Head of Data Science
A commitment to excellence and curiosity about data led Steve Nouri to rewarding projects and numerous accolades.
Steve Nouri –
Master of Information Technology
Steve Nouri is fascinated by the power and possibilities of data. The Master of Information Technology (Data Analytics) graduate is Head of Data Science at Nod, an Artificial Intelligence platform that provides fast, on-demand financial advice for clients.
“Most of my days are spent on research, design and implementation of innovative AI algorithms,” he says. “The most interesting part of my role is [developing] innovative solutions for specific problems that have never been addressed before.”
“During my career, I have always been involved with transforming and querying structured data,” he continues. After working as a software programmer and senior software developer, Steve decided to pursue further studies and extend his expertise. “Data science has a steep learning curve,” he explains. Research was another area of interest—involvement in academia would provide an insight into cutting-edge AI technologies and the people behind them.
Reputation in research, close industry relationships and accessible academics led Steve to study at UTS in 2016. He immediately dove into the fundamentals of machine learning and statistics; hard work and extra guidance from professors earned him an Academic Excellence Award during the first semester. After more accolades and exceptional academic performance, Steve was chosen to mentor undergrad students in two subjects. Helping a student pass a subject that he had failed and another to finalise her research project were two memorable and rewarding experiences.
The role led to an offer from one of his professors to join a high-profile genomic analysis research team aiming to identify paediatric cancer genes via an innovative deep neural network algorithm.
The moment I put on 3D glasses with a joystick in hand to explore the clustered visualisation of patients’ data at UTS’s 360-degree data arena was one the epic moments for me.
Thanks to UTS’s industry connections, Steve had a valuable experience leading a team of UTS business, engineering and computer science students to work on a real-word IBM project. The challenge involved developing a solution for a global telecom company to improve customer services using Watson, IBM’s AI platform. The team received training at the company, and from UTS for the skills to solve the task. At the presentation, IBM’s senior executives were impressed by the quality of the work.
“The most important outcome was the learnings and working with a multidisciplinary team of talented students under supervision and mentorship of IBM senior professionals.”
Among Steve’s numerous accolades is the prestigious 2018 ICT Student of the Year award by the Australian Computer Society, the country’s largest professional body representing the ICT sector. Selection criteria includes high achievers who demonstrate leadership, accomplish projects with high impact for society and industry individually, and a flair for entrepreneurship and innovation.
I am honoured to receive this award, which is a pat in the back for me and hopefully an inspiration for other students who want to follow their dreams. I feel an even greater responsibility to keep driving change and disruption for good.