25 Jan 2024

Meet the team: Anton Eklund

When we sat down for this interview, Anton had just gotten back from picking up a party game called Hitster (game of the year 2023) for his mom for Christmas. When he’s not out doing nice things for the people in his life, he’s topic modelling.

Anton’s trajectory starts in Innertavle, just outside Umeå. At 19, he left to participate in an exchange at City College Santa Barbara in sunny California. “It was good for me to go to the US and get rid of that romanticised idea of the US I had before.” We asked him what had him missing Sweden more than anything while abroad. “Always the same weather – always too nice weather.” Tired of the relentless beating of the sun, he moved back after 1 semester and continued his studies in IT Engineering. He eventually ventured back outside Sweden, this time to Yonsei University in Seoul.

“As an industrial PhD student, I really want to be in the industry to draw real-world problems from the industry domain. And our domain is how to structure the content of articles, working a lot with topic modelling and article clustering – you don’t know how a model will perform in the real world unless you test it.”

And that’s Anton’s specialty – validating these cluster/models.

“I see a lot of researchers creating models and comparing it to a number of arbitrary benchmarks, but I’m more interested in connecting it to real language instead. The research group at Umeå gives me a lot of freedom, and they’re at the cutting edge of intersectionality and AI ethics.”

When he’s not thinking about topic modelling or playing Hitster with his family, Anton gets ‘waves’ of musical inspiration (mostly in the metalcore/powermetal genre), enjoying black salty liquorice by the bagful, and likes a good hike that ends with a lovely vista – much like when hard work bears the fruit in the form of a lovely graph. Reach Anton (he/him) here.