My name is Will Wolf from Philadelphia, USA. I currently work as a Research Engineer at ASAPP, Inc., pursuing low-level problems in NLP (Natural Language Processing). Previously, I completed an open-source "masters" in machine learning in Casablanca, Morocco, and worked as a Data Scientist at ShopKeep in New York City. I'm passionate about mathematics, cycling, language and travel.
I studied Industrial Engineering and Mathematics at Penn State University. There, I played ice hockey, enjoyed math classes more than most, and spent two years writing an Honors thesis on game theory and group dynamics with Dr. Eli Byrne. I graduated in December 2011.
As a teenager, I was what I call a semi-professional internet poker player: I deposited $50 onto Full Tilt Poker at age 15, and spent the following years building this sum into roughly $150,000. For me, poker was an academic and intellectually fascinating endeavor; more than anything, it was a job. I typically played 4-8 tables simultaneously. In addition to playing, I coached several players from around the world through virtual platforms.
After completing my studies, I began what became a 26.5-month solo backpacking and cycling trip around the world, visiting roughly 40 countries on 5 continents. I traveled overland from Sweden to Côte D’Ivoire, taught university Spanish and middle school Physics, in French, in Guinea-Conakry, and pedaled a bicycle 7,600 kilometers from Turkey to Kyrgyzstan through the Caucasus and Central Asian “Stans” to name a few of my proudest achievements.
Upon return, I began working at LiveAuctioneers — a virtual platform through which online bidders can participate in live auctions — where I built an internally-facing machine learning service to categorize auction items. I then joined ShopKeep, where I worked on a wide variety of machine learning and data infrastructure problems to empower small businesses. In addition to ShopKeep and Thinkful, I consulted part-time for Data-Pop Alliance — "promoting a people-centered big data revolution."
In NYC, I felt that many of my professional successes stemmed directly from projects I was doing in my free time. Wanting to become more of an expert in machine learning, and as a can't-stop-won't-stop autodidact, the open-source "masters" was born: a 9-month, full-time, self-curated schedule of mathematics textbooks, MOOCs and writing to this blog.
As a data scientist, I work frequently with the following tools: the Python scientific and inferential stack, R, Jupyter, AWS, Google Cloud, SQL, Flask, Docker and a heavy handful of machine learning and probabilistic models. I work periodically with many more: Scala, Spark and React to name a few. I believe it crucial to be able to both build models and productionize one's own solutions.
As a human, I carry a deep passion for cycling and language. I speak fluent Spanish and am boyishly passionate about all things Latin America. I speak ~fluent French from time spent in Morocco and West Africa. Cycling—in New York City or through Central Asian deserts alike—makes me smile from ear to ear.
Travel is a big part of who I am. I've been to over 60 countries and believe strongly in the concrete, extraordinary value of traveling abroad. In addition, I'm active in the global CouchSurfing community as a guest, host and event participant. My profile can be found here.
While I'm not sure where I plan to go with machine learning, I do not plan to stop. Ultimately, I'd like to work on human-scale problems that actually matter.