Ben Summers, Developer in Uppsala, Sweden
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Ben Summers

Verified Expert  in Engineering

Data Engineer and Machine Learning Developer

Location
Uppsala, Sweden
Toptal Member Since
June 27, 2019

With a PhD in pure maths, Ben would describe himself as an academic at heart, which means he is deeply passionate about his work. Since finishing his PhD in 2012, he has worked professionally as a back-end and data engineer for a large global company and a small startup. Since 2015, he has been obsessed with machine learning, especially neural networks, and enjoys applying these techniques to solve real-world problems. Ben has been freelancing via Toptal since 2019.

Portfolio

Sonbol Consulting AB
PyTorch, AWS IoT, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Apache Airflow...
The AI Framework
AI Programming, PyTorch, Reinforcement Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning...
Birchbox
Python, SQL, Apache Airflow, Redshift, Fivetran, Data Engineering...

Experience

Availability

Part-time

Preferred Environment

Linux, Git, PyCharm, Jupyter, Python, Python 3, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Docker, GitHub

The most amazing...

...project I've done is my Ph.D. thesis—writing didn't come naturally and it posed a real challenge.

Work Experience

AI and Data Consultant

2019 - PRESENT
Sonbol Consulting AB
  • Developed a proof of concept in 3D machine learning using PyTorch and PyTorch3D.
  • Developed a Shopify app for generating product descriptions using GPT.
  • Created a sourdough monitor using modern computer vision techniques.
  • Built out a data warehouse for a client using Fivetran and data build tool (dbt).
Technologies: PyTorch, AWS IoT, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Apache Airflow, Data Build Tool (dbt), ChatGPT, OpenAI GPT-3 API, OpenAI GPT-4 API, LangChain, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Fast.ai, Architecture, Research, API Design, Web Scraping, Machine Learning, Python, Machine Learning Automation, Supervised Machine Learning, Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), Large Language Models (LLMs)

Principal Scientist

2023 - 2024
The AI Framework
  • Developed a bespoke solution for the vehicle routing problem based on deep reinforcement learning with transformers and PPO, enabling new use cases.
  • Deployed and supported HEAVY.AI for a large telecommunications client, which was impressive for various stakeholders.
  • Set up VMs and bare-metal hardware for various purposes, resulting in much faster development to the POC stage.
Technologies: AI Programming, PyTorch, Reinforcement Learning, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Transformer Models, Open-source LLMs, Large Language Models (LLMs), Large Language Model Operations (LLMOps)

Senior/Mid-senior Data Engineer

2022 - 2022
Birchbox
  • Created pipelines to populate the data warehouse (Redshift) from various sources using Fivetran, including custom connectors in AWS Lambda with Terraform.
  • Built out data warehouse (Redshift) with dbt for defining transformations.
  • Created reverse ETL pipelines from Redshift into Braze using dbt and Airflow.
  • Migrated data from a legacy Magento store into a new Shopify store using Python scripts.
Technologies: Python, SQL, Apache Airflow, Redshift, Fivetran, Data Engineering, Data Build Tool (dbt), ETL, Business Intelligence (BI), ELT, Data Analytics, AWS Lambda, Redis, JSON, GitHub, Data Visualization, Data Modeling, Databases, Database Design, Database Structure, Database Transactions, Software Architecture, CI/CD Pipelines, Security, DevOps, Data Architecture, Data, Technical Architecture, ETL Tools, Monitoring, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), IP Networks, Terraform, Anaconda, Statistics, Architecture, API Design, Dashboards, ClickStream

Airflow Engineer (via Toptal)

2021 - 2022
Idelic
  • Ported existing ETL jobs from a legacy Celery-based system to run on Airflow (Astronomer-hosted). The sources included Amazon S3, REST APIs, and SOAP APIs.
  • Guided the team in employing Apache Airflow best practices/conventions.
  • Strengthened already strong experience with PyCharm, Python, Apache Airflow, and Git.
Technologies: Apache Airflow, Python, Python 3, Requests, Pandas, Git, GitHub, Docker, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cloud Storage, Infrastructure, APIs, Data Integration, Amazon S3 (AWS S3), Data Aggregation, Pipelines, Beautiful Soup, ETL, Data Engineering, Cron, Redis, JSON, HTML, SQL, Databases, Database Transactions, Transactions, Software Architecture, CI/CD Pipelines, Security, Data Architecture, Data, Technical Architecture, ETL Tools, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Anaconda, Statistics, Architecture

3D Graphics Machine Learning Engineer

2020 - 2021
Toptal Client
  • Designed and implemented a 3D reconstruction pipeline.
  • Constructed a dataset for a high-quality 3D reconstruction.
  • Reviewed literature to select the best approach for the client's requirements.
  • Used Azure virtual machines to train machine learning models with Weights and Biases for experiment tracking.
Technologies: PyTorch, PyTorch3D, Azure, Data Pipelines, Python, CSV, Machine Learning, Python 3, Computer Vision, Data Science, Git, Linear Algebra, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), Neural Networks, Probability Theory, Image Recognition, Data Visualization, Cloud Storage, Infrastructure, Data Analysis, Data Reporting, APIs, Data Integration, Data Aggregation, Pipelines, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, Data Analytics, Cron, Deep Neural Networks, JSON, GitHub, AI Programming, NVIDIA CUDA, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), Software Architecture, Security, Data, Modeling, Technical Architecture, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Anaconda, Statistics, Architecture, Research, API Design, Machine Learning Automation, Supervised Machine Learning, Dashboards, Computer Vision Algorithms, Benchmarking, Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI)

Research Programmer

2019 - 2020
USC ISI (via Toptal)
  • Improved cross-lingual query summarization system, resulting in the team winning during the evaluation period despite being in second place before the summarization stage.
  • Increased the speed of experiment runs by using an approximate k-nearest neighbors algorithm for embedding lookups using the Annoy library after identifying the bottleneck using py-spy.
  • Increased iteration speed and reliability by enforcing design decisions with tests and structuring code.
Technologies: Doccano, Jupyter, PyCharm, ZeroMQ, Flask, Gensim, Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), Python, Python 3, Linux, NumPy, Git, Data Pipelines, CSV, Machine Learning, Data Science, Probability Theory, Data Visualization, Infrastructure, Data Analysis, Data Reporting, APIs, Microsoft Excel, Data Integration, Data Aggregation, Beautiful Soup, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, Back-end, Data Analytics, Cron, JSON, HTML, AI Programming, Web Development, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Language Models, Database Structure, Software Architecture, Security, Data, Technical Architecture, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Anaconda, Statistics, Architecture, Research, API Design, Machine Learning Automation, Dashboards, Benchmarking

Data Scientist

2018 - 2019
Instabridge
  • Migrated a data system from AWS to Google Cloud.
  • Developed models to identify moving WiFi hotspots, e.g., those hotspots on trains or mobile devices.
  • Built models to estimate locations of WiFi hotspots from scans and connections by Android devices.
  • Wrote and deployed data models in/with dbt (data build tools).
  • Produced various ad-hoc analyses for stakeholders.
  • Deployed Snowplow event pipelines on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) with Cloud Pub/Sub, Dataflow, BigQuery, and Google Compute Engine.
Technologies: Keras, TensorFlow, Scikit-learn, Pandas, PyTorch, Spark, BigQuery, EMR, ETL, Apache Airflow, Spark ML, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Spark SQL, Python 3, Linux, Big Data, Amazon Kinesis, Redshift, Agile, NumPy, Scala, Git, NoSQL, Data Modeling, Data Pipelines, Data Engineering, Google Data Studio, CSV, Machine Learning, SQL, Python, Computer Vision, Apache Spark, Data Science, Serverless, Linear Algebra, Neural Networks, LSTM, Probability Theory, Cloud Dataflow, Data Warehousing, Data Warehouse Design, Data Visualization, Data Build Tool (dbt), Cloud Storage, Infrastructure, Data Analysis, Data Reporting, APIs, Microsoft Excel, Data Integration, Amazon S3 (AWS S3), Data Aggregation, Lambda Functions, Pipelines, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Beautiful Soup, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, OpenAI Gym, Amazon Athena, Business Intelligence (BI), ELT, Back-end, Data Analytics, AWS Lambda, Cron, Redis, Deep Neural Networks, JSON, GitHub, HTML, AI Programming, Web Development, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Language Models, AWS Glue, Databases, Database Design, Database Structure, Database Transactions, Transactions, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), Hadoop, Java, Software Architecture, PySpark, CI/CD Pipelines, Security, DevOps, Data, Modeling, EDA, Exploratory Data Analysis, Technical Architecture, ETL Tools, Monitoring, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), IP Networks, Anaconda, Google BigQuery, Statistics, Stream Processing, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Architecture, Research, API Design, R, Machine Learning Automation, Supervised Machine Learning, Dashboards, Computer Vision Algorithms, Data Lakes, ClickStream, Google Analytics

Back-end Developer

2015 - 2018
Instabridge
  • Designed and implemented the back-end architecture utilizing Heroku, AWS, and GCP.
  • Implemented data pipelines in Spark running on EMR scheduled with Airflow.
  • Applied machine learning to solve core data problems such as estimating locations of WiFi hotspots, quality of hotspots, classifying hotspots as moving or stationary, public or private, and matching hotspots and venues.
  • Implemented near real-time data pipelines using AWS Kinesis, lambda functions, and DynamoDB.
Technologies: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Spark, MongoDB, RabbitMQ, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Heroku, Ruby on Rails (RoR), ETL, Apache Airflow, Spark ML, PostgreSQL, JavaScript, Spark SQL, BigQuery, Linux, Big Data, Amazon Kinesis, Redshift, Agile, NumPy, Scala, Git, NoSQL, Data Modeling, Data Pipelines, Data Engineering, CSV, Machine Learning, SQL, Apache Spark, Data Science, Serverless, Neural Networks, LSTM, Probability Theory, Cloud Dataflow, Data Warehousing, Data Warehouse Design, Data Visualization, Cloud Storage, Infrastructure, Data Analysis, Data Reporting, APIs, Microsoft Excel, Data Integration, Amazon S3 (AWS S3), Data Aggregation, Lambda Functions, Pipelines, Beautiful Soup, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Deep Learning, OpenAI Gym, Amazon Athena, Business Intelligence (BI), ELT, Back-end, Data Analytics, AWS Lambda, Cron, Redis, Deep Neural Networks, JSON, GitHub, HTML, AI Programming, Web Development, Looker, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Language Models, AWS Glue, Databases, Database Design, Database Structure, Database Transactions, Transactions, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), Hadoop, Java, Software Architecture, Databricks, PySpark, CI/CD Pipelines, Security, DevOps, Data Architecture, Data, Modeling, EDA, Exploratory Data Analysis, Technical Architecture, ETL Tools, Monitoring, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), IP Networks, Amazon API Gateway, Google Cloud Composer, Haskell, Anaconda, Google BigQuery, Statistics, Stream Processing, Architecture, Research, API Design, R, Machine Learning Automation, Supervised Machine Learning, Dashboards, Computer Vision Algorithms, Data Lakes, ClickStream

Solutions Engineer

2013 - 2014
Cadence Design Systems
  • Developed internal productivity/process web applications for one of the two leading electronic design automation companies.
  • Improved my ability to work effectively in teams.
  • Developed communication skills.
  • Evaluated and continuously ranked priorities based on the business value.
Technologies: Microsoft 365, Linux, Oracle, Perforce, MySQL, PHP, JavaScript, Data Modeling, CSV, SQL, Infrastructure, APIs, Microsoft Excel, Data Integration, Data Aggregation, Selenium, Back-end, Cron, JSON, HTML, Web Development, Databases, Database Design, Database Structure, Database Transactions, Transactions, Software Architecture, Security, Data Architecture, Data, Technical Architecture, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Architecture, PL/SQL, Stored Procedure, API Design

Associate Tutor

2008 - 2012
University of East Anglia
  • Successfully communicated difficult concepts to a range of students.
  • Marked coursework of undergraduate mathematics students.
  • Helped undergraduate mathematics students with coursework problems.
Technologies: Blackboard, Pen & Paper, Cloud Storage

Web-based Server Monitor and Admin Tool for Medal of Honor

This tool provided clan members various levels of access to monitor, warn, and kick players, as well as change maps, etc., without exposing the actual all-or-nothing server admin password. The back end was written in PHP with lots of socket programming, sessions, and user authentication. The client tool was built using C# and .NET.

Fivetran Custom Connectors for a Subscription Box Service

I built custom connectors enabling data sources not natively supported by Fivetran to be loaded by Fivetran into the client's data warehouse. These were tested and deployed in AWS in a CI/CD fashion using Terraform and GitHub Actions.

Shopify App for AI-generated Product Descriptions

https://www.sonbol.se
I created a Shopify app that uses OpenAI's GPT API to generate product descriptions. This was a personal project to learn more about GPT and Shopify apps, building on previous experience with Shopify (mainly the REST and GraphQL APIs).
2014 - 2015

B2 CEFR in Greek Language and Culture

University of Ioannina - Ioannina, Greece

2008 - 2012

Ph.D in Mathematics

University of East Anglia - Norwich, UK

2004 - 2008

Master's Degree in Mathematics

University of East Anglia - Norwich, UK

Libraries/APIs

LSTM, PyTorch, TensorFlow, Fast.ai, Spark ML, FFmpeg, Keras, PySpark, Scikit-learn, Natural Language Toolkit (NLTK), ZeroMQ, Pandas, NumPy, OpenCV, PyTorch3D, Requests, Beautiful Soup, Node.js

Tools

BigQuery, Amazon Elastic MapReduce (EMR), Spark SQL, Apache Airflow, Cron, Microsoft Excel, Jupyter, PyCharm, Git, Perforce, Gensim, Doccano, RabbitMQ, Google Compute Engine (GCE), Terraform, Cloud Dataflow, Google Cloud Composer, GitHub, OpenAI Gym, Amazon Athena, Looker, ChatGPT, AWS Glue, Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), Google Analytics

Languages

Python, SQL, Python 3, JavaScript, HTML, PHP, Haskell, Scala, Java, Stored Procedure, R

Paradigms

ETL, Data Science, Database Design, Functional Programming, Object-oriented Programming (OOP), Business Intelligence (BI), Serverless Architecture, Agile, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), DevOps

Platforms

Linux, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Amazon Web Services (AWS), Heroku, AWS Lambda, Oracle, Blackboard, Arduino, Anaconda, Azure, Docker, NVIDIA CUDA, Databricks, AWS IoT, Shopify

Storage

Amazon S3 (AWS S3), JSON, Databases, Database Structure, Database Transactions, PostgreSQL, NoSQL, Data Pipelines, Data Integration, Redis, Data Lakes, Redshift, MySQL, MongoDB, PL/SQL

Frameworks

Apache Spark, Spark, Flask, Django, Ruby on Rails (RoR), Selenium, Hadoop, Next.js

Other

EMR, Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN), Linear Algebra, Google BigQuery, Neural Networks, Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Data Engineering, Deep Neural Networks, CSV, Cloud Storage, Data Analysis, APIs, Data Aggregation, Pipelines, Back-end, Data Analytics, AI Programming, Transactions, Data Architecture, Data, EDA, Exploratory Data Analysis, Technical Architecture, ETL Tools, Architecture, Research, API Design, Machine Learning Automation, Supervised Machine Learning, ClickStream, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Probability Theory, Stream Processing, IP Networks, Image Recognition, Statistics, Deep Reinforcement Learning, Computer Vision, Audio, Audio Processing, Digital Signal Processing, Data Modeling, Data Warehousing, Data Warehouse Design, Data Visualization, Data Build Tool (dbt), Infrastructure, Data Reporting, ELT, Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPT), Web Development, Language Models, Software Architecture, CI/CD Pipelines, Security, Modeling, Dashboards, Computer Vision Algorithms, Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI), Large Language Models (LLMs), Serverless, Big Data, Amazon API Gateway, Reinforcement Learning, Amazon Kinesis, Microsoft 365, Pen & Paper, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), Google Data Studio, Lambda Functions, Fivetran, Lean, OpenAI GPT-3 API, OpenAI GPT-4 API, Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), LangChain, Monitoring, FastAPI, Web Scraping, Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), Benchmarking, Transformer Models, Open-source LLMs, Large Language Model Operations (LLMOps)

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