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Latent AI Spotlight: The Intern Edition

by Kimberly Eng | Posted Jul 26, 2022

In many ways startup life revolves around community, both in terms of the friendships that form but also in embracing the larger technological one. Latent AI believes in giving back to the technological community and has supported a growing internship program since our founding. This summer, we have been working closely with seven summer interns eager to join a startup team and apply what they’ve learned in academia to the real world. Our interns range from undergraduate students to PhD candidates who come from across the country and abroad. We recently sat down with each of our interns to talk about their startup experience, why they chose to work at Latent AI, and what they hope to achieve with their various projects.

“Startup is growth from scratch. It comes with enormous learning potential. The best part [of working at a startup] is to be able to contribute to the early stage growth of a company and do work that is more interesting, challenging, state-of-the-art” says Rohit Sahu (Compiling and Embedded Systems), a PhD candidate at Iowa State University. Kevin Golan (Integrated Systems) a graduate student at ETH Zurich comments, “I’ve always thought of working at a startup because working at a startup implies a lot more responsibility. People often take a risk to join a startup; they have more skin in the game and are more engaged.  Every employee has to contribute naturally and the environment will be more dynamic”. Michael Lau (Applications and AI), who is completing his Masters in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University cites how “Latent AI is dynamic in terms of how fast we iterate through different ideas. At a startup, the distance between us building the product to users actually using it is short, but at a larger company there could be a lot of intermediate layers between you and the actual user”. This level of immediacy is a constant motivating force across our team, where everyone is an individual contributor.

All of our interns bring their own knowledge and energy to the table. Yufan Xu (Compiling and Embedded Systems), a fifth year PhD student at the University of Utah describes how he appreciates that Latent AI has bi-weekly Student Talks, which was surprising and something he hadn’t noticed at other companies before. He said that these “can definitely expand our knowledge base and promote good culture in a company”. All of our interns’ areas of expertise have been complementary to developing our tools and product. Yufan states, “I found an exact match between my studies and research with what I’m doing at Latent AI”. He is working on improving the autotuning and the quality of code generated by a Machine Learning compiler.

Interns have also met with our advisors and investors, participated in Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions with our co-founders Sek Chai (CTO) and Jags Kandasamy (CEO), and joined in at Latent AI social events such as our recent company picnic. One of the advantages of being a startup is the ability to enable interactions throughout all levels of our company and to encourage collaborations and mentorship across these channels. Sailesh Rajagopalan (Applications & AI) says, “I’ve been able to work among amazing people in their fields” who not only provide insight on current, published research but also career advice, as our team leadership comprises startup veterans with both strong academic and industry backgrounds.” Furthermore, we strive for transparency across teams in order to develop our technology. Shaurya Gunderia (Software Development) explains, “Everyone knows what’s going on with the product, what’s happening within other teams. You can talk to anyone on any team about what they’re doing. It’s tight knit.”

Latent AI has been lucky to work with such a pool of highly motivated interns this summer who have certainly made impactful contributions in a short amount of time. They worked on a range of interesting topics from optimization of new AI models, distributed learning and inference applications, diagnostic tools for improved usability, and compiler techniques to make the system more efficient. Our interns have been instrumental in developing new capabilities within our existing framework, researching potential avenues to pursue, and streamlining our products.

We look forward to staying in touch with all of them as they advance their careers in academia or industry, and hopefully even here at Latent AI. You may recognize some of these names one day, as some plan to launch their own startups in the future! We believe that it is vital to collaborate with these aspiring scientists and engineers, and more importantly, for them to put their skills and knowledge to practical use. At Latent AI, they get exposure to technical innovations as well as entrepreneurship, which gives them a well balanced leadership experience to bring their career to the next level. As our internship program continues to evolve, we welcome interested candidates to apply for future opportunities at Latent AI.

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