Community Spotlight: Domenic Rosati @ scite

Rylee Hurley
August 25, 2020

This month we interviewed Domenic Rosati a software developer @ scite to find out what problems they are solving and why.

What is your speciality or area of expertise?

What I am really interested in is using machine learning to automate knowledge work that couldn’t really be done with just programming. I am also interested broadly in startups as a mechanism for change in society and how we get startups to work and get traction over new technologies.

What inspired you to enter this field?

I have always really been interested in programming - I think what got me interested in machine learning was studying things like history and linguistics in university and being fascinated with doing text analysis and natural language processing. The fact that we can get a program to do intelligent things that humans do is pretty fascinating to me.

For startups, my parents were in startups so I had always been exposed to that way of working and thinking - I think it's really the only way of working that makes sense for the way I like to work and think - I like to get things done and see the value of that as soon as possible. I am also really attracted to being involved in new / high impact / very hard things.

What problems are you currently solving in your role/what is your organization working to solve?

I am currently working on making science more reliable at scite - We provide data and tools that helps researchers see if research has been supported / disputed, if there are things like retractions or expressions of concern over literature ect.  What that means for us right now is tightening up our product by building tools like visualizations, search, analysis tools and dashboards. so people can see research in context when doing research.  

We are working with the researcher and scholarly publishing community on what those things mean and how we can be most useful to the scientific enterprise. I think the other big thing is making sure we have sure we have a very comprehensive index of citations - right now we have over 625 million citation statements so the more comprehensive that coverage is the more we can offer the research community. If you want to follow us on twitter -  its a good place to see our product development and partnerships.

What tech stack do you work with?

Python and React I suppose!

Do you work remotely? If so, any tips?

I do now! I have two kids so it can be pretty busy at home. I think if you can have a closed off space and communicate how you want to work with your family, like when you are flexible or when you need concentration, that is great for remote work.

The biggest thing for me working remotely is trying to have activities that start and end the work day at very regular times like right at 9 or 5 - Usually that is walking our new dog, louie, or cooking. The other thing is to try to be patient when lots of disruptions come up, if you can take a nice break doing something non-work related once in a while during the day is good too.

Any tips for keeping your sanity during covid / How do you maintain a work-life balance?

I think the most important thing you can do is learn about what you are most interested in and work on that, engage with it and be super passionate about it.
I think if you are doing something that isn’t interesting to you then you should stop doing it at all costs.

What that interest is can change day to day and sometimes it can be little things that you don’t think are important but following your interests is probably the most important thing you can do to stay healthy I think.

What technologies are you most excited about?

I am interested in artificial general intelligence (AGI) - I don’t think anybody is working on that at all, I don’t agree with how OpenAI and DeepMind approach it. they are not working on AGI and don’t think they will come to anything other than minor improvements on “tunable programs”. I’d love to study that full time one day specifically: how can we make programs that make themselves, how are solutions to problems generated, what is artificial creativity, etc. those are the kind of questions Alan Turing asked or, implied at least, in his PHD thesis that people are not addressing.

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