Interview with Jeffrey Hiraki: The vision behind Vartion’s research

In a recent interview, Jeffrey Hiraki, Vartion’s Principal Research Engineer, shared insights into his journey and the innovative spirit driving the Vartion's research team. Coming to Vartion on a mentor's recommendation, Jeffrey has been essential in pushing the boundaries of AI and technology innovation, embodying both leadership and collaboration in his approach.
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Could you introduce yourself?

“Hi, I’m Jeffrey Hiraki. I came to Vartion through a recommendation from a mentor during my academic days. The idea of joining a fast-growing company where I could develop both personally and professionally was appealing. My interest in AI led me to a research role, and over time, I became the Principal Research Engineer.”


How do you guide and inspire the research team in pushing the boundaries?

“I see my role as being both a leader and a team member. I work closely with my colleagues, and together, we aim to stay ahead in technology and innovation.”


Describe a major project under your leadership that marked a significant advance for Vartion.

“The Firenze project was a big step for us. We built a complete AI prototyping platform that covered quality assurance, risk, and control systems. This makes sure our AI solutions are clear, repeatable, and explainable.”


It's all about communication. I keep in touch with my team, delegate tasks when needed, and work together to find solutions.

Share a moment when you felt especially proud of your team’s accomplishments.

“I’m always impressed by what we achieve. From our early days to the major EFRO project that took two years and resulted in a published scientific paper, our progress has been impressive.”


Describe a time when working with another team led to exceptional results.

“When we teamed up with the DevOps team for the Implicit Feedback logic in Pascal, it was a game-changer, allowing us to bring our research directly to the users.”


How do you promote continuous learning within your team?

“I encourage an innovative mindset. Everyone’s invited to share ideas, and we dedicate time to explore them. We also stay updated by attending conferences and reading the latest papers, sharing our findings with the team.”


How do you ensure the research is directly beneficial to Vartion’s product or users?

“We start with feasibility studies, which include looking at competitors and the market. We also value user feedback, using surveys and feature request platforms.”


What do you think will be the next big thing in your research field?

“While general-purpose AI models are exciting, I believe there will be a move towards specialized AI, where human expertise complements AI’s strengths. Working together with domain experts will be key.”


How do you relax and take a break from work?

“I love watching movies, playing video games, trying out different foods, especially sushi, and enjoying some good beers.”


Patrick Croonen, CTO/COO of Vartion: “Jeffrey’s leadership and innovative approach in spearheading our research initiatives have been nothing short of transformative. His role in the development and success of projects like Firenze not only underscores our commitment to pioneering AI technology but also ensures that these advancements serve as a cornerstone for Vartion’s products and solutions. We’re exceedingly fortunate to have him leading by example, embodying the essence of innovation and collaboration at Vartion.”