MEET THE GROUNDLIGHT TEAM!

Leo Dirac

FOUNDER, CTO

Leo is really into machine learning, and is passionate about using it to make the world a better place. He’s been a pioneer in applying ML to solve real-world problems for over a decade. In 2012 he started using neural networks, and was one of the first deep learning engineers at Amazon, leading its application to numerous technical and business efforts including visual search, recommender systems, and multiple generations of AWS ML services from Amazon Machine Learning to SageMaker. He founded Groundlight with Avi to build the next generation of machine learning and computer vision to enable the next generation of robotics.

Avi Geiger

FOUNDER, CEO

Avi is in it for the robots. He has a long track record of bringing barely formed ideas from concept to production and doing whatever it takes along the way, leading numerous engineering, manufacturing, and business efforts at Microsoft, Picobrew, and elsewhere. And he’s a serial founder and entrepreneur who’s always looking for new solutions to old problems.

Paulina Varshavskaya

HEAD OF R&D

Paulina has lived and studied in St. Petersburg, Budapest, Vienna, London, Cambridge MA, and Edinburgh before settling in Seattle. She finished her PhD at MIT in distributed robotics, taught at Tufts, and ran the software team at an AI life sciences company identifying rare cells in microscopy images. When not directing the science effort at Groundlight, Paulina is most likely found in the mountains, sometimes alone on an alpine ridge, sometimes with her family in a camper van.

Michael Vogelsong

CHIEF ML ENGINEER

Michael hails from Colorado by way of Amazon, where he built deep learning into search engines, robotics, and health applications. He’s fascinated with the process of learning - understanding how people and computers learn new ideas. Around the office you’ll find him building whatever needs to be done today, whether its reworking the back-end database, or launching our first public API, or telling us he just turned on a fancy new machine learning pipeline last night based on a paper published last week. When he’s not here you’ll find him somewhere outdoors - playing golf, basketball, or working through his Seattle summer bucket list. He completed one Krispy Kreme challenge and will never do that ever again.

Dr. Ted Sandler

HUMAN-IN-THE-LOOP ML

Ted Sandler received his PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering, working on nonlinear dimensionality reduction to train machine learning systems with less human supervision. He later joined Amazon and developed Prime Video's first machine learning recommender systems. While there, he was an early proponent of machine learning, and at Groundlight now, he is excited to make computer vision available to everyone. Ted usually wins the prize for most enthusiastic explanation of fancy math at our weekly journal club. He enjoys hiking around Seattle, and fun fact: growing up in New York, Ted was one of the first kids to attend a taping of Sesame Street!

Tom Faulhaber

SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Tom has worked as an engineer, manager, and consultant and he’s been building innovative software systems at every stop. At AWS, he was the original Principal Engineer leading the development of Amazon Sagemaker, AWS’s platform for ML. He has also built systems for massive geospatial-temporal big data, scientific visualization, video intelligence, ML-driven e-Commerce and cloud-based business intelligence. Tom has also been active in the broader tech community as a speaker, mentor, and contributor to projects such the Clojure programming language. A transplant to Seattle from the Bay Area, Tom can be found hiking or kayaking in the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, but he still obsessively follows the Warriors and 49ers.

Roxanne Oglesby

SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Native to Seattle, Roxanne grew up spending time in the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest. Roxanne left home to attend Harvey Mudd College where she was the president of the prestigious Cheese Club. She also graduated with a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. After spending some time in Spain, Roxanne is returning to Seattle to live beneath Rainier and to feed her ongoing addiction to Molly Moon’s ice cream. She is passionate about software engineering for ML and robotics. In her free time, Roxanne enjoys camping, baking, and listening to music. Ask her about her favorite backpacking spots or her thoughts on Taylor Swift’s latest album.

Sunil Kumar

ML ENGINEER

Sunil had just wrapped up his undergrad at Harvey Mudd when he joined Groundlight. His background in Mathematics and Computer Science led him to equal parts research and development work in NLP & CV. His ability to smoothly navigate the balance of engineering perfection and functional implementation earns him the most emojis on slack, but his gif game is a close second. When not behind a screen clearing wide swaths of the Jira board, he’s out exploring Seattle and looking for new mountains to climb or ski down.

Brandon Wada

SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Brandon graduated Harvey Mudd in chemistry, and tied his love of machine learning and physical sciences together while studying computational chemistry at Stanford. Now, he’s further honing his computer vision skills while working with customers to make Groundlight best suit their needs. His many interests makes him an easy target for nerd sniping, whether it’s regarding books, games, or especially a puzzlehunt.

Blaise Munyampirwa

SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Blaise is an engineer with a very deep interest in building robust and efficient machine learning systems for vision and natural language applications. In addition, he also has a strong interest in mathematics and how this beautiful field can be leveraged to develop machine learning algorithms with provable guarantees. Earlier in life, he was a student at The University of Chicago studying Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and worked as an AI Engineer at a tech startup. In his spare time, Blaise is almost always looking for opportunities to squeeze in a long run in his busy schedule, taking piano lessons, or keeping up with the latest trends in technology and research.

Dr. Amirreza Farnoosh

APPLIED SCIENTIST

Amirreza obtained his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University, specializing in unsupervised machine learning and computer vision. His research has encompassed a wide array of topics, ranging from dynamical analysis of sequential data to 3D scene understanding. He has particularly excelled in harnessing deep generative models and variational inference techniques for these specific endeavors.

Tyler Romero

ML ENGINEER

Tyler is a seasoned ML Engineer and Scientist who received his Master’s from Stanford and worked at Microsoft and Twitter before coming to Groundlight. While at Twitter, he conceived and shipped significant ML modeling improvements to both the Home Timeline and Conversation Ranking algorithms. Earlier in life, Tyler had ambitions of becoming a mechanical engineer, and so he spent a lot of time fabricating robots and go-karts with his friends - and he still maintains an affinity for building things in the physical world. He grew up in St. Louis and lived in many parts of the US (including Michigan, Texas, NYC, and the Bay Area) prior to settling in Seattle. On the side, Tyler enjoys playing soccer, cooking/baking, making origami, keeping up with the latest ML research, and exploring the beautiful PNW.

Sharmila Reddy Nangi

ML SCIENTIST

Sharmila is a recent graduate from Stanford University with a Masters in Computer Science, specializing in Artificial Intelligence. She is excited about the application of technology to solve real world problems. She got interested in Machine learning during her Bachelors in IIT Kharagpur, India. Her current research interests include NLP, Deep Learning and Knowledge Graphs. Hailing from Hyderabad, she loves her Dum Biryani! Outside of work, she enjoys listening to music, yoga, painting, sports and exploring new places. She is excited to make new friends and explore the beauty of the PNW.

Jared Randall

DESIGN

Jared is an east coast transplant to the PNW, with roots in rural Vermont. He spent a few years in the tiny state of Rhode Island to get a design degree and then headed West, where he helped build a consultancy working on Scientific, Consumer, Industrial, and Medical product development. He's excited to help bring some very fresh advances in computer vision to a broad set of users. He refuses to be pinned down on what his favorite color is, and has a woodworking hobby that leaves absolutely no room for cars in his garage.

Corey Wood

INTERN

Corey grew up in the Seattle area where he knows the summers are pretty good so he came back from Brown University to join Groundlight as an intern. At Brown, he studies computer science, and is passionate about machine learning and language processing. He also enjoys reading - he’s read almost all of Franz Kafka’s written work and collects Agatha Christie mystery novels. In his free time you might find him throwing a frisbee, playing pool, trying out a new board game, or singing along to indie folk music in the car.

Tim Huff

SOFTWARE ENGINEER

Tim is originally from Austin, but relocated to Seattle to get involved in the tech startup scene. More recently, Tim has been pursuing two masters degrees in robotics and technology innovation from UW and Tsinghua University. Tim is fluent in Chinese, which has helped him in his studies at Tsinghua. Tim’s research at Tsinghua uses computer vision to detect defects in automotive glass. At UW, he got hands-on experience with robots including a mobile picking robot called Fetch. Tim’s team programmed Fetch to autonomously navigate around a makerspace and retrieve tools. In his free time, he enjoys cycling around Lake Washington and tinkering with radio-controlled planes. Tim is excited to bring his experience to Groundlight to develop industrial applications with the Groundlight API.

Jeffrey Tappen

INTERN

Jeffrey grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so he is no stranger to Seattle where he is currently a student at the University of Washington. His primary areas of study are statistics and computer science, and his main interests are machine learning and data analysis. He has been a maker, hacker and tinkerer his whole life, so if you can convince him step away from his work for long enough to tell you what he's up to, you're bound to learn a thing or two.

Max McKelvey

INTERN

Max is a Seattle native with a passion for Computer Science and Engineering. Currently studying machine learning and computer architecture with a background in robotics and embedded development, Max has an insatiable curiosity for all things technical. He is an avid cyclist and adventurous cook. He’s also a proud member of the UW Husky Marching Band with an uncanny knack for showing up on the stadium jumbotron.

WE'RE HIRING

If you want to join us, click here to learn more about working at Groundlight.

Open Positions