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    Backstage
    Brimming with talent and enthusiasm: our new machine learning expert
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    15. September 2021
    4:15 min.
    Ahmad Alsheikh, an expert in reinforcement learning, is a welcome addition to the research and development team at Krones – assuring further optimisation through machine learning.
    • Ahmad Alsheikh, an expert in his field, develops intelligent machines at Krones – using reinforcement learning to come up with efficient new solutions.

    I have met and hired quite a few talented people in my time as a recruiter at Krones. And since I am sure you are just as intrigued as I am about these new faces, I would like to introduce you today to a rather special newcomer: Ahmad Alsheikh, who has just successfully completed two Master courses! In the CRD Analytics and Simulations Department, his remit now includes reinforcement learning. I talked to him to find out more about the 27-year-old from Jordan.

    His name may ring a bell with some of you – only recently, the Mittelbayerische Zeitung newspaper published a report on Ahmad: he was awarded a prize for his performance in the Mechatronic & Cyber Physical Systems Master course, which he completed at Deggendorf College as the best graduate in his year with an average grade of 1.18. “Of course, I was delighted about that,” Ahmad tells me, mentioning in passing that he had to give a farewell speech at the prize-award ceremony: “That was very funny, as German isn’t my native tongue – but fortunately everything went fine.”

    Continuing in his relaxed and easy-going manner, he tells me that he also completed a correspondence Master course in business administration at the same time – obtaining an MBA from the new University of People. “I admit that it was all rather stressful but it was definitely worthwhile.” It was clearly worth all the effort. After Ahmad had written both dissertations, mentored by Thomas Albrecht in the CRD Analytics and Simulations Department of R&D at Krones, he became an expert in reinforcement learning – making him indispensable within the team. And here it comes – the explanation for all of you who now at the latest are wondering “What exactly is reinforcement learning?” It is part of the machine learning method, which in turn is part of artificial intelligence (AI).

    Having cleared that up, let’s get back to Ahmad. His first involvement with Krones came even before his time at college – when he also worked at R&D. “I was able to pick up a lot of useful things there. I had no clue about reinforcement learning to start with but was quickly able to familiarise myself with it during my internship, which was a good opportunity for me to get in touch with this technology.”

    “I’ve always seen myself as a researcher”

    At Krones, Ahmad now compares and develops AI solutions for complex control systems: “To give you an example: I compare AI solutions with traditional solutions, or a variety of algorithms with each other, and then consider which of them is the better, the more efficient solution. So, my remit focuses on upgrading and optimising existing products and systems, and on developing new intelligent machines. Much of my work, however, is also devoted to research.” And it is precisely this research that is so important and exciting for Ahmad. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree in Mechatronics in his home country, Jordan, he carried out research in the field of artificial intelligence for two years as a graduate assistant. His researcher spirit is also in evidence at home, as he tells me, grinning: “I’ve always seen myself as a researcher. At home, I keep on trying out new recipes, or optimising old ones, or I’ll find an alternative solution for fixing my broken table.”

    To give you an example: I compare AI solutions with traditional solutions, or a variety of algorithms with each other, and then consider which of them is the better, the more efficient solution. Erwin HächlAhmad AlsheikhExpert in reinforcement learning

    One of his scientific goals is to contribute to (AI) research by inventing his own algorithm. I tell him that I will keep my fingers crossed for him, and I am sure that there will be more than ample opportunity for him to run trials in his new workplace because – and that’s another thing I learned while talking to Ahmad – reinforcement learning is a very new technology which is still at the research stage and is not yet being used in industrial production. These are ideal prerequisites for Ahmad to indulge in his favourite interest: research. “In research, you’re able to work on your ideas, develop solutions and optimise them by perpetually pondering upon and experimenting with them. That is simply great!”

    For me, especially, it is always a pleasure to get to know and welcome such committed and talented people to the Krones family – and to hire them as experts in just the right position. Incidentally: Ahmad has meanwhile settled in comfortably in picturesque Regensburg, and now it’s just the local dialect which poses a challenge to him every now and then. But given his commitment and experience, I am quite confident that it won’t take him long to overcome that obstacle as well. With this in mind I say: Schee, dass’d do bist (local dialect for “Nice to have you with us”), Ahmad – and all the best for you here at Krones!

    15. September 2021
    4:15 min.

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