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Engineering Spotlight - PathAI

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PathAI's platform provides end-to-end data-driven pathology analysis, resulting in fast, accurate and standardized pathologic diagnoses.

We connected with Christopher DeFlumeriBrian O'HaganMallory Wollerman, and John Burkhardt to get an inside look at the company's technology, various projects, the team's culture, and more.

Quick Hit Details

  • Year Founded: 2016
  • Number of employees: 179 
  • Number of engineers: 80
  • IndustryHealth Tech, AI

Can you share a summary on what PathAI does?

PathAI is a technology company focused on improving patient outcomes using AI powered pathology. We develop AI powered applications across a variety of product areas including Drug Development, Clinical Trials, and Clinical Diagnostics.  Our MLE team builds complex AI models based on deep learning to analyze high resolution images of tissue. Our Product Engineering team then builds high performance web applications to deploy, schedule, execute, and inspect the results of these models on our browser-based slide viewer, a really neat digital microscope! 

What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?

We are a Python shop, since utilizing a common language allows us to easily bridge conceptual gaps between our MLE and Product Engineering teams. Our applications leverage the Django web framework and Postgres on the backend, and our web clients are built with Vue.js.   Our company has a hybrid cloud architecture, with applications running in AWS, but model development takes place in a high-performance compute cluster we’ve built ourselves.  That cluster has over 500 Nvidia GPU nodes running on Kubernetes, it’s pretty awesome! 

What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?

Our engineering team is tackling some really interesting projects to serve both the short and long-term needs of the product team.  As a growing startup, we are executing on initiatives to build infrastructure to encourage more effective collaboration and effective development.  We’re currently resourcing a platform modularization initiative that will help us build web applications more quickly and effectively.  We’re also looking at moving to a new base environment for running our application in AWS that will provide lower cost and greater flexibility for model execution and deployment.

Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities? 

Engineers at PathAI are encouraged to suggest and advocate for innovative product and engineering ideas they might have!  We are a startup, and we haven’t figured everything out yet, and everyone’s opinion is valuable.  Sometimes this takes the form of a SPIKE an engineer proposes to solve a technical debt or performance problem, sometimes it takes the form of an idea proposed in one of our various Scrum meetings where we collaborate cross-functionally.  Outside the teams, we have engineering driven guilds for FE and BE-focused discussion, architecture reviews for important new technology or project proposals.  We also have Donuts and Tech talks on Thursdays where engineers and others share interesting technical projects and problems, both work and non-work related!

What is the culture like at PathAI for the engineering team? 

We are all about collaboration and teamwork at PathAI!  It’s awesome to be able to work on a team where you have so much autonomy and influence over the work you do. We’re small enough and doing big enough things that everyone is responsible for some critical pieces of the puzzle.  Our teams collaborate to define our direction, goals, and success criteria so we can all get the job done. 

What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?

After an initial call with our recruiters, every candidate has a technical phone screen with one of our engineers before moving on to our on-site stage. We start every virtual “On Site” with a presentation from the candidate so we can get to know them better. This is typically the interview panel but other engineers from PathAI often join.  The goal is to get to know who they are as a person and why they are interested in PathAI. We then ask them to share a complex or challenging problem they worked on recently. For engineers, this typically means a complex technical problem.  We’re all engineers so architecture diagrams are always a hit with the team and given we have a diverse background plenty of content to explain the domain and the business needs. It’s an awesome way to get to know the team and eliminate the whole resume-overview part of the one-on-ones.  

After the presentation, there are 3 technical sessions covering System Architecture, Algorithms and Data Structures, and coding. The final session focuses on answering the candidate's questions about the company and getting to understand their experience on development teams as well as their career aspirations. 

Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?

Covid has unfortunately made it difficult for us to participate in the tech meetup scene (we were only 3 years old when the pandemic hit!) but we plan to start hosting Vue meetups, Python/Django meetups, Women Who Code meetups and others as time goes on.  Keep an eye out!

Rapid Fire Q&A

Star Wars or Star Trek?  

Star Trek (there is a #star-trek channel)

iPhone or Android?  

iPhone, but we guarantee you that there are team members who disagree who aren’t filling out this survey!

Coffee - Hot or Iced?

Why don’t we have both?

Favorite employee perk?  

When we are in the office, we have a snakologist to help find us all our favorite treats

  • Snack Wall
  • Oreos
  • Bean Crisps

Being able to say you work at an “AI company”

What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture? 

  • Great British Bake Off
  • Star Trek
  • Mythbusters

About the

PathAI is the world’s leading provider of AI-powered technology for the pathology laboratory.

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