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Working at ALICE Technologies - Build an AI-powered Construction Simulation Platform using Scala

Mihaela Popa 28 September, 2021 | 4 min read

ALICE Technologies is the world's first AI-powered construction simulation platform. Founded in 2015 based on research from Stanford University, ALICE leverages artificial intelligence to analyze a project's complex building requirements, generate highly efficient building schedules, and tune those schedules as needed during construction.

ALICE enables contractors and owners to plan, bid, and build more effectively, reducing construction times and labor costs by $30 million for a typical $500 million construction project.

The company works with construction leaders in the infrastructure and commercial construction segments, such as Parsons, HDCC, and Kajima Corporation.

ALICE Technologies is backed by the top venture capital firms in Construction Technology. They currently have offices in the United States, The Czech Republic and India.

Their vision is to help reduce the cost of construction by 25% globally. A bold goal which they're trying to achieve with the help of their platform, built using Scala.

We spoke with Jeff Gonzalez, VP of Engineering and Brandon Keown, Lead Software Architect and asked them a few questions about ALICE Technologies’ product, tech stack, dev team, culture and interview process. Keep on reading to find out more!

What do you do at ALICE Technologies?

Alice Technologies is a generative construction tool that helps companies both plan and execute their construction projects by using the power of artificial intelligence to reduce errors in scheduling and to reschedule on the fly in the face of changing realities respectively.

For an overview of how our platform works you can watch this video:

ALICE Platform overview

Our product allows companies to:

1. Simulate multiple construction strategies in minutes

They can explore multiple construction options to help reduce their costs and build faster by optimizing key project resources like labor, equipment, and materials.

2. Digitize construction methods

ALICE Recipes contain the construction tasks that guide companies’ project plans. They can use them to digitize the company's unique methods and transfer key learnings from project to project.

3. Bid with confidence

ALICE allows companies to model all major contingencies, assess the constructability of their bid schedule and reduce their risk.

What tech stack are you using?

Web Application layers are written in Scala, Functional Javascript, and Purescript. Data layers are PostgreSQL and MongoDB. Front end is both Angular js and React js, in JavaScript. Infrastructure support is provided by Docker, Nomad, Terraform and Packer, hosted in AWS.

Check out the open roles at ALICE Technologies now!

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What’s the team currently working on? What tech challenges have you recently encountered?

The team is continuing to polish our construction execution support offering (known as ALICE Manage). Our primary technical challenges currently are improving the knowledge encoding/representation of the system to provide better reusable value to the market, and unwinding some of the suboptimal architectural conditions laid down in the past.

ALICE dynamic recipes.png

How would you describe ALICE Technologies’ culture?

Specifically, ALICE Technologies’ engineering culture is defined by the 4 values Advance, Craft, Engage, and Support (ACES). These equate to (A) seeking to always improve the system with the best industry options, (C) seeking to always improve ourselves and our abilities with learning, (E) keeping an open ear to the rest of the business and the customer, and (S) ensuring that the other members of our team have the tools and knowledge to do their best work respectively.

We believe in building a culture that makes people feel like a part of something bigger than a company - a group of inventors, innovators, and last but not least, friends.

ALICE is a place where our team members do innovative work that will shape the future of construction, develop their skills and careers, and build relationships and memories with each other. We place a high value on both team cohesion and cross team collaboration. ALICE has regular team and company organized events, including biannual company-wide gatherings which bring teammates together from around the world.

How would you describe the dev team at ALICE Technologies?

The development team is currently a unified team distributed across two continents: the US and EU. Our team exists in Silicon Valley, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Florida in addition to a nucleus in Prague, Czechia. We have a mixture of skills from junior through 20 years of industry experience.

What’s the interview process like at ALICE Technologies?

Our current interview process varies slightly by geography due to some operational considerations, but largely it looks like as follows:

  • Phone screen with VP of Engineering
  • Small take home code problem
  • Code review meetingThis meeting is offered to anyone who completes (ii) so that we honor the time spent by the candidate
  • (Optional) Architectural Seniority ScreeningOnly used in interview processes involving architect level candidates
  • (Optional) Ancillary topical interviewThis is a slot for any particular thing that might happen, but this interview rarely happens.
  • Behavioral Interview with VP
  • Offer Stage

And finally, why should someone work at ALICE Technologies?

Some of reasons to work at ALICE Technologies are:

  • Cutting edge technologies (AI, functional programming) and processes (kanban) that are dev-centric,
  • Competitive compensation and employee benefits,
  • Small team (you get to have a big influence),
  • Growth opportunities (work with experienced leadership).

Here’s what Melvin Low, who’s a member of the Engineering team since 2014 had to say about working for ALICE Technologies:

I’ve had the great fortune of working for ALICE ever since the early startup days. It’s been an incredible experience from the very start. My colleagues are some of the most intelligent and empathetic people I have ever met, and it’s super exciting working on a product with tangible real-world impact. Even though it’s been so long, I can’t imagine myself working anywhere else!

If you're excited about working on a product with tangible real-world impact using FP then you should definitely check out the open roles at ALICE!

Author's avatar
Mihaela Popa
Community Manager at WorksHub

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