I’m Tatyana Khitrova from Dnipro, Ukraine. I'm Head of Development at NeoMatrix I'm working mainly with C++ C# and Python programming languages. I had extensive experience with cryptography, application hooks and reverse engineering.
Currently I’m deeply involved in machine learning and artificial intelligence. I’m working with a very smart team of software developers Together with my team, we are creating amazing stuff. I’ve been working for NeoMatrix for about a year and a half. I was the first worker on this project, but then our company has grown to 25 people and these people are living around the world. It's an international team, we have people
from London, from Turkey, from USA, from India and many, many other countries. So we quickly had grown, from one person to 25 persons. I'm personally managing eight people in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. I'm helping my team to grow. I'm mentoring them in some technical difficulties which they have and also I am managing them in personal growth. I keep talking about our ‘No Sorry Policy’ and ‘Doing Mistakes’ policy.
I’m encouraging my team to make mistakes and I'm sharing my personal mistakes with them so they won't be afraid to make mistakes and tell me about these mistakes. NeoMatrix is working on novel technologies connected with NO-GPS tracking, tracking which is based solely on environmental sensor measurements. Like pressure sensor, gyroscope, magnetometer and temperature sensor. NeoMatrix has two main goals. First goal is to reduce traffic congestion, and so resolve the world pollution problem. Currently the world suffers from an air pollution problem, because cities stay in traffic and their level of air pollution is very, very high.
It has a very big impact on people’s health. I'm very much worried about this, because I have two sons, and I would like to have a better world for them.. to have more clear air and without this all this car pollution.
I believe NeoMatrix, will really resolve the traffic problem, and when we will be able to resolve the traffic problem this way, we will also resolve the air pollution problem, because there is less traffic then there is less air pollution. The less air pollution traffic problem is also a traffic problem that also applies on climate change and it's a really really big problem currently in our world. We all need to think about this and to do our best for this, and I think NeoMatrix can really give us a hope to improve the situation with climate change and global warming.
Also NeoMatrix’s goal is to support diversity. NeoMatrix supports diversity in nationalities, cultures and gender. We are helping to empower women. We are helping women to grow in tech, in software engineering. We are trying to find more women in software engineering to help them learn and grow, and be more empowered. In general in a software engineering world, women are underrepresented. I remember when I first came to my first job as a software engineer, I was the first woman in my company. I was really something very unusual but currently
at NeoMatrix we have more than 50 percent of women working on our smart technology. I think it's a really big step up in woman empowerment in software engineering. NeoMatrix has very unusual and interesting company policies. One of them is No Sorry Policy. You can’t say sorry for nothing. You can’t say sorry for some small things for some mistakes you are encouraged to make mistakes. It’s one of our company policies
is to make mistakes. It's our work to actually make mistakes because when we are making mistakes we are achieving something new. Our mistakes helped us to find new ways to learn new things. People shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes because when you are afraid to make mistakes you are limited. You can't be creative, you can't be innovative when you are limited by your fear of making mistakes. So this company policy really helped us to
allow people to bring new creative ideas to our project because they are not afraid to make mistakes, they are not afraid to bring something completely new, something unusual, something which isn't done this way in any other company. You can’t say sorry for nothing, you can't say sorry for your working mistakes or for that you can't do a meeting right now, or something which people usually say sorry too often. At the beginning this policy feels like ‘What? What are you talking about!’. It's unusual, it’s really .. but then you understand it's a really powerful policy because it gives you freedom. Freedom to be creative, to just bring your ideas without fear that you spend too much time on this, or something like this.
You just live in freedom, and you are working in freedom, and happiness. This feels really great. We are supporting people in their mistakes when people make mistakes and when they are not afraid to make these mistakes then they can be creative because they are not limited by their fear of making mistakes. When you're making a mistake you're learning. You’re making a step up in your knowledge. So it's good to make mistakes and it's encouraged in our team.
You can tell your boss and even more we are supporting sharing our mistakes with our colleagues, and our boss is often praising us for our mistakes even. In NeoMatrix it's a part of your job to make a mistake. If you're not making mistakes that means that something's going wrong or you're lying about your work, that you are not making mistakes at all, or means you are not putting enough effort. So it's really your job to make mistakes and learn from them.
I’m encouraging my team to make mistakes and I'm sharing my personal mistakes with them. So they won't be afraid to make mistakes and tell me about these mistakes. At the beginning it was very uncomfortable to share my mistakes because I thought it was bringing me down. It's something bad, something you shouldn't do. But now I learned this great attitude to mistakes, that mistakes is your ‘learning way’, and now I'm completely comfortable with this.
This approach is very different from other companies I was working for. Before it was really fearful to share your big mistakes because your boss won't be happy about this, so it's very unusual to work with another approach to mistakes. For example, recently I had one mistake which cost me like a week of work, because I was creating a clustering library from scratch, just using a wrong approach. At the end of the week it appeared there is just a very simple library for this which I can use. I spent about three hours on this, so I spent a week when I could spend only three hours, so it was a big mistake. But together it was learning, because in the
process of developing my approach I learned very many things which actually will be useful for us in the future so it was good. [Luis Romero] Has anything sprung to your mind that you want to tell us about NeoMatrix and working at NeoMatrix? [Laughter] I don't know I ran out of ideas to talk about! [Chris Cooper] You needed to do more mistakes Tatyana! You have to do more mistakes! First you need to see the actual video, and then then we will speak about my mistakes! Neomatrix is investing very much effort and money in staff learning and empowerment. NeoMatrix supports the idea that workers can not have some skill, but everything can be learned. The main thing is to have a passion for their work, to have a desire to create something great, novel and impressive. Every skill can be learned with time and NeoMatrix supports learning, supports people who want to learn but just don't have some skills.
I personally participate in Toastmasters public speaking program which helps me to grow in my management skills and my public speaking skills, in my English skills. NeoMatrix is supporting me in this and actually paid for me for this program. I give respect to other people's ideas. When somebody comes with some idea with some excitement about some improvement or something I always support this, even if this wasn't planned. Because when people work with excitement, that can give even better results than some plans, some strict directions or something like this. Sometimes I got tasks from my boss to spend time on my hobby.
I had a hobby of drawing and sometimes my boss was just saying to me it's your work to go and do your hobby, do your crayons drawing because it's very important that people have good personal time. It's good to have a possibility to refresh your strengths for your new work, for some new ideas you just need to have some time for yourself, some time for your hobbies. [NeoMatrix CEO Chris Cooper] I gave a work task to Tatyana, to enjoy her crayons and draw on paid company time. Later, I asked how she felt about her role in the company. She replied Freedom! I said well, that sounds like a great theme for a drawing.
She smiled, and showed me what she had just finished. Her drawing was a beautiful ballerina who had just cut her own puppet ties, and was now free to dance. It was an amazing moment which brought home the power of really investing in your team At the start of my work at NeoMatrix I have not a very high level of English speaking and understanding of native speakers too. But at NeoMatrix I had a very huge experience of speaking. I had many calls during the week with people all around the world. We have an international team, and all of these people speak with some accents, and you need to understand all of them. You need to give directions to
all of them. It's a really great experience which allows me to improve my English very much, and actually it happened. I can speak English much better now than a year ago.
With support of NeoMatrix, I started a Toastmasters program created for improving public speaking skills. I started this program just recently, so I didn't have much time to really improve in this, but I see this program as very interesting. Very creative, and I think it will help me very much on my way.
Neomatrix paid for my participants in the Toastmasters program. I think the Toastmasters program can really improve my public speaking skills and improve my confidence in speaking, and giving my ideas to other people. Core matching is our most important part of the project and the most challenging one. We have several people working on this concept, and it is really hard and challenging. We
are trying to achieve the best results in core matching. Our smartest and best people are working on this. Core matching is supposed to find a collection of ways where a car was going. It's not supposed to find exactly one way because it's impossible
to find the exact way. But it's possible to find the collection of ways, and then we can more precisely find the exact way using other technology of NeoMatrix called Snowflake. We are building a signature tree, using elevation on the road. We are matching this tree, this set of reference trees, and this way we can get the set of all possible ways which car was going and then from this set we can determine where exactly the car was going using our another technology called Snowflake Explorer. Snowflake Explorer takes some known GPS point you can imagine like from one known point on a map, we are just growing a snowflake in all possible directions by shortest pathways.
At each step we are checking possible elevation and bearing, and if it isn't likely by our sensor measurements then we are just pruning these ways. This way we are finding our most likely way where a car was going. NeoMatrix doesn't use GPS for its work for many reasons. First of all GPS is very battery power consuming when an environmental sensor doesn't consume so much battery power.
That's why we are not using GPS at all. Also GPS can be blocked, or GPS is not reachable in some locations, where pressure sensor or temperature sensor is always reachable. We always can use these sensors. That's why we are using only environmental sensors but not GPS. Our team developed algorithms for NeoTag compression.
We were working on it for almost a year. We were working together with Humam and Jonathan and me, and we created three algorithms of NeoTag compression. NeoTag compression allows us to store car movement in a very efficient way. When some well-known formats like GPX allow storing car movement in a very inefficient way, because it uses XML. We are storing kilometers of car movement in a very tiny string like 20 characters.
This way we can very efficiently send user movement through SMS or email or through the network. We won't consume too much battery power on sending user movement. It's really big compression and it's very amazing technology.
This technology can be used in some devices which would be plugged into a car. These devices need to have a lifetime battery, so NeoTag algorithm compression can help us to save battery life for such devices. We are using Uber’s H3 clustering library for different goals. We are using it for limiting and dividing our map to areas of different sizes, and to limit for example, a search area for core matching. We are also using Uber H3 hexagons in our novel technology for determining the most expensive fuel station and a day. We are predicting fuel cost in the limits of 10 days and helping our users to save their money.
We are using machine learning technologies to predict fuel cost. We needed H3 clustering to divide road networks and fuel stations to some clusters to have prediction models. Because it's a very big amount of fuel stations and if we will have a prediction model for each station, it will be a very big amount. So we needed to cluster them.
NeoMatrix is investing very much investing in their professional growth of their technical skills. Sometimes we are hiring people who doesn’t know necessary technology and we are just saying then learn this and give us your best and people are excited and really doing great in this new technology. When I started to work at NeoMatrix, I didn't know most technologies used in this project. I didn't know Python. I didn't know Machine Learning at all. I didn't know anything about geographic systems stuff or something else and it was necessary to learn all of this and NeoMatrix gave me a possibility to learn all of this, and to become good at this. Personally NeoMatrix gave a big growth in my leadership way, and also in my engineering way.
Also I learned many things connected with personal and leadership growth. Now I can feel much more confident in my work and in my communication with the team, and my way to manage my team. I got fantastic support when I was growing as a leader and as manager. I've got all the help which I needed for this. Unfortunately in my work I do not always have to work with the best professionals. Sometimes
you just need to say for people to leave, and this was very difficult for me. Before, I wasn't able to just say people I'm firing you. It was just like impossible for me. But now I learned to do such things to fire people when they just can't be there, and they just can't do their work. First of all it's good for them because when
some person works not where it's good for this person, then it won't end good for this person. When you're giving fair feedback to a person, this person can improve in the future and this is only for the good for this worker. I also needed to give some mentoring to people in how to create better code, how to use better approaches in their work.
How to be better in their communication inside the team. Our project needs a very smart team. It needs some very creative solutions. Not every regular developer can do this work.
Our technologies allow us to create dynamic road pricing, and with dynamic road pricing, we can improve the traffic congestion situation. We can resolve traffic congestion, and this way we can improve the situation with air pollution. We know that air pollution has the most impact on the climate change problem, so if we will be able to resolve the air pollution problem, then we will be able to resolve the climate change problem.
NeoMatrix helps a woman to grow in their tech skills. We are trying to hire women workers. It's not always easy because women are very much underrepresented in software engineering. So sometimes it's hard to find a woman for the position when there is very many men for this position.
But we are trying to hire women and we are trying to help them learn something which they don't know for now. We know that anything that a person doesn't know for now it's just some skills which can be learned. So we are trying to help people to learn something and to grow and then be a great member of our team. One of the goals of NeoMatrix is Woman's Empowerment in tech, because currently women are underrepresented in tech and software engineering, and we are trying to fix this. We are trying to help women on their way to grow to be a good software engineer. We have another developer Alexandra also from Ukraine. She's a very, very smart woman, and
I was helping her on her growth way, connected also with the ‘No Sorry Policy’. She was saying sorry for very many things, and after this she became also a mentor for two other women in our team for Poonam from India and for Diana from Ukraine too. Alexandra became a great mentor for them. She helped them learn new things and improve their skills. We have a team of very smart, very creative, very unusual people who love their work, who love their solutions, who just have a passion for this project, for novel ideas in this project.
Working for NeoMatrix it’s really fun. Sometimes you find out such great ideas which you just.. you just can't sleep because you're thinking how to do this the best way, how great it would be to implement this. Really! Sometimes I just want to wake up at night and sit at my laptop and implement this right now I definitely can say that NeoMatrix is the most inspiring project in my career. Really it's the most challenging, and in the same way, it's the most interesting project in my career.