About Reddy Dheeraj Tenepalli
My current research interests lie in the areas of Data Science, Machine Leaning, and Natural Language Processing. With knowledge in these areas I would like to build innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems. I am a technology enthusiast, specializing in Machine Learning and IBM Watson. I love competitions. I have won seven Topcoder competitions in AI. I was also a finalist in the 2016 GE Edison Challenge for an app that assesses a person’s probability of having heart disease.
What is the most interesting challenge you competed on at Topcoder and why?
The most interesting challenge has to be one of the first challenges that I ever competed in. In this challenge I had to build a chat bot utilizing IBM Watson in addition to building a user interface. It was pretty interesting because at the time I was so new to the data science field and I had done a lot of research on how to build the chat bot. Seeing it work inspired me to pursue more advanced challenges.
What is your most memorable Topcoder challenge this TCO19 qualification and why?
Decline Curve Analysis. This was my first big win of the year. I worked so hard over the past year acquiring relevant skills. In the end it was all worth it. I will remember it forever.
Who do you think is the most fierce or talented coder at Topcoder and why?
I’ve had the opportunity to compete with many talented coders. But, I have to say Vietran and Mig-29 are some of the best in terms of coding and presentation skills. I learned a lot from their submissions after the challenge ended.
What is the programming language you most relate to and why?
Python. It is really simple and allows you to build prototypes faster than other programming languages. I also like Java.
What do you do when not working?
I like to be outdoors. I enjoy playing sports, going to the gym, meditation, and spending time with family and friends.
Where do you work? Tell us about your space(s).
I used to work from home where I used a rented wooden table. I always prefer a nicely finished table set up with a night lamp, MSI gaming laptop (which I bought through my earnings from Topcoder), a mouse, and a keyboard.
If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Utilize your college time to not only learn but also to develop your personality.
What kind of music do you listen to while working on your solutions?
Naruto theme music.
What is the dream project you want to build, design, or solve for?
An Intelligent OS or a system that can build solutions to Topcoder challenges by learning from the submissions of previous contests from Kaggle, Topcoder, etc.
What’s the best tip or piece of advice you can share with other members at Topcoder?
Be persistent and do not give up. There have been challenges that I worked on for two to three weeks and recieved no prize for. But you learn, move on, and persevere.
What does Topcoder mean to you?
It really means a lot to me. I have not only learned but also earned enough money to pursue my masters in computer science from Stony Brook University, New York. I am currently studying there and taking a small break from Topcoder in the mean time. But I will be back.
How does it feel to be a first time TCO Finalist?
It feels great to be among the select few. I want to meet all the finalists and discuss their experiences.
What are you most looking forward to at your first-ever TCO Finals?
To the experience of being there among the veterans.
Did you strive to make it TCO this year and if so, why does it matter to you?
I worked hard to become a TCO Finalist. It matters to me because this represents that my work is appreciated not only by the clients but also by the Topcoder community.