In this fifth part of our talent spotlight series, we speak with Raam Baranidharan SingularityNET’s newly appointed VP of Engineering
Raam, pictured in our SingularityNET office in TST, Hong Kong
Raam Baranidharan, based out of Bangalore is a model team member, the type of colleague you rely on when things get complicated. His work on the SingularityNET Beta platform is the perfect example of that. Raam working closely with Cassio, our Chief AI officer, successfully led the team and the effort to build the current platform and continues to work assiduously even after the delivery of the Beta. In his own words: “things are far from done, it’s exciting!”.
Career and experience
Raam has been in the software development space for over 14 years, he holds a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Master’s in Software Systems. Evidently, managing and building information systems is an important part of his life and that goes beyond just career development. Raam debuted as a backend engineer for the most part, starting with his work on a database called Essbase, a database management system that provides a multidimensional database platform (MDBMS) upon which to build analytic applications. He continued his work on Essbase at Oracle after they acqui-hired him and his team.
After leaving Oracle, Raam spent most of his working years managing backend platforms. Before joining SingularityNET he worked at BuildDirect and then Treebo. Both being e-commerce platforms focused on connecting homeowners with customers worldwide, on-boarding sellers, providing analytics and scaling globally. These foundational experiences set him up well to build the world’s first decentralized AI marketplace.
Insights on building platforms and the SingularityNET BetaRaam leading our platform team on a whiteboarding sessionThe field is rapidly transforming. The rate with which the tech space is changing is unprecedented. The experience you get in this domain is nothing like any other industry, in software development experience translates into being able to quickly identify potential mistakes and how to recover from them. However, you will quickly get dismissed if you stop learning. You have to keep up with the changes every day; 15 years of experience will amount to nothing if you stop updating your knowledge on the new tools available to software developers.I don’t need to start from scratch anymore and write my code in C or C++, there are open source tools that will help me accelerate so much of the development.
It is exactly that lack of tools, however, which made his work on the Beta extra exciting.
Indeed, Raam explained that:
“Blockchain has been around in the mainstream for about 5–6 years, it is a place for communities to come together, Ethereum and ConsenSys have been doing a great job in building tools around it, but you can clearly see that the ecosystem is still maturing”.
Thus, working on a DApp felt like his earlier days of software development, taking him back to building tools from scratch to some extent.
Raam’s first challenge in leading the effort to build the SingularityNET platform was in understanding the vision of the project. The Alpha platform had evolved quite drastically and this required Raam and his team to handle completely new propositions and implement them. The second challenge, a more technical one, was to set-up Multi-Party Escrow contracts and the motion of unidirectional payment channels. Overall the goal of their approach was to make things much easier for the platform users and allow them to transact without having to go through multiple set-up phases with the other transacting party. Surfacing this out the right way was one of the technically challenging parts. Raam is thankful, however, to have had the help of the knowledgeable and diverse talent at SingularityNET.
It is also worth noting, that while Raam was familiar with blockchain technology, he learned a lot about the nuances of what it takes to mine a transaction on the main-net — “it can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 hours, how you handle this in your code and ensure the user does not suffer from this” is crucial. “It was definitely a learning curve”.
The team is looking forward to the next 6 to 12 months which will be dedicated to refining the platform and introducing new features. As Raam aptly put it “we built a service and have it up on the main-net which brings validation to it… but the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. The next phase is to make the platform as easy to use as possible for AI developers and attract as many external contributors as we can.
While SingularityNET is immersed in the blockchain space, the end users that our Engineering VP seeks to empower are AI developers that, in large, may not be blockchain savvy. The goal is to provide simple enough tools to make AI developers understand that on our platform “the power of the blockchain is fully used but the complexity of it is removed”.
At the moment, a service provider will need to go through a set of steps before they can set up their AI service, transactions need to be mined, gas cost is involved, etc. “How do you make it so this process is clear to everyone and simplified?” asked Raam. “We aim to take the complexity of channel creation and management away for both the end user and service developer so they can just focus on interacting. In the current form of the Beta there is still a certain amount of specific functionalities that the end user needs to know; the service developers also need to go claim their funds before the channels expire, for example. The next step is for the system to automatically handle these actions on behalf of a given user”
“I’m surrounded by very capable individuals that each have their own unique skill sets, I have no doubt that the platform will continue to grow and with it the involvement of an empowered community of developers.”
SingularityNET and the team are proud to have Raam on board and continue to develop our platform and talent to achieve the vision outlined in our whitepaper 2.0.
SingularityNET has a passionate and talented community which you can connect with by visiting our Community Forum. Feel free to say hello and to introduce yourself here.
We hope you will join us in our mission to democratize AI and to use its transformative powers to enact real, positive and lasting change. The best way forward is to come together and work practically towards creating a better future.
We are proud of our developers and researchers that are actively publishing their research for the benefit of the community; you can read the research here. For any additional information, please refer to our roadmaps and subscribe to our newsletter to stay informed about all of our developments. You can connect with our passionate and talented community by visiting our Community Forum.
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