Today, we would like to hear from Subas, our ML engineer who has a great research experience in machine learning. He has a passion for AI, saying that he hopes to see the product that he is developing help the society in the future.
Profile: Subas Chhatkuli
Chhatkuli has published 9 peer-reviewed journals and 25 proceedings papers in the field of computer science. Born in Nepal, he moved to Japan in 2002. He started his life in Japan by studying for his master’s degree in the field of numerical simulation at Ehime University. Five years later, upon receiving his doctorate, he began his work as a researcher at the University of Tokyo in the field of biomedical engineering. He went on to work at the research and development center at PASCO corporation, mainly in the algorithm development in the field of image processing, GIS, remote sensing, signal processing, 3D data analysis and laser data analysis, utilizing various machine learning techniques including deep learning. There, he developed an interest in providing solutions to day to day problems with deep learning, ultimately leading him to start working at ExaWizards as an AI engineer in 2018.
A Strong Interest towards Deep Learning
What did you do before starting your career at ExaWizards?
After completing PhD, I was hired as a researcher at the University of Tokyo. There, I was working on 3D motion simulation of lung tumor from CT scan data.Then, I was offered a job at the Research and Development center of PASCO Corporation and worked for little more than 8 years. I mostly worked on algorithm development in the field of image processing, GIS, remote sensing, signal processing, 3D data analysis, laser data analysis, utilizing various machine learning techniques including deep learning. There I realized I wanted to do more with deep learning to solve day to day problems, so now I am here at ExaWizards.
Why did you get interested in deep learning?
During these past 12 years after completing my PhD, I received several opportunities to work in various fields to solve different problems utilizing different technologies. I worked on numerical simulation for prediction, as well as other machine language technologies to extract information through generating hand-engineered feature data. Yet there is a limit to what you can achieve using these technologies. Let’s say you wanted to extract bridges from images. You will start by generating a feature data to extract bridges from images. Then your next task would be to find trees from the same image. You will need to start from scratch to generate different types of feature data. It’s extremely time consuming, requires a lot of expertise to configure a rule set, and it still will be hard to achieve higher accuracy.
But with deep learning, it is literally paradigm shifting. In deep learning, we are not programming how the algorithm should work. We are feeding the data to the algorithm and the algorithm will figure it out by itself. It is so fascinating to see how deep learning works. It is one of the most promising technologies I have ever worked with. Deep learning has opened the door to an infinite number of possibilities. There is so much more you can do with deep learning which was impossible when utilizing solely traditional machine learning.
Often, he checks a book to refresh his knowledge.
Exciting Part of the Life at ExaWizards
What motivated you to start working at ExaWizards?
I had a very strong desire to work more closely with deep learning. I also wanted to try a wider variety of things, that is I did not want to concentrate on similar projects or product development . Compared to other startups, at ExaWizards there are a lot of things we can do; starting from its application in the medical field to smart city. So we can work on various projects here.
Moreover, I was really impressed by the vision of CEO Ishiyama San. The knowledge he has about deep learning and how we can utilize this technology to solve the social issues is amazing. He really knows what he is doing. He has the kind of vision you really want to see in your leader and so you can trust him. I do not remember everything what we discussed then but what I remember is during the conversation with him, I decided in a split second, "I want to work with guy".
What are you involved with after joining ExaWizards?
In the past 9 months, I have already been assigned to 3 different projects! Two of them were related to image processing and the other one that I am leading right now is developing a prediction model from sensors data. So mostly I am involved in AI solution development, based on clients’ need. Sometimes, I explain to our potential clients about what we can do with AI and how AI can help them in solving their problems, supporting our business development team.
How do you feel about your life at ExaWizards?
Working at ExaWizards is always very exciting. I am doing what I have always wanted to do. Engineers are allowed to choose the projects they want to get involved in, so we have full flexibility on how we work. Moreover, everyone around me is extremely motivated, and I always get inspired by having a discussion with my colleagues. As our business is growing rapidly, everything is changing very fast. I am fully enjoying this fast-paced environment.
Of course, I sometimes get stuck on a project. It is natural that a project does not proceed, as we planned, because we are developing a product that nobody has ever done before. In those times, I like to relax, cool down a little bit and try to work on solving the problems again.
His attitude motivates other employees.
What he wants to achieve through AI
Do you find any connections between what you want to achieve through your career and our corporate mission?
I can find a strong connection. I am motivated toward my job, because the product I am developing right now will ultimately help society. Especially, AI has "great possibility". Our corporate mission is “ExaWizards solve social issues using AI and creates a happy society.” The goal that our business and myself have is overlapping with each other.
What do you mean by “great possibility”?
According to a recent research released by MIT, their deep learning based algorithm can predict the chances of having breast cancer or Alzheimer’s disease years ahead. The information extracted from brain MRI could predict with confidence the risk of having the diseases in next 5 years. Isn't that fascinating? Prediction itself is not a new thing but the accuracy of the prediction is just awesome.
What are you involved in at ExaWizards, utilizing the power of AI?
ExaWizards gives me a plenty of opportunities to get involved in the AI-related projects, which is very exciting for me. Regarding my own work, I am currently working on predicting the level risk of having a traffic accident.
More precisely, the goal of the project is to predict the risk of an accident on a particular section of highway a few hours prior so that we can lower the number of accidents. I am developing an algorithm to predict the risk by analyzing the traffic data set. Once the project is successfully completed, we will be able to provide the information to the drivers about the elevated risk of a traffic accident on that particular section beforehand in real time. This information makes the drivers aware about the risk and hopefully encourages them to be more careful while driving or avoid driving at that time of the day. This will ultimately help to reduce the number of accidents.This is one of the social issues that we are trying to solve here, utilizing deep learning.
Could you give a short message to those who are interested in working at ExaWizards?
My philosophy is if you do not enjoy what you are doing or if you have no passion for it, don’t do it. When you are working on some projects as an engineer just because it's your job, you are not going to achieve good results. Life is too short to waste your time on something that you do not like. I want to be always passionate about my job and work with someone that is passionate about their own job.
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