2021 AWS DeepRacer Championship Finals

Get to know some of our finalists, how they found this year’s competition, and if DeepRacer has helped with their education/career.

List of finalists represented in this blog (along with their racer alias)

  1. Tomasz Ptak – Breadcentric
  2. James Jennens – JJ
  3. Jochem Lugtenburg – Jochem
  4. Daryl Jezierski – PolishThunder
  5. Lars Lorentz Ludvigsen – Duckworth
  6. Roger Logan – JPMC-RogerRabbit
  7. Henry Gotzinger – CGS-Huge-Hadr0n
  8. Tobey Gossen – DoomBuggy
  9. Oscar Brown – CGS-LargeLattice
  10. Karl Stiegler – Karl-NAB
  11. Roberto Niubó – Rober
  12. Nathan Liang – AIDeepRacer
  13. Sai Ram Naragoni – JPMC-Rogue-Hyderabad
  14. Ross Williams – rosscomp1
  15. Mitesh Goplani – JPMC-MUMBAI-FormulaAI
  16. Helen Thomas – Helen
  17. Jouni Luoma – Joffe
  18. James Faeldon – ADA
  19. Tyler Wooten – JPMC-DriftKing-Houston
  20. Darren Broderick – DBro

Where are the racers from?


Tomasz Ptak – Breadcentric

How have you found this years’ competition?

Two leagues have made it much more exciting and I’m happy to be entering the championships. It will be tough to get into the second round but it would be awesome to race in head to head knockout round with the new live races!

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

There is a lot of collateral learning in DeepRacer. I’ve understood much more about Python, containers, machine learning, data analysis and looking after communities. And I don’t think that’s all learning in it just yet.


James Jennens – JJ

How have you found this years’ competition?

It’s been emotional

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Yes


Jochem Lugtenburg – Jochem

When did you get involved in DeepRacer?

I’ve been participating since the Amsterdam summit in 2019

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Not yet 🙂


Daryl Jezierski – PolishThunder

How have you found this years’ competition?

I was very happy to have qualified in the second month of the season. After a few months break, I’ve gotten back to experimenting with models. It has definitely been a tight competition for the qualifying spots. Most of the times are only within a fraction of a second of each other.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer has definitely impacted my Career at The Walt Disney Company. Before DeepRacer I didn’t know Python at all. Thanks to DeepRacer, I was able to learn Python and apply that knowledge to my previous role. Those new skills directly contributed to being able to move into my new role as a Senior Site Reliability Engineer.


Lars Lorentz Ludvigsen – Duckworth

How have you found this years’ competition?

Overall good; live racing is exciting. Could be more varied competition formats. (Stability vs. just peak speed.)

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

No; but I have used it at work.


Roger Logan – JPMC-RogerRabbit

How have you found this years’ competition?

Tough

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Definitely. Learned a lot about machine learning and AWS services.


Henry Gotzinger – CGS-Huge-Hadr0n

How have you found this years’ competition?

This has been my first year doing DeepRacer. I have found the competition very fun and competitive and think its a great way to get into machine learning.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer has helped with my education. It has opened my mind to the possibilities of machine learning and provided a fun and enjoyable avenue to get started with it.


Tobey Gossen – DoomBuggy

How did you get involved in DeepRacer?

Started as a competition at work, then carried over … now I am furiously burning CPU/GPU cycles to get every iteration and evaluation done!

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Yes – learning lots about ML and Reinforcement training – never really explored this area before.


Oscar Brown – CGS-LargeLattice

How have you found this years’ competition?

The Object Avoidance format made qualification more difficult for everyone. My first Pro Finale was a struggle because my most successful models were trained for Time Trial. The following month, I rethought my entire training method to create a qualifying model. It has been great to have other students from Canberra Grammar School competing in the Pro Finale.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Yes. As a result of DeepRacer, I was offered an internship at Machine Learning company, Trellis Data.


Karl Stiegler – Karl-NAB

How have you found this years’ competition?

The competition has definitely gone up a level this year. People are building better models and the gap between the top of the competition to the middle of the pack has narrowed considerably. A few new contenders have joined to top of the standings so the competition is much stronger.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

No, not really. I don’t do any ML in my job. I got into DeepRacer purely as a learning exercise and to get some exposure to ML/RL, and have a bit of fun competing with other developers 🙂


Roberto Niubó – Rober

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Totally! I started with zero knowledge about Deep Learning / ML and I think it’s a great way to learn new technologies. I’m a passionate about technology (well, and racing cars) since I remember and it helped me a lot to start my journey in Data Science / AI career step by step in my career. In the winter I’ll try to get certified in a mid term and looking for some opportuinities to grow and switch to an AI job position.


Nathan Liang – AIDeepRacer

How have you found this years’ competition?

The races have been fun and interesting, with quite a challenging aspect to it.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

It is my first exposure to Python, and now I use Python nearly everyday for my job.


Sai Ram Naragoni – JPMC-Rogue-Hyderabad

How did you find out about DeepRacer?

Through JPMC’s AIML community

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Yes, It helped me found something that I enjoy more than development.


Ross Williams – rosscomp1

How long have you been involved in DeepRacer?

Have been racing since 2019

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Yes, it’s a great conversation starter and it’s definitely on my resume


Mitesh Goplani – JPMC-MUMBAI-FormulaAI

How did you find out about DeepRacer?

JPMC sponsored event

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer gave us a kickstart to explore where Reinforcement Learning could be used in business applications, for example, to build systems like algo-trading platforms, conversational chatbots, and change failure risk optimization.


Jouni Luoma – Joffe

How have you found this years’ competition?

Challenging tracks and good competitors. It is good to see different race formats as well. I am lucky to be in the 2021 finals as the gap between competitors in monthly finals was really small.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

Not directly. I work with AI/ML, doing mostly Natural Language Processing at the moment, but it is good to have some level of understanding on other ML topics beside my own expertise. And who knows what happens in the future!


James Faeldon – ADA

How have you found this years’ competition?

As rookie, the experience has been amazing. I wasn’t really expecting to get this far, especially competing in the pro league. I found that the most successful developers are long-time veterans or rookies that are part of an already strong team. I’m very glad there were enough resources online and people in the community to help me get started. I love the process of learning ways to improve my models, it’s such a joy to discover your own techniques. Looking forward to the finals.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer competition is a great way to showcase technical skills and get recognition which is very helpful for my career development. Being able to compete among talented individuals across the globe is quite an honor.


Tyler Wooten – JPMC-DriftKing-Houston

How have you found this years’ competition?

It’s been a blast! I’ve loved the live racing, new skins on cars, and commentary throughout the finals.

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer was my first time using AWS or any ML/AI. Since then, I have received my AWS Certified Developer Associate certification, became “the AWS guy” on my team, developed various side projects using AWS services, and created many different ML based applications for my team.


Darren Broderick – DBro

How have you found this years’ competition?

Thankfully I was very lucky to have gotten the first set of 3 tickets in March next to JJ and Karl-NAB so have been able to take a bit of virtual break, however have remained very active in the community over the year and in DeepRacer Underground ran by AWS’ David Smith in London.

I’m looking forward to what 2022 has in store and hopefully be able to attend my first physical summit!

Has DeepRacer helped you with Education/Career?

DeepRacer got me started on the path to learning ML and understanding modeling/training concepts and best practices. I’ve been able to use this knowledge and confidence to start an ML guild in Liberty IT/Mutual and use my knowledge as a base to help others and myself get more involved into AI and data science.

I love using DeepRacer as an area to explore new ideas to become more competitive and providing feedback to the developers, UI and product designers for the future of DeepRacer and other ML fields.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.