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Meet the team: new joiner Yannick van den Steen


Yannick is the latest recruit to Motulus; here he introduces himself and talks of his passion for applying theoretical physics to real world problems.

How long have you worked for Motulus, and what did you do beforehand?

I began my adventure at Motulus in April 2023. My academic background is in theoretical physics, which I studied at the University of Antwerp. Following my studies, I spent two years working in an IT consultancy firm that is specialized in the PI System, which is an infrastructure that specializes in time series data. My master’s thesis focused on the subject of linear programming, specifically exploring methods for solving large-scale linear problems. It was through this work that I first became acquainted with the team at Motulus via my professor who also works with Motulus. When the opportunity arose to collaborate with a group of like-minded individuals who share my passion for mathematics, coding, and computers, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. Joining Motulus was thus a no-brainer and a perfect opportunity to continue pursuing my interests.

What attracted you to join Motulus? and what’s it like to work here?

As a theoretical physicist, much of what I’ve studied has been, well… theoretical. Most of my time has been spent working with abstract concepts that are difficult to observe in the day-to-day world.  Unless you happen to have access to a multi-million euro microscope or a chance to visit CERN. So my goal was to find a challenge that was more tangible and relevant to the real world, something that combined my love of mathematics, coding, and data infrastructure. And that’s exactly what I found at Motulus. It’s the perfect match for me, offering the opportunity to work on complex optimization problems and learn more about the systems and data infrastructures that underpin our
modern world.

I haven’t been working here for very long, but it’s already a lot of fun. The team here consists of intelligent people who are all passionate about what they do, and there’s so much I can learn from them. Since it’s a small team it’s easy to communicate with everyone, and we’re always throwing around ideas. On a daily basis, my work mainly involves programming and finding the best solutions to the problems at hand. This could mean coding in SQL or Python, or conceptually thinking about the data structures. Even the (not so) occasional bug fixing of the code is always fun.

And outside of Motulus what do you do, or interests you, in your spare time?

When I’m not working at Motulus, my interests span a wide range of topics. One of my interests is in AI, in which I’ve followed a few courses. I enjoy researching new developments in the field to deepen my knowledge. AI is a very much a ‘hot topic’ right now and I’m excited to see where this technology will take us in the future.  In addition to AI, I also enjoy chess, fitness, video games and board games. Chess is one of the sports I mainly like to watch instead of playing it myself. It is fascinating to watch the best chess players in the world battle it out over the board. When it comes to fitness, I enjoy staying active and staying healthy, whether it’s through lifting weights or going for a run. As for video games, I not only enjoy playing them but also the process of developing them. It’s amazing to see how the
development of a game is done, how hard problems like water dynamics, ray tracing, weather systems and such are implemented to create realistic scenes. Lastly, board games are a great way to socialize and have fun with friends and family.