I’m Niels, I’ve studied business and information systems engineering (Handelsingenieur Beleidsinformatica) at KU Leuven, but as I got to know Natural Language Processing during my master and wanted to dive more deeply into technical programming, I’m currently working as an Applied AI Researcher at Howest, where I work on several VLAIO-supported AI projects.
You might have seen the TAPAS algorithm appearing on the social media of HuggingFace - I was the contributor of that model last year I challenged myself, would it be possible to re-implement an algorithm myself? So that’s what I did, I started reading the original TAPAS repo from Google AI (which was written in TF1), and then slowly but surely started implementing it in PyTorch. After a while, I considered my implementation well enough, and then opened up a pull request on the Transformers repo. After a few more weeks - while working closely together with some of the top developers at HuggingFace - my pull request got merged! Google sent me a small surprise package to thank me for the achievement. It’s definitely something I recommend to anyone, it’s a great learning experience (not only NLP-related, also regarding writing qualitative code and so on, formatting code, etc.)! Also, this week, TAPAS is featured on the homepage of HuggingFace’s model hub - really cool!
Also, I’m now part of the core contributors team of HuggingFace after TAPAS, I helped improving other models, such as Microsoft’s LayoutLM (which you can use to classify scanned documents or extract information from them), and I’m currently working on adding several other models to the library. My main interests are just getting to know state-of-the-art algorithms (mostly Transformers - as they are conquering everything right now), and making them available for anyone to use, which is of course totally in lign with HuggingFace’s mission.
Fun fact - I’ve spoken to Thomas and Jordy before at a job fair in Ghent and Yves at an ethical AI conference in Brussels, and I know TechWolf of course - I was in the same high school as Andreas De Neve and we took a mathematics seminar together - send him my regards Jens-Joris! I guess NLP is a small world I’m happy to connect to all of you.