"Everyone here loves intellectual challenges"

Nina Beschoor Plug and Robert Muller got to know each other eight years ago in Delft, where they studied Electrical Engineering. Now they both work at Electronic Defence. Not entirely coincidental.

Robert: "During my studies I came into contact with machine learning and deep learning. I wanted to delve into these subjects, preferably on the verge of theory and application. I got that chance at TNO. On the advice of Nina, who was graduating here, I applied at Electronic Defence."

Nina: "I was working on a model that uses the impedances of an antenna and its control network and other parameters to calculate the optimum matching network for the best possible power transfer. After graduating, I continued to work at the department one day a week. The remaining time I spend on my Master in Micro-Electronics at the TU Delft. For my Master thesis I want to look at other applications of this technique, for example in the field of space technology. Expanding your horizons and developing yourself is really encouraged at TNO."

Playing football against NATO

Robert: "Within TNO, you are given the freedom to draw up your own plan. In fact, independence and self-management are expected of you. I have learned a great deal from this. You discover what works, what doesn't work. And when you get stuck, there are always colleagues who are willing to think along with you. You can learn so much here. From your work and from each other, as well as work from other disciplines."

"That is indeed typical of TNO," says Nina. "Everyone helps each other because everyone here loves puzzles and intellectual challenges. The image I used to have of TNO - grey men behind dusty desks who all work on their own islands - is totally wrong. Everyone here is very open and I have really made friends here. After work, I regularly go running with colleagues in the dunes. During the break we also have weekly bootcamps and play football against the NATO guys further up the road."

Puzzling with parameters

Robert: "Like Nina, I'm working on developing antennas, but for other purposes. Because of the complexity and the number of parameters I apply machine learning techniques, optimisation algorithms to be specific. This gives me the opportunity to further develop my knowledge and perhaps  to also  specialise in this.

Nina: "The great thing about working for Electronic Defence is that it places bizarrely high demands on electronics and antennas in particular. You are constantly puzzling with parameters. And then it may well be that something which seemed impossible is possible."

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