Today we want to introduce you to Mitsutaka Shiraishi, an FPGA engineer here at Hacarus with a long career in embedded systems. With experience in developing firmware, he’s now moving towards hardware as a member of the Hacarus Edge AI team. We want to delve into what he’s been working on at Hacarus, what he aims to do from here on out, and how he got here. We went out for lunch at a scenic Kyoto Obanzai restaurant, called Kyoto Koto Koto, to learn more about Mitsutaka.
Kyoto Koto Koto is one of many restaurants in Kyoto that serves a Kyoto-native meal known as obanzai. Essentially, obanzai is a dish with Kyoto-produced, seasonal vegetables. During lunch hours at Kyoto Koto Koto, you could have an all-you-can-eat obanzai buffet. Dishes like tamago-yaki (Japanese rolled omelet), tofu (bean curd), different kinds of tsukemono (pickles), satsuma-age (fried fish cakes), even karinto! (deep-fried Japanese snack made of flour and brown sugar)- just to name a few.
If you’d like to visit the restaurants yourself, please see further information regarding the restaurant at the end of our interview!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Mitsutaka Shiraishi. I was born and raised in Ehime, which is on the north side of Shikoku. I am 30 years old. I lived in Ehime up until high school and after graduating, I went to Tsukuba University in Ibaraki Prefecture. I studied there for 7 years and got my master’s and then continued on to my Ph.D. But because of family reasons, I had to stop pursuing a Ph.D. before joining, a large company in Nagoya for a few years. You might know of it.
Yes I do! It’s a huge company.
Yup. There, I was in charge of firmware engineering of embedded devices.
Could you tell us what it was like making that transition from working at your previous company to working here at Hacarus?
At my old company, I was solely focused on Firmware development – at Hacarus I am given the opportunity to do so much more! Now I have many new assignments to work on; which is why I study both AI and FPGA, it’s really interesting.
In terms of how you feel about work, do you feel something changed for you? Do you find the work to be more difficult?
I could say it might be a bit more challenging, but after I joined Hacarus, one of the first things I noticed was that things were much more efficient than in my previous job. It was my first time using a cloud service or communication tools like Slack or Backlog.
Is FPGA something you enjoy? Following that question, what are you working on right now at Hacarus?
Yes! Now our main job is to work on a project with NEDO that will span two years – we are bringing Hacarus Sparse Modeling based technology to the Edge using FPGA – it’s hard but fun work!
Between your previous company and Hacarus, you must feel a lot of differences- is that actually the case?
Yes, I do indeed feel a few differences but mainly, it must be how I’ve gone from passively working to now actively working. In my old company, my work was just from my boss. But now, I get to and have to decide for myself. Of course, I do work on tasks from my boss, but overall, I get to decide what to implement.
Choosing how your work is done is an important part of your work lifestyle
Do you have a reason why you chose a startup? Or was that why you chose a startup?
I got sick to a point and after I got better I realized I wanted to develop with a company that was dealing with the medical field. I began looking for any medical company but also wanted to use what I had learned in my past experiences in development. So I searched up medical development companies. Big companies had come up as well. But in a big company perhaps my contribution would be limited to a small range. I wanted to implement not only the application but also any device. So I searched not just big companies, but also start-up companies.
When you say your contribution would be limited to a small range, did that mean you wanted to be in a startup?
I didn’t care much whether or not the company I went to was a startup. But I did find myself appreciating the differences.
Looking forward to seeing how that plays out, how it corresponds to customer needs, and what kind of service will be made. What do you think the future holds for Hacarus now?
Hacarus is currently aiming to develop services of the manufacturing and healthcare industries. The edge team is currently mainly dealing with our manufacturing at the moment, but as I’ve stated, my interest is in contributing to the medical field, so in the future, I want to make edge AI services for the medical field a reality.
Last question! Do you have any tips or advice for aspiring engineers?
In these days, various companies try to put AI on Edge Device. Some of them also try to use FPGA like Hacarus, to accelerate AI on Edge device. So I think the Engineer knows both AI / HW will be needed in the future. I also aim to be AI / HW Engineer and realize useful AI Edge devices in the future.
Obanzai Restaurant “Kyoto Koto Koto” Karasuma-Oike Branch
(おばんざいの店 京都ことこと 烏丸御池店)
Kyoto-fu, Kyoto-shi, Nakagyo-ku Ryogaecho (京都府京都市中京区両替町通姉小路下ル柿本町392)
https://k170066.gorp.jp/ or in English