What I Do for a Living

I am a freelance IT consultant, focusing on data science and machine learning.

My dissertation in machine learning and the following two years of freelance work as a data scientist form a solid foundation for helping clients with any data science or machine learning projects. I generally offer to accompany my clients through the whole process, starting with use case identification and developing ideas, over creating a project plan, implementation, bringing the implemented solution into production, up to monitoring and providing support. Depending on the particular project, my responsibilities can lean more towards development, advising or managing.

When the work schedule allows, I also code for some personal projects. For example, I built Research-Monitor, a website to monitor trends in computer science research, and wrote an open-source organizer MuscularBrain, which I've been using to take notes for years.

Academic Background

After graduating mathematics with a Masters of Science, I did my doctorate in cognitive science (at TU Kaiserslautern and DFKI, Germany).

The focus in my doctorate studies was on using machine learning to analyze social media data [1]. Specifically, the goal was to automatically extract subjective aspects of what is posted online in form of texts and images. For example, one of the things I was working on was to detect if a dog in a given image is cute or scary. Another project, which I started at a research stay at Columbia University, focused on gang violence prevention. There, the goal was to detect expressions of loss and aggression from tweets of gang-involved youth to assist local social workers in their efforts to prevent conflicts from escalating.

My work has lead to quite a few publications (see Google scholar). I particularly enjoyed the many discussions and collaborations with people from very diverse backgrounds.

Topics I Am Passionate About

Subjectivity and individual perspectives played a huge role in my dissertation [1] and is an area I find deeply fascinating also for personal reasons. It simply amazes me how much your whole subjective experience can change over time and how other people can open your eyes to something you would never have seen on your own.

More generally, I'm naturally drawn to complex and challenging problems.

Things I Do in My Spare Time

I enjoy reading non-fiction books. My reading list mostly includes books about the human mind, emotions, philosophy and occasionally biographies. (Some of my favorites are [2], [3] and [4].)

Further, I've been practicing meditation for quite a long time now. More recently, I also discovered other kinds of mindfulness practice [5] which I find valuable for getting back some silence on hectic days.

Other than that, I try to stay in shape with jogging, strength training and similar fitness activities.

Something Unusual about Me

Sometimes I do random things, in the sense that I make a list of things to do and pick something randomly from that list. I see randomness as a great way to broaden your horizon, become more aware of some of your own biases and let go of that constant urge to control your life.

Perhaps you can imagine that this habit has lead to one or the other interesting story.

Please Contact Me, If ...

  • You consider hiring me for a project
  • You see any other opportunity for collaboration
  • You share any of my passions and would like to have a chat :)

In any of these cases, feel free to drop me an e-mail at consulting[AT-SYMBOL]pblandfort.com.


Have the courage to move outside the box.