Breakthrough Energy Ventures Portfolio Company Career Opportunities

Senior Decision Scientist

KoBold Metals

KoBold Metals

Posted on Thursday, August 3, 2023

KoBold Metals is a mineral exploration company using AI to explore for the metals we need for our transition to a low-carbon economy. KoBolds business is discovering, defining, expanding, and developing mineral resources, and KoBolds objective is to achieve a step-change improvement in exploration success: we aim to discover more tier 1 resources, faster, and with fewer failures.

KoBold has a global portfolio of more than 50 exploration properties targeting nickel, copper, cobalt, and lithium, which range from 100%-owned to partnerships with both majors, junior explorers, and prospectors.

Our team includes the best of the industry in exploration geoscience, data science, software engineering, operations, and business personnel. Prior to joining KoBold, KoBold team members have made nearly 20 discoveries. Our exploration programs are co-led by our geoscientists and data scientists, who develop exploration hypotheses, rigorously quantify uncertainty in our understanding of the subsurface, and design data collection programs that most effectively reduce uncertainty, drawing upon a large suite of proprietary exploration technology built by our data scientists and software engineers. Our field programs validate and improve the system and have demonstrated material improvements over conventional exploration methods

KoBold is privately held and our investors include: institutional asset managers T. Rowe Rice and Canada Pension Plan Investments; technology venture capitalists Andreessen Horowitz, Bill Gatess Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BOND Capital, Standard Investments, and Sam Altmans Apollo Projects; and leading natural resources companies Equinor, Mitsubishi, and BHP.

We are hiring a Senior Decision Scientist to help accelerate our mission.

About the position

In this role, you will work to create intelligent systems to guide mineral exploration decisions. You will develop probabilistic models of subsurface geology that fuse domain expert knowledge and quantitative data from geophysical, geochemical, and other measurements. You will design filters to robustly update models of geological uncertainty with new data. You will build intelligent agents to recommend exploration strategies to optimally reduce uncertainty about prospective targets. You will work with geoscientists to build understanding of the quantitive methods and their recommendations. The systems you implement will be used to accelerate discovery of critical battery metals.

You will join an outstanding team of data scientists and engineers and will work closely with KoBolds world-renowned geoscientists to incorporate our best understanding of the chemical and physical processes that create ore deposits. Working with your geoscience colleagues, you will rigorously define and quantitatively model geological hypotheses, create simulations of exploration programs, and ultimately design field programs to collect new data that will best reduce uncertainty over critical prospect parameters.

Ultimately, your role is to help KoBold make valuable discoveries by quantitatively deciding how to best use exploration time and resources to quickly understand mineral prospects. As one of the early members of this team, you will help build these tools from the ground up.


The Senior Decision Scientist will:

  • Help develop KoBolds proprietary software exploration tools.
  • Collaborate with geoscientists to create quantitative models of geological systems.
  • Create generative models of geological systems for specific prospects using Monte Carlo and other statistical methods.
  • Develop Bayesian filters to rigorously track uncertainty throughout exploration data gathering.
  • Implement intelligent agents using methods such as Monte Carlo tree search and reinforcement learning to guide data-gathering and other exploration activities.
  • Create visualizations to communicate results and build understanding in the exploration team.
  • Present to and collaborate with our external partners and stakeholders.


A great Senior Data Scientist candidate will have:

Technical skills, including extensive experience with:

  • Pythons data science packages and general software engineering practices.
  • Collaborative software development (git), and familiarity with software engineering best practices like unit test / integration test suites, and CICD pipelines.
  • Applied Bayesian statistics including non-parametric models, such as particle filters, Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling, and other methods of statistical inference.
  • PyTorch, Tensorflow, or other deep learning and probabilistic programming modules.
  • Modeling partially observable Markov decision processes and constrained optimization problems.
  • Optimizers for sequential decision problems, including Monte Carlo tree search and reinforcement learning.

Technical knowledge:

  • Broad skills in and knowledge of applied statistics, especially Bayesian statistics.
  • Understanding of classical and deep machine learning algorithms.
  • Knowledge about autonomous system design and high-level intelligent behavior automation.

Training and work experience:

  • An advanced degree in the physical sciences, computer science, mathematics, or engineering. Preference is for academic work with a computational focus.
  • Post-degree work experience as an autonomy or AI engineer or research scientist. KoBold is willing to consider candidates at the Decision Scientist, Senior Decision Scientist, or Staff Decision Scientist levels, with commensurate compensation, however recent bachelors/masters candidates are unlikely to be competitive.

Work practices and motivation:

  • Ability to take ownership and responsibility of large projects.
  • Enjoys constantly learning such that you are driving insights and innovations.
  • Ability to explain technical problems to and collaborate on solutions with domain experts who arent software developers.
  • Excitement about joining a fast-growing early-stage company, comfort with a dynamic work environment, and eagerness to take on a range of responsibilities.
  • Ability to independently prioritize multiple tasks effectively.

It is also helpful, but not required, to have experience with:

  • Geostatistics.
  • Deep generative/probabilistic models.
  • Distributed computing applications for machine learning and other computations
  • Collaborative, multi-agent systems optimization.

KoBold Metals is an equal opportunity workplace and an affirmative action employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunity for people of any race, color, ancestry, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, or veteran status.

The US base salary range for this full-time exempt position is $140,000-$250,000.

Location: KoBold is a remote first workplace, we are open to candidates currently residing anywhere in the United States or Canada. All candidates must be authorized to legally work in either the United States for Canada