Meet the Team: Bar Rozenman, Deep Learning Engineer

Meet the Team: Bar Rozenman, Deep Learning Engineer

CLIKA’s mission is to make your AI-based solutions profitable and implementable on any type of hardware device. We achieve this by optimizing inference and making your AI model lightweight through our service offering: a toolkit that automates the engineering workflow from model compression to compiling for hardware deployment. Implementing AI, especially on resource-constrained hardware, requires two things—the need to make AI models small while also compiling them into formats compatible with the target hardware. With CLIKA’s toolkit, you can start implementing your AI projects quickly, reliably and lucratively. 

In this blog, we interview Bar Rozenman, a deep learning (DL) engineer at CLIKA. His role at the company is to take part in engineering projects with Ben Asaf, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), along with two other DL engineers in the team.

(Left) Bar Rozenman infront of the Changdeokgung Palace

Q. Can you tell us about your personal background? 

I spent my childhood in Kfar Sirkin, which is a green village in central Israel. I remember growing up with lots of trees. But when the college application season came around, I moved to one of Israel’s largest cities to attend the Tel Aviv University (TAU)—a prestigious Israeli university. To earn a spot there, I had to do very well on the Psychometric Entrance Test (PETs), which is basically the SATs equivalent from the US.

In college, I knew that I had always been interested in the sciences and wanted my academic experience to be very challenging, so I pursued fields that were among the most challenging to get into. This is how I ended up in biomedical engineering and neuroscience. Majoring in these areas opened many doors for me, one of which led me to get involved in deep learning projects. Mind you, deep learning also resembles the workings of the human brain, serving as an inspiration for every AI system created, starting with the rudimentary neural networks based on individual neurons. 

Q. How did you get into engineering with a focus on AI? 

I had a lot of fun in college. I was also a good student. I participated in laboratory work and data analysis projects. I also worked at a company called Montfort (Mon4t), an Israeli medical startup that leverages smartphone technology and AI to digitally and remotely conduct neurological monitoring for patients with neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and others. The company processed data from mobile devices and used AI algorithms to detect discrepancies in patients’ movements for neurological tests. Mon4t was a very exciting place to work at because I got to work with the founders who were also experts in their respective fields. 

This was my entry into the world of data science and machine learning (ML) because at work, I had to process raw data to cluster and classify it in a way that provided meaningful insights to the doctors. I continued to pursue a similar line of work post-graduation.

Q. You were a startup founder before. How did you get into entrepreneurship? 

Post-graduation, I worked for another startup called Brainvivo, which uses data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for their own ML algorithms. As employee number three, I was one of the early members of the company. Working at Brainvivo during its early days exposed me to the startup scene, including the challenges they aimed to solve, their fundraising strategies, the development of the company's DNA, the process of defining product specifications, managing product servicing, and conducting market analysis. 

With the knowledge I gained from my time at the company, I was inspired to start my own venture. So, I contacted two of my college friends to establish a company called Graphecy. We wanted to create a product using technology that encoded a real-world situation into a graph-like data structure that can be queried and predicted upon. In other words, think of it as creating a graph-like social network that represents reality so that computers wouldn’t have to work with videos, which are very hard to process and not very information-dense (illustration provided below). 

For example, let’s say that you have video footage of a large convention center, with a lot of people interacting with each other. You can create an entire graph that maps the interactions of these people. We eventually got into an accelerator called TAU Ventures, operated by the Israeli Ministry of Defense and Tel Aviv University. We received a grant of $50,000 and participated in a four-month program where we learned everything from marketing, storytelling and market research to product development as well as the technology required to create the product. 

A year into the venture, we realized that we didn’t have enough funding to continue the project, and getting things off the ground took much longer than we expected. So, we decided to part ways to go our separate paths. 

Q. What did you personally gain from your entrepreneurial experience? 

Where do I begin... Starting your own venture is challenging, as is understanding the customers and their needs. It is important to distinguish between what you want to create and what the customers want. What attracted me to CLIKA is its market and value proposition. Both are very clear and solid. There is no question that AI is going to be the next big thing, if not already. There is also a lot of money invested in creating, training, deploying and running AI models. This won’t change any time soon, as AI adoption is becoming increasingly indispensable across industries. CLIKA is solving one of the most important problems in this space right now. 

Q. How did you come across CLIKA? 

I was initially looking for a job in Israel when I came across CLIKA in my search. CLIKA caught my eye for several reasons. The company was founded by an Israeli engineer and a Korean businesswoman. The company was also in Korea, a country I’ve never been to. My adventurous side had me fly all the way to Korea from Israel following the interviews. I was able to make this bold move partly because I had no family yet, meaning no children and a wife. 

Q. What do you like about CLIKA?  

What I like about CLIKA is the opportunity to be part of something that can grow rapidly, from making a large lasting impact to taking part in decisions that shape the direction of the company. I also love that anyone in the company can present and implement ideas. There is generally a lot of autonomy when it comes to researching and implementing solutions. 

Because CLIKA is a small company, a lot is expected from each member. We cannot be micromanaged, so we need to figure things out ourselves and often find solutions to future problems before they arise. It’s a lot of weight to carry, but it’s also a lot of fun. 

I also appreciate the culture of diversity here. Our team's background spans from Israel, Indonesia, and Korea to the US, Italy, and France. It’s incredible. 

Q. How has your work experience been so far at CLIKA? 

I arrive at the office very early in the morning. The first thing I do is check all the messages that Ben usually leaves overnight regarding the work I’ve done the previous day. He leaves me a lot of comments, and I address them before I start anything new. I usually research about a particular topic or explore ways to implement new functionality into the SDK. 

I work with various models and deployment environments. A significant challenge in productionizing AI-based solutions is managing costs. There is always the question of whether engineers can make them cost-effective enough to be worthwhile. Working on these big engineering challenges has been very rewarding. 

Our team has a strong culture of meticulous work, where we verify and test multiple times to produce the best and the most accurate results possible. This has helped me a great deal in developing a critical mindset because I have to approach work with discerning eyes, not taking things at face value. For instance, if we get a package from NVIDIA or Intel, we will check to see if it lives up to its promise and stated specifications. 

Q. What do you see yourself doing in the future? 

I am currently taking part in challenging yet interesting projects with opportunities for a lot of growth. But in the future, I think I would enjoy leading my own team of engineers. I am actively developing valuable technical and managerial skill through my work, with the hope of achieving that goal one day!