Chanuki Illushka Seresinhe, Lead Data Scientist

Chanuki has joined Popsa to build a team that will keep making the Popsa experience easier, through AI and machine learning.

How would you describe what you do at Popsa?

I am here to lead, manage and grow the Data Science team at Popsa

Some of the tasks our team undertakes are:
Curating our users’ unorganised photos into photo book suggestions
Optimising models and algorithms to run directly on users’ devices, prioritising data privacy above all else
Creating intelligent algorithms that make using Popsa a pleasure to use

What does your typical working day look like?

I joke with my friends that I get to play with neural networks all day, but that isn’t actually far from the truth! One of the things we need to do is find a way to automatically identify images that customers would want to exclude from their photobooks such as those that are blurry or that will appear too dark in print. As neural networks are amazing at computer vision tasks, we heavily depend on them for these types of computer vision tasks.

What's your favourite thing about Popsa?

I really love the people here. It is an open environment and everyone here is so friendly that I look forward to coming into work every day.

What are you most excited about in Popsa’s journey?

We have some very challenging goals in the data science team, and ideally we want to get to a place where a lot of the time consuming tasks required to create a photobook, such as trawling through an entire photo library to figure out a photobook you might want to print, is completely taken care of by an algorithm. However, at the same time, it is really important to ensure that people still feel ownership of the product, so we have to make sure we strike the right balance between automation vs. allowing users to have as much input as they would like in their photobooks. This is a challenging problem and I love challenging problems.

What do you like to do outside of work

I love visiting and travelling to beautiful places. If you look up my research you will understand why!

What’s your favourite food spot around the Popsa Soho office?

Since I am mostly vegetarian, I do love the wide variety of veggie food at Tidbits buffet.

What is your favourite part of your job?

A great deal of my job involves creative thinking, as the problems I’m faced with are quite hard to solve. For example, we have to figure out how we can inject algorithms seamlessly into a user’s journey without anyone noticing at all. This is a lot trickier than you might expect - it’s quite challenging to work out a way to run potentially thousands of images through our algorithms on-device in a matter of seconds. But, this is where the fun starts, trying to figure out, almost like a magician, how to weave in different parts of an algorithm into a user’s journey without the tech getting in the way of the user experience.

Something people don't know about you is…

My shoe obsession. I am not into the classic expensive designer shoes, but rather like to find more unusual and innovative designers. For example, every year when I visit my family in California, I make it a point to pick up a quirky pair of shoes at the John Fluevog store in Los Angeles.