Employee Testimonial

Meet Caroline Fung, Data Scientist

Think bigger than the numbers. That’s Caroline Fung’s job as a Data Scientist with the AkzoNobel Incubator – to create insights from data. Using machine learning, data visualization, predictive modeling and big data analytics, she’s powering innovation.

  • Data Scientist
  • At Business Area AkzoNobel
  • Works in Felling
  • At AkzoNobel since 2017

"“It’s exciting to be part of the new Incubator team. We want to do things in the best way possible because we’re helping AkzoNobel move in a new direction.” Caroline Fung, Data Scientist, Innovation Incubator"

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Caroline Fung is wasting no time making an impact at AkzoNobel. She started with the company as a Data Scientist with the AkzoNobel Incubator in August 2017, helping the company accelerate innovations in a new way.

In her first six months with AkzoNobel, she’s been working alongside her new team to use data to build predictive models for two exciting projects for the Marine business – DryDoQ Insights and PortShield. These projects are helping give ship owners and port management the tools to be informed about what’s going on under the water’s surface.

Real world benefits

The AkzoNobel Incubator is working on projects across all our businesses. “Our innovation incubator focuses on creating new business models which decouple value from volume. We run ourselves like a startup to reduce the risks of exploring new models and digital trends,” says Caroline.

Those new models and digital trends are turned into products and services that deliver real world benefit to our customers. Caroline’s responsibility is to use machine learning algorithms to build predictive models for new digital products. So far, she’s been working primarily with the Marine business – their legacy projects are offering Caroline an immediate opportunity to start making her mark.

She explains: “I’ve built predictive models to inform ship owners of the status of their underwater hull, both in terms of anticorrosive and antifouling. We also use these models in a new digital product – PortShield – a risk assessment tool for ports so they can prevent harmful and invasive species from entering their waters.”

Teamwork required

The Incubator looks out for the latest technology trends so our experts can identify new areas for us to grow in. Tapping into the power of data science can take us very interesting places. A good example is DryDoQ Insights, one of Caroline’s main projects.

DryDoQ Insights is a digital product that allows customers to see the corrosion and fouling status of the underwater hull of their marine vessels. Caroline says the Data Science team used big data and cutting-edge machine learning algorithms to make it possible.

“We’re making the most out of our data by using it to sell insights and generate revenue from new sources,” says Caroline. “It’s exciting to be part of the new Incubator team. Everyone is like-minded, but we also question and encourage each other. We want to do things in the best way possible because we’re helping AkzoNobel move in a new direction.”

Powering innovation with data

Transforming data into something that can really help our customers is a great thing, but it also comes with some unique challenges. Caroline says we might take for granted just how much computing power is required for working with big data.

“For DryDoQ Insights, we combined 100GB of Automatic Identification System (AIS) data with environmental data from the past eight years. Without additional computing power, this would have taken 300 days to process,” says Caroline. “Using cloud computing equivalent to nearly 40 laptops put together, we managed to do this in just two days!”

Much to learn

Caroline started with AkzoNobel nearly two years ago. But because she hit the ground running with the Marine business, she feels there’s still much for her to learn about other areas of the company and the industries they serve.

“As I’ve worked on Marine projects, I’ve learned about the products we offer. I’ve also learned about our customers and the problems they face. It’s all helped me get a better understanding of solutions for this industry,” Caroline says.

She continues: “Colleagues in the business areas involve me in technical discussions, making me feel part of the team as well as helping me develop professionally. The social side of my job – talking to colleagues, making connections and hearing about what other people do – is something I really enjoy.”

Caroline is currently doing a Master’s degree in Data Science. She sees it as an opportunity to keep up to date with the latest tools and machine learning techniques, and to stay connected with other data scientists.

This is clearly just the beginning for Caroline – let’s see where the data leads her next!