Our Team

Preferred Networks Inc. (PFN) aspires to establish “an organization that continually produces cutting-edge technologies and puts them into practical use”. Such an organization would be possible only by a group of professionals who have deep expertise in technology, and who are committed to deliver new value to the world through technology. These professionals will have both the technical expertise and the passion to pursue that vision, by continuously taking on new challenges and complementing each other’s skills. At PFN, we just love working with such a group of people. While technical expertise is a necessity, we also value personality even more. That is why we would like to work with members with the following qualities:

– Having an understanding of diversity, and the ability to combine various expertise.
– Flexibility and a constant intellectual curiosity and motivation toward learning new technology.
– Ability to achieve great results by working as a team.
– Sincere attitude toward work and technology.
– Passionate about using technology to improve society.

People who can only think and work within personal bubbles would not fit in at PFN, even if they have excellent technical skills. We highly value teams that work with mutual respect and continue to elevate each other’s capabilities. PFN is growing quickly and is seeking enthusiastic researchers and engineers in the following fields to join our journey.

Manufacturing (Robotics, optimization)

The manufacturing team works on making industrial robots and machine tools more advanced and sophisticated using machine learning. The team also targets to speed up the inter-machine collaboration through the realization of Edge-Heavy computing. The current themes fall into three categories: Robotics, production optimization, and Zero Down Time (ZDT).

Robotics

Robotics is one of the main themes in the manufacturing team, we have been working with Fanuc, a major industrial robot manufacturer. We welcome people who are familiar with software as well as robot design and control.

The themes we work on include:
– Sensor fusion
– Gait acquisition through machine learning
– Task collaboration among multiple robots
– Anomaly detection and anomaly avoidance in robots and machine systems
– Human-Robot collaboration
– Robust autonomous systems
– Robot arm control
– Research and development of robot hardware and sensor

Production Optimization
Increasing production is obviously a very important technology for manufacturing. We work on optimization from the level of individual machines to the overall factory level:
– Parameter tuning for machine tools performance improvement
– Optimization of factory / process automation

Zero Down Time (ZDT)
A failure of one machine, even for a short period, might result in a significant financial loss at a production facility. We aim to provide preventive maintenance that could both detect anomalies before a failure happens, and predict the life expectancy of production machines.
– Anomaly detection, prediction
– Anomaly classification and root cause analysis
– Lifetime prediction of expendable parts

Transportation

The transportation team works on a variety of themes including:
– Autonomous driving control
– Sensor fusion
– Learning-based control
– Distributed autonomous system
– Optimization problems such as planning

Bio-healthcare

The Bio-healthcare team aims to contribute to the realization of advanced personal medicine, by applying deep learning analysis of the enorme omics and genome data. We have recently equipped our PFN Cancer Research Institute with a Next-generation Sequencer, enabling us to perform a wide range of data analysis. The themes we work on include:
– Genome and Omics analysis
– Large scale exhausive data analysis
– Examination, diagnosis, and prognostic prediction of cancer and rare disease
– Medical imaging diagnosis systems

Communication

It the Communication team, we aim to contribute to the next generation robots field through challenging the realization of human-machine communication. At PFDeNA, which inherits the “Challenging new things” gene from both DeNA and Preferred Networks, we leverage deep learning and advanced machine learning technologies to design, develop, and operate a variety of services and solutions. The themes we work on include:
– Natural language processing
– Interaction processing
– Multimodal communication
– Sensor and device control

Machine learning

Machine learning is increasingly being used as a powerful tool that helps tackling a variety of problems. Our team is working on machine learning research and development including the development of our open source Chainer framework. This includes areas such as:
– Deep learning
– Reinforcement learning
– Large scale parallel distributed learning
– Weakly supervised learning, transfer learning, and unsupervised learning
– Image recognition
– Interaction models
– Anomaly detection

Simulation

– Environment simulation; especially building simulation environment that uses machine learning such as supervised learning, and reinforcement learning
– Sensor simulation, camera and lidar

Edge-devices

– Embedded programming
– Hardware description language (VHDL, Verilog, RTL)
– Compiler, LLVM backend development.

Network

The Network team at PFN intends to make computer networks more intelligent. In order to contribute to the realization of Edge-Heavy Computing, we aim to apply machine learning technologies to the field of computer networks. This include:
– SDN/SDI
– Network virtualization
– Field networks
– Wireless networks
– Network optimization and congestion control enhancement
– Mobile devices reliability enhancement
– Programmable network devices

High-performance computing

– High Speed Interconnect
– Computer architecture
– Microprocessor design
– Supercomputer design and operation
– Large-scale parallel computing programming
– Low-power processor design

Product Development

In order for the research and development outcome to be put to practical use, in the true sense of the term, it must be delivered as a reliable product that consistently works for the customer. At PFN we develop products that aim to deliver the latest advanced technology to users as soon as possible.

In addition to incorporating machine learning engines created by the research and development team, the product development work includes writing stable code and preparing necessary tests, etc. The team also needs to consider, frm the design phase, important aspects such as packaging, system integration, operation, and support.

Product development includes following work:
– Productization of R&D outcome: Interface unification, quality improvement through refactoring, and rewriting in some circumstances
– Platform development to accelerate internal and external research activities
– Middleware development (Chainer, SensorBee, etc), in order to incorporate R&D outcome to existing systems.
– Products and services operation support. OSS community support.
– Product deployment support.

The Product Development team is looking for engineers with skills such as the following:
– The ability to describe and verify, with high quality, technologies that require sophisticated mathematical discipline
– Software testing, CI
– UI, front-end development
– Cloud service operation
– System integration
– Container technology, OS virtualization

In order to provide machine learning-based products and services, there are many things that need to be developed, and many aspects that need to be taken into consideration, besides the core machine learning engine. As a product development engineer, there is no need to possess a complete combination of all the skills listed above. Rather than that, we need engineers who have high skill in specialized technologies, and also capable of flexibly applying it to a wide range of domains. There are many situations where an engineer can make large contributions from a product development perspective, without requiring a deep understanding of machine learning technology. For example, the ability to think from a user perspective of better ways to provide a product to customers, how to make it possible for researchers to conduct their work in a very smooth and effective manner, etc. We are looking forward to receiving applications from a diverse range of product development engineers with unique skills to offer PFN.

Researcher

A researcher will mainly be

– Putting oneself in a cutting-edge research environment (Holding a PhD/Taking a doctoral course)
– Delivering high quality research results, and efficiently communicating those results to engineers.
– At times, working along with engineers to develop products.

In addition, continuous communication with customers and external partners is also very crucial to correctly identifying how research will actually benefit society.

Full-time employment and contract employment for doctoral students are both available.

Qualifications & Requirments

Excellent talent goes without saying, but we only hire individuals who are highly motivated in getting the job done no matter how complicated is the mission. Below are some of the qualification we look for in applicants:

– Having continuously published papers, at least twice a year, in major international publications.
– Having a good grasp of all fields in computer science/hardware and control.
– Being at the very top in one’s research field at the international level, along with unique element to it.
– Interested in practical applications of the technology. We highly value project achievements and contributions to open source.
– Continuously highly motivated

How to apply & Hiring process

We hire researchers throughout the year. In order to apply for a researcher position please send the following application documents to hr-pfn@preferred.jp

– Resume
– Evidence of research results
(Please send us all papers you have been involved in)
– Motivational letter
(A report describing what research you are interested in making a practical use of)

*Your application documents will be shared at PFN internally
but only for the purpose of our review

After passing through application selection, an interview with our researchers and engineers will be arranged.

Working terms & conditions

Working location:
Full-time employees are to work from head quarter office. Contractors can also work from remote locations.

Welfare:
Various social insurance programs: Pension insurance, health insurance, employment insurance, workers’ compensation
Vacation: Refresh vacation (once a year), maternity leave, parental leave, congratulation or condolence leave
Regular health checks

Compensations:
Experience, performance, skills, contribution are taken under consideration.
Transportation expenses
Periodic assessment (2-3 times a year)
Probation period: 3 months (Salary during probation period is discussed separately)
In addition to basic salary, bonuses are paid based on company performance and individual contribution. (Twice a year: Feb/Aug)
Subsidies for purchase of Note PC, Desktop PC, PC parts, etc.

Work system:
Five-day work week (Saturdays and Sundays off), public holidays, New Year’s holiday vacation
8 hours working day, and 1 hour break
Annual paid leave based on company regulations

Engineer

An engineer will mainly be

– Applying research findings to Software/Hardware Products and Services.
– Testing and enhancing the quality of Software/Hardware Products and Services.
– At times, become a researcher and work on creating new technology.

Similar to researchers, engineers will be actively communicating with customers and partners, not only to be involved in planting the technology seeds, but also to accurately grasp market needs.

Job qualifications & requirements

There is a wide range of skills that are required from an engineer. But in order to continuously deliver strong results, it is very important that engineers are both very skilled as individuals, and also have the ability to reach and collaborate with researchers and other engineers for even higher team performance.
In addition, we look for the following criteria in engineers:

– Have excellent programing/hardware skills (Having external/public recognition is a must)
– High ability to quickly acquire new skills
– Very committed to the perfection and high quality of Software/Hardware product.

Software Engineer

– University Degree in information technology, or equivalent knowhow and experience
(Master, or PhD in computer science are very welcome)
– Sufficient programing skills in C, C++ , Ruby, Python, Go, Java, Scala, Lua, CUDA, JavaScript
(Knowledge in other programing languages is welcome)
– Software development skills on Unix/Linux or Windows environments.

Hardware Engineer

– University Degree in mechanical engineering, or equivalent knowhow and experience
(Master, or PhD in computer science are very welcome)
– CAD, circuit design, hardware architecture
(Knowledge in other hardware and control is welcome)
– Encourage each other with software researcher and developers, and take advantage of the strengths of each other

Autonomous Driving Engineer (Perception)

Responsibilities
– Design and implement computer vision and deep learning algorithms for autonomous driving
– Research on the topics

Minimum Qualifications
– Experience with at least one of the following topics: object detection, multiple object tracking, semantic segmentation, visual SLAM, or visual odometry
– Experience with deep learning
– Comfortable with Python and C++
– Ability to communicate in either English or Japanese (it’s ok if you don’t speak both)

Autonomous Driving Engineer (Planner development)

Responsibilities
– Design and implement motion planning algorithms and low level control for autonomous driving
– Research on the topics

Minimum Qualifications
– Experience with at least one of the following topics: mobile robots, low level control of vehicles, motion planning algorithms, machine learning for motion planners, probabilistic modeling with uncertainty, traffic modeling from naturalistic driving data, etc.
– Experience with Python or C++
– Ability to communicate in either English or Japanese (it’s ok if you don’t speak both)

Preferred Qualifications
– Experience with Python and C++
– Experience with Matlab/Simulink

Autonomous Driving Engineer (Simulator Development)

Responsibilities
– Develop and maintain MILS/SILS (Model/Software In the Loop Simulation) environment and tools for planner development

Minimum Qualifications
– Experience with developing MILS/SILS environment
– Experience with system development on Linux/Windows
– Experience with C++ software development
– Experience with Matlab/Simulink
– Ability to communicate in either English or Japanese (it’s ok if you don’t speak both)

Preferred Qualifications
– Experience with Python

FPGA/ASIC Engineer

Responsibilities
– Work with the architects to implement algorithms as RTL code
– Develop and maintain FPGA prototyping hardware, RTL, FW
– Perform FPGA/ASIC Synthesis, Timing closure
– Perform FPGA/ASIC lab bring-up and debug
– Assist with Algorithm analysis, verification and improvement
– Contribute to ASIC digital architecture, design and verification

Minimum Qualifications
– 5+ years of experience as an FPGA/ASIC Design Engineer
– Experience in FPGA/ASIC board design and board bring-up
– Experience in RTL coding and synthesis
– Experience in lab bring-up and debug
– Ability to communicate in either English or Japanese (it’s ok if you don’t speak both)
– BS EE/CS or equivalent experience in relevant areas
– Lab instrument experience. Logic Analyzer, Scopes, meters, etc.

How to apply & Hiring process

We hire engineers throughout the year. In order to apply for an engineer position please send the following application documents to hr-pfn@preferred.jp

– Resume
– Evidence of development results
(You can send publications you have been involved with, products you developed, presentation material, results of programing contests, blog or homepage address, etc)
– Motivational letter

*Your application documents will be shared at PFN internally
but only for the purpose of our review

After passing through application selection, an interview with our researchers and engineers will be arranged.
After passing the interview, terms and conditions are discussed before an offer letter is notified.

Working terms & conditions

Working location:
Full-time employees are to work from head quarter office. Contractors can also work from remote locations.

Welfare:
Various social insurance programs: Pension insurance, health insurance, employment insurance, workers’ compensation
Vacation: Refresh vacation (once a year), maternity leave, parental leave, congratulation or condolence leave
Regular health checks

Compensations:
Experience, performance, skills, contribution are taken under consideration.
Transportation expenses
Periodic assessment (2-3 times a year)
Probation period: 3 months (Salary during probation period is discussed separately)
In addition to basic salary, bonuses are paid based on company performance and individual contribution. (Twice a year: Feb/Aug)
Subsidies for purchase of Note PC, Desktop PC, PC parts, etc.

Work system:
Five-day work week (Saturdays and Sundays off), public holidays, New Year’s holiday vacation
8 hours working day, and 1 hour break
Annual paid leave based on company regulations