Engineering Spotlight: PathAI
Pathology is one of the more complicated forms of medicine and PathAI is looking to give it a much-needed technology boost. Their platform utilizes machine learning to make the diagnosis process more streamlined and effective.
We connected with the company’s engineering team to learn how their software works and how it affects people’s lives. They also went into detail on what the culture is like within the engineering team.
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Quick Hit Details
Year Founded: 2016
Number of employees: 45
Number of engineers: 25
- Industry: Health Tech
Can you share a summary on what PathAI does?
We develop, scale, and deploy advanced computer vision toward a faster, more accurate diagnosis of disease by bringing the work pathologists to do into the 21st century. We’re forging a path toward personalized medicine and helping to understand the factors that drive illness today so we can better fight it tomorrow.
What type of impact does your technology have regarding improving people’s lives?
This is the most amazing part of working at PathAI. We can legitimately claim a role in fighting cancer and other serious diseases that impact millions of people around the world. We’re already changing the way therapies are developed and how researchers think about the conditions they study, and each year the opportunity for impact grows with the team.
What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?
We build state-of-the-art computer vision models using both homemade tools and the usual suspects – Keras and TensorFlow. We’ve automated and scaled this process end-to-end using orchestration tools like Kubernetes, and provide a rich interface to our customers using Python, Django, and Flask. On the front-end, we have a modern and modular Vue.js framework with a well-developed pattern library to make interface engineering powerful and reliable. We have amazing tools throughout to ensure reliability, scale, privacy, security, and engineering sanity.
What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?
The shape of our data and work is pretty unique. Unlike consumer tech, where you’re scaling to millions and billions of small requests, we deal with many thousands of multi-gigabyte images, not to mention a ton of metadata. Each one represents a real person and a life that we have the opportunity to impact through our work, and it’s a responsibility we take seriously.
Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities? For example - skunk work projects, open source projects?
Everyone at PathAI tries to work on the things that have the highest impact toward our vision. Sometimes that’s making the donuts, but other times it’s experimenting with new tools and frameworks, revamping an internal process for the better, or even designing some t-shirts for the team. We have a Tech Talks series on Thursdays that folks here use to show-and-tell some of this kind of work.
What is the culture like at PathAI for the engineering team?
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, and teams collaborate to set the direction for the work we all do as well as the goals we have. It’s a nice balance – you always have a team of really nice people to bounce ideas off, but the opportunity to forge an essential path for the company.
What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?
One thing that’s really cool about our process is the presentation. Every candidate, regardless of role, presents for about thirty minutes about themselves and their interests, and then about a thorny challenge they’ve dealt with in their career. It’s an awesome way to get to know the team and eliminate the whole resume-overview part of the one-on-ones.
Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?
Django Boston, Boston Python, Boston DevOps, and Refresh Boston.
Rapid Fire Q&A
Doogie Howser M.D. or Dr. Gregory House M.D.?
Starburst or Skittles?
What’s on tap?
George Howell iced coffee, kombucha, green tea, seltzer
Favorite employee perk?
Fridays! We do a free catered lunch for the whole company, plus the “PathAI Beer Drinking Spectacular” begins at 5 PM
What movie describes the engineering team’s culture?
The Wizard of Oz – people from many walks of life coming together to use their unique attributes to discover heretofore unknown truths and overcome the prevailing ignorance.
What music is playing in your office?
Whatever we hear when Ben’s headphones get unplugged.
View from your office:
Cleanest desk / Messiest desk:
Mariel Bartolome, Platform Engineer
Aditya Dhoot, Application Engineer