What is it like to work at DeepMind? Senior staff speak in person.Here, there is both brainstorming and breath of life.
Earlier this month, Ian Goodfellow, then the director of machine learning at Apple, announced that he would resign after joining the company for three years. Within a few days, it was revealed that the great god was going to go back to Google to join DeepMind.
As a relatively well-known artificial intelligence company, DeepMind has achieved many achievements. Major researches such as AlphaGo, AlphaFold, and AlphaStar are all from this company. Ian Goodfellow chose to join DeepMind, probably because of some advantages of this company. Attracted.
So, what is it like to work at DeepMind? Now let’s take a look at the company from the perspective of Akhil Raju.
Akhil Raju is a software engineer on DeepMind’s robotics team and joined the company in 2018.
Here’s how Akhil Raju joined DeepMind and what it’s like to work at DeepMind.
Some of my opportunities with DeepMind
As a kid I looked at AI like magic, I really liked R2-D2 in Star Wars, I fantasized about playing with Autobot leader Optimus Prime, and I wanted to go to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry… until 12 When I started competing in LEGO Robotics at the age of 2, I realized that robots are no longer a fantasy or something that can only exist in the distant future, but something that can be created. Playing with robots has proven to be a lot of fun.
Since then, I have continued to compete in robotics competitions and went to MIT, where I spent a lot of time studying computer science, especially robotics. After graduating though, I left the field completely and worked for a few years at a startup in San Francisco and then at Google.
I’ve always had the idea of going abroad to work, so I started looking for opportunities outside the US. I decided to move to London, which happens to be where DeepMind is, and I set my sights on this company. Actually, I didn’t think DeepMind would hire someone without a PhD, but I tried it anyway and it worked!
Since I moved to DeepMind from Google, I can apply to multiple teams at the same time. The robotics team didn’t catch my attention at first until the recruiter asked me, “You have robotics on your resume, have you considered joining the robotics team?” I jumped at the opportunity. I have been part of the DeepMind robotics team ever since.
Let me tell you about my day at DeepMind. When I arrive at the office every morning, my teammates are basically there, everyone is eating breakfast in the office, and eating breakfast together before starting work has become part of our daily life.
I spend most of my mornings in the robotics lab, fixing glitches from previous experiments or setting up new robots. Even if there isn’t a lot of work to do, I just walk around and see our robots at work and hear the humming of machines and motors and I can get energy. I and my teammates have grown a lot over the past few years.
The afternoon time is basically meetings and coding. Now most people are not working remotely, and back in the office, one or two of us will get together to chat. Part of my favorite part of the office is the whiteboard meeting, which helps me learn and act quickly. If the weather is nice, we can also go out to the balcony to listen to some of our favorite American sports podcasts, relax, and continue coding.
Maybe everyone wants to know what is going on behind the scenes of DeepMind? I think DeepMind’s corporate culture is one of the best parts. From my point of view, we have found a good balance between universities, startups and big companies.
At DeepMind, it’s common to find people brainstorming in front of a whiteboard full of math, or someone hiding in a quiet corner reading the latest research paper. Similar to a startup, there’s a palpable energy throughout – you can really feel everyone’s excitement.
When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. The robotics team is the epitome of all of this, and it feels great that many of us are close friends outside of work.
What I want to say about working from home during Covid-19 is that during the first month of the pandemic, I was skeptical that we would soon be back to normal. But that wasn’t the case, most of our meetings and collaborations moved online, which was especially fun for our team.
Realizing that we will be working from home for a long time, I decided to use the new free time to improve myself. I tried a bunch of hobbies in the meantime, like guitar, cooking, and even jigsaw puzzles, but my favorite was tie-dyeing. For a few weeks I tie-dyed everything from shirts to shorts to socks, and now they’re the bottom of the box.
I’m lucky enough to work at DeepMind and be able to focus on what I’m good at. I think robotics, and its AI, is going to be a positive force, and it’s exciting that we in this space can help drive that development.
Additionally, I’m particularly interested in how AI can help mitigate climate change—whether by finding ways to use energy more efficiently, or by producing clean energy. Researchers at DeepMind are already thinking about this, so I hope we can move the world forward and make an impact in this field.
At first I didn’t think I would get a job at DeepMind, but now, I am very happy with the job. If you want to join any company, try it out. If you don’t do it one time, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it later, because the journey starts with trying.