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interview 5 min. read

We change lead into gold and seek panaceas for ills

Friday 18th February 2022
His ties to our company date back to 2012 and he’s a perfect example not only of how you can come back into the MakoLab fold years after you’ve left it, but also of the kind of fascinating career path you can carve out for yourself here. He’s involved with things that seem like sorcery to many people, yet he has the ability to talk about them in a way that makes even a complete lay person feel that ‘Yes, now, at last, I understand’. 😊

Today, we present Maciej Stanisławski, Head of R&D at MakoLab, in conversation with Insights
When did you join MakoLab?
I joined MakoLab for the first time in January 2012, while I was still at university. Back then, the offices were on ulica Demokratyczna and I started out in the precursor of what’s now our Business Solutions department. Then the company moved to ulica Rzgowska and I moved to the forebear of our Automobile Software Solutions department, working for Tomasz Soszyński. I was there for almost two years, but I wanted to go back to my home town, Płock. And I managed to. I spent six years there, working for the ORLEN group. After that, though, I’d had my fill of corporate life and in 2019, I rejoined MakoLab, working remotely from Płock.
When did you start running our R&D department?
In September 2021.
Could you give us brief summary of the path that brought you to where you are now?
I did a bit of programming, but I was mainly involved in managing projects of all descriptions, from business, via deployment, to maintenance. I ran the IT team for one of ORLEN’s companies. There was also an interesting stint in the sphere of IT security, What impelled me into R&D was observing Mirek’s activities in that field, right from the start of my first time with the company. In 2019, I ran a FISMA R&D project and that set me thinking hard about turning to the meeting point of research and IT.
What is MakoLab’s R&D team involved with?
R&D is the alchemy of our age. We change lead into gold and seek panaceas for ills. Well… I’m joking… sort of… but I’m also kind of serious…

Our R&D has three pillars. There are the semantic, ontological and knowledge graph networks. There are solutions based on blockchain technology. And there’s machine learning and artificial intelligence, in a wide sense. We’re really quite a substantial department. There are almost twenty of us. Our team includes professors, PhDs and doctoral students, as well as a considerable handful of practitioners and everyone publishes in leading scientific journals, gives papers at conferences and operates at the point where research and business meet. We’re doing some really interesting stuff. It’s truly innovative and genuinely necessary. And, contrary to appearances, that doesn’t happen any too often in IT.
What’s the biggest project you’ve got on the go at the moment?
We’ve got several in the spheres of each of our ‘pillars’. I’ll shift to Twitter mode now, so as to try and keep it short!

Pillar 1. We’re building ontologies for the financial sector and we’re starting work on that for the pharmaceutical and automotive industries. We’re working on the automatic acquisition of knowledge from texts… industry standards, for instance, or official documents.

Pillar 2. We have graph database solutions grounded in blockchain. This technology is used for LEI.info. We’re developing it in our Ontochain project and we also have non-commercial uses for it, in ecology and agriculture, for instance.

Pillar 3. As far as machine learning is concerned , we’re working to build a team and a skills centre in the field at MakoLab. Our projects are focused on a number of topics, mainly related to image analysis, like detecting damage to vehicles or lung diseases in X-rays.
What do you most like about your work?
Definitely the conjunction of research and business, particularly the fact that I’m working with seriously excellent minds on fascinating problems. It’s highly developmental.
What’s the greatest challenge you’ve encountered so far on your professional path?
I think it’s a challenge that comes back time and again in both my personal and professional life… the challenge of knowing how to keep a good balance between ‘maintain’ and ‘develop’. In other words, how to keep organisational matters on track so that the well-oiled machine works effectively and efficiently and so that there’s development, so that you’re moving yourself, your family, your team and your company forward.
What’s your favourite way of spending your free time?
First and foremost being a husband and father… with a capital ‘H’ and a capital ‘F’. I’ve got three sons and a fourth on the way. I love talking to them, playing with them or reading to them and the multiplier has its own input!

Apart from that, there’s literature. I’m an avid reader of books and books about books. I set up a book club in Płock and every month we choose something from the world’s prose canon, read it, then meet and discuss it. We’ve got several dozen titles under our belts and oceans upon oceans of them ahead of us! Set up your own clubs, people! I can’t recommend it strongly enough!

I’m also a rambler of sorts. I just love walking. I mean, how long can you spend sitting in front of a computer or with a book?!
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We’re left wondering if Maciej’s been given the gift of stretchable days or if, as befits a parent, he’s simply achieved a state of perfect time management… 😊 Because, in addition to everything else, he’s also an extraordinarily dependable and responsive MakoLabber!

Author
Kamila Braszak
Kamila Braszak
Marketing Specialist

MakoLife, Employees, MakoLab Team, People, Hobby