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Meet the Team: Steve Thomi, our data scientist

Steve’s passion for Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially its potential to improve everyday life, brought him to EPCON. He excels in solving complex problems, using his expertise in Python, C++, TensorFlow and other AI frameworks to support EPCON’s goals of assessing health risks across various regions, populations, and individual patients.

Steve’s journey to becoming a data scientist began at the University of Cape Town, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Electrical and Computer Engineering. This exciting interdisciplinary branch combines computing with electrical engineering, appealing to Steve’s early interest in “anything that required maths”. 

After working as a Software Engineer at Cognitive Systems, he transitioned to a full-time data science career with EPCON. His diverse skills and extensive knowledge of programming languages make him a valuable asset to the team.

When it comes to work, what excites Steve each morning?  “I’m extremely interested in using Machine Learning and big data to generate ideas to meet users’ needs,” he says. “At EPCON, our predictive models can influence large groups of people in the near future.” The prospect of creating innovative solutions that address real-world challenges and seeing the tangible impact of his work motivates him to push the boundaries of what AI can achieve.

But his work is not without its challenges. Chief among these is data availability. This problem can manifest in a number of ways, from not receiving relevant data to a lack of fine-grained data. So, for example, Steve explains that they can receive data for the whole country without necessarily knowing more detailed distributions. Despite these challenges, Steve thinks the future looks bright for AI predictive modelling. He thinks that the accuracy of models is only set to improve as standard deviations lower. 

Outside of work, Steve enjoys spending time with family and friends and reading widely. He is currently reading Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky. As Chomsky says in this book, “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” There is probably a lesson in that for all of us.


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