😉