Frederick Ducatelle, Sr. Manager Research Science, Cerence
20 February 2023
In order to help current students and recent graduates to find their way in the working world, many of our alumni shared their career story. Here the story of Frederick Ducatelle, Sr. Manager Research Science at Cerence in Ghent (B). USI Degree: PhD in Informatics, 2007.
How did you start your career?
After obtaining my PhD from USI/IDSIA, I staid on as researcher at IDSA for several years. After that, I switched to industry, as applied researcher in a data mining company.
Why did you choose a career at Cerence?
I was looking for a possibility to do applied research on Machine Learning. I chose for Nuance (the parent company Cerence later spun off from) because it is a large company with a very strong focus on AI technology and innovation.
What is your current role/duties?
I am manager of a fairly large research group (20+ people) focusing on applied research on algorithms for NLU and related challenges. We work on product innovation and improvement for Cerence's virtual assistant by exploring and adopting the latest innovations in NLU research.
In your opinion, what are the qualities necessary for a successful career at Cerence?
A good knowledge of the state of the art related to virtual assistants (speech recognition, NLU, dialogue, ...), good programming skills, a flexible and collaborative attitude, the ability to quickly understand a problem and come up with creative solutions.
What positive aspects and qualities meant most to you during the study programme you attended?
I got a very broad and deep knowledge of machine learning, not only by my own PhD studies, but even more so by the constant interactions with colleagues working on very innovative technologies.
What competences and/or skills acquired in your USI Study Program have been useful/are useful to your professional career?
Mostly the machine learning and programming knowledge I acquired. Also writing and presentation skills.
What is your advice to USI students entering the job market?
Have a flexible and open mind. Look for the job that is the best match with your interests and skills. And know that your skills and knowledge are very valuable.