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Meet The Team: Ben Nicholls, Head Of Data Science

Meet the Team: Ben Nicholls, Head of Data Science

Ben joined the AlphaStream team in 2019 and as Head of Data Science, he leads the team in everything from data quality, to algorithms and knowledge graphs. He has phD in Software and Electronic Engineering where he studied Human-Machine Interaction and Feedback and prior to this studied a Master’s in Advanced Computer Science. Ben hides this expertise under a cool exterior while pushing the AlphaStream capability to new heights.

In our first post in our new Meet the Team series, Ben shares how he came to join AlphaStream and some of the typical work he’s involved in.

Tell us a little more about what you do at AlphaStream

I lead the Data Science team and I get to work with some really talented people, who are genuine experts at what they do. I’m really glad to say I’ve been part of the evolution of the AlphaStream platform from the workers that ingest data, to the logging mapping and lineage of the data once it is in the platform to the enrichment with our Knowledge Graph and the capability to completely personalise a person’s experience of the financial markets. 

I’d love to spend more time in the detail of data science but I do enjoy driving the growth of the platform alongside our clients.

What made you join AlphaStream?

Like the best ideas, it all started over a beer or two with Gareth (CEO). My background in Computer Science and my phD really gave me an appetite for joining a company at the forefront of technology and in the spirit of Don Corleone, Gareth made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. The idea behind AlphaStream struck a chord with me and I joined the team.

What challenges have you faced since joining?

The biggest challenge (although a really one to have) is how vast the data landscape is. Different systems, different ways of processing data and different levels of understanding of what data is make each new client interesting for a data scientist. It is a continuous learning curve but online learning, colleague expertise and a test and learn methodology help me get up to speed quickly.

What does a typical day at AlphaStream look like?

There isn’t really a typical day. AlphaStream is a really fast moving company. Sure, we have processes and methodologies in place to keep us on track to deliver but needs and requirements can change. Based on findings within datasets or changing business priorities for our clients we do change our approach to make sure we achieve our goal of deliver the best hyper-personalisation capabilities.

What do you think makes AlphaStream unique?

The platform we’ve built and are evolving is unique, in how it personalises the financial markets for individuals. It means that a customer will see content based on their trading behaviours and content interactions. We do this in real-time, with some very impressive technology. Underpinning all of this is a very talented group of data scientists and engineers who make it all possible.

What are your goals for 2021?

My goals centre on evolving the AlphaStream platform further. We have some large-scale releases later in the year which will bring new capabilities to clients and help showcase AlphaSream’s expertise to potential new clients. I’m excited by the prospect of growing the team as the company grows and by new developments in technology that we can harness.

Thanks for reading this brief insight into Data Science at AlphaStream. If you would like to connect with Ben on LinkedIn, you can do so here.

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