#meetrhumbix interview with Michael Myers, Data Scientist

Posted by Guy Skillett on 1/4/16 10:05 AM
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To kick off the New Year, we are starting a series called #meetrhumbix to introduce you to the amazing individuals that are part of our team. This week’s interview is with Michael Myers our Data Scientist. Read on to find out how Michael transitioned from academia to construction.

Tell us a bit about your background.
I like to think about the big picture and I get excited about solving new problems. Prior to joining Rhumbix, I got my PhD from UC Berkeley in Physics doing research in experimental cosmology. Studying the universe on the largest scales of space and time is really the biggest picture you can imagine!

How did you find out about Rhumbix?
I had just wrapped up a multi-year project building and deploying a new telescope in Chile and was ready to try something new outside academia. I thought a startup might be a good fit, but it was a bit of a challenge finding something that felt really impactful. I met an advisor to Rhumbix at a data science workshop and he introduced me to Zach and Drew.
When I met Zach and Drew, I knew what they were working on was big enough and challenging enough to keep me motivated. My wife is a structural engineer so I was somewhat familiar with the scale and complexity of the construction process. I knew the solutions I would be working on were more than just the next big thing in social media — and that is exactly the kind of work I wanted to be doing.

Michael in Chile with the telescope he helped build in the background.

Are there similarities between cosmology and construction?
Both require taking a holistic view of a very complex system. In cosmology, you’re trying to understand the entire universe in a very quantitative and fine-grained fashion. We want to do the same thing on a construction site, so we can use active and passive data collection to understand everything happening as the construction project evolves. This will allow us to help workers optimize their behavior to improve productivity and safety on job sites
What excites you about your day-to-day work?
A construction site is an incredibly dynamic environment, so the plan you had on day one may look very different only a few weeks into actual construction. Owners rely on the experience and capabilities of workers and foremen to cope with these changes, but they often don’t have the information they need when they need it. We’re building tools to capture and relay critical data to help workers understand the important details of the project and how they’re changing in real time. 
What are you working on right now?
A big challenge for us is building robust location-based analytics. There are places on jobsites where the GPS signals are not strong enough to provide accurate location. I’m currently evaluating indoor location technologies that use technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and exploring how we can use them on construction sites.
I’m also working on a more scalable data analysis pipeline for our workshift analytics to ensure we can grow with new customers as well as new ideas for data deliverables.

Interested in working with a guy like Michael? Rhumbix is hiring. Check out a list of open positions here.

Topics: Big Data & Construction, #meetrhumbix, Data Science

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