Hired at Facebook After Showcasing Research in Visual Technology at the LDV Vision Summit: An interview with Divyaa Ravichandran

Divyaa Ravichandran, from CMU and she showcased her project “Love & Vision” ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit  

Divyaa Ravichandran, from CMU and she showcased her project “Love & Vision” ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit

The LDV Vision Summit is coming up on May 23 & 24, 2018 in New York. Through March 25 we are collecting applications to the Entrepreneurial Computer Vision Challenge and the Startup Competition.

Divyaa Ravichandran was a finalist in the 2016 Entrepreneurial Computer Vision Challenge (ECVC) at the LDV Vision Summit. Her project, “Love & Vision” used siamese neural networks to predict kinship between pairs of facial images. It was a major success with the judges and the audience. We asked Divyaa some questions on what she has been up to over the past year since her phenomenal performance: 

How have you advanced since the last LDV Vision Summit?
After the Vision Summit I began working as an intern at a startup in the Bay Area, PerceptiMed, where I worked on computer vision methods to identify pills. I specifically worked with implementing feature descriptors and testing their robustness in detection tasks. Since October 2016, I’ve been working at Facebook as a software engineer. 

What are the 2-3 key steps you have taken to achieve that advancement?
a. Stay on the lookout for interesting opportunities, like the LDV Vision Summit
b. ALWAYS stay up-to-date in the tech industry so you know what counts and who's who

What project(s)/work is your focus right now at or outside of Facebook?
Without any specifics, I'm working with neural networks surrounded by some of the brightest minds I have come across as yet, and along with the use of Facebook's resources, the opportunities to improve are boundless.

Divyaa Ravichandran  ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit

Divyaa Ravichandran  ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit

What is your proudest accomplishment over the last year?
Snagging this gig with Facebook was kind of the highlight of my year; working on projects that have the potential to impact and improve so many lives has me pretty psyched!

What was a key challenge you had to overcome to accomplish that? How did you overcome it?
I think visibility was one big point: I wasn't highly visible as a candidate for the Facebook team since I had only just graduated from school and didn't have any compelling publications or such to my name. Fortunately, my attendance at the LDV Vision Summit last year gave me that visibility, and the Facebook team got in touch with me because of that.

Did our LDV Vision Summit help you? If yes, how?
Yeah, it was through LDV that I  came in contact with my current employer at Facebook! I also met some really interesting people from some far-off places, like Norway, for instance. It put into perspective how the field is growing the world-over.

Divyaa Ravichandran  ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit

Divyaa Ravichandran  ©Robert Wright/LDV Vision Summit

What was the most valuable aspect of competing in the ECVC for you?
The fact that the summit puts the guys with the money (the VCs) in touch with the guys with the tech (all the people making Computer Vision pitches) really bridges the gap between two shores that I think would do very well juxtaposed with each other. Personally, it opened my eyes to new ideas that people in the field were looking at and what problems they were trying to tackle, something that I wouldn't have been able to think up myself.

What recommendation(s) would you make to teams submitting their projects to the ECVC?
Stay current, but if you're bringing something entirely new to the table, that would be best! Everybody at ECVC is looking to be blown away (I think) so throwing something totally new and unexpected their way is the best way to get their attention.

What is your favorite Computer Vision blog/website to stay up-to-date on developments in the sector?
I generally read Tombone's CV blog, by Tomasz Malisiewicz*, and follow CV conferences like ECCV, ICML, CVPR to look up the bleeding edge in the industry and this usually gives a fair idea of the biggest problems people are looking to tackle in the current age.

*Editor’s Note: Tomasz Malisiewicz was a speaker at the 2016 Vision Summit

Applications to the 2018 ECVC and the Startup Competition at the LDV Vision Summit are due by March 25, apply now.