Member spotlight | September 3, 2019

Tong Man

Machine Learning Engineer, Paravision.ai

This month we sat down with Tong (Martin) Man, one of the longest tenured Paravision employees in Canada to find out more about what motivates him inside and outside of work.

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About Paravision.ai

Paravision has assembled a world-class team of experts in computer vision and machine learning with the mission of achieving excellence in face recognition technology. This month we sat down with Tong (Martin) Man, one of the longest tenured Paravision employees in Canada to find out more about what motivates him inside and outside of work.


Terminal: You recently completed your Ph.D in Computer Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. I’d love to know more about your decision to leave behind academia in order to join a start-up?

From my perspective, in machine learning and deep learning area, academics and startups are basically solving the same set of problems and trying to answer the same questions, just in different scale and with different motivations. One big difference is that output in academia is counted by the number of published papers while in startups, it is counted in products and benchmark numbers. I prefer the latter.

Terminal: Can you walk us through what it has been like to be the longest tenured Paravision hire in Canada?  

When I first joined Paravision, the machine learning team was comprised of two people; our team lead and myself. In the early days, we worked day and night and built a lot of things from scratch. Over time as talented people continued to join our team, we increased our capacity to build state-of-the-art products. In the early days, many people did not believe that a small team could readily compete with established companies; we proved them wrong! In the lastest NIST face recognition vendor test, we scored first in the world. That’s a huge accomplishment for our team.

Terminal: What is one thing you think the Paravision team does really well and drew you to working with them?

I was drawn to the transparent communication, positive attitude and trust that I believe are hallmarks of the Paravision team.

Terminal: What’s a win you’ve celebrated recently (work related or otherwise) that we can share with the community and can you explain it?

Our team won the first place in the recent NIST Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT) 1:1 test, among 88 companies across the world. FRVT 1:1 is a large scale independent evaluation for face recognition systems realized by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Terminal: What’s it like to work in the Vancouver Terminal Space?

The office location is awesome and everyone is very welcoming and friendly. I also really enjoy the well-stocked snack and beverage area.

Terminal: Why did you choose a startup? What about it do you enjoy?

I enjoy being part of a company which is growing fast, solving challenges everyday and has the ambition to change the world.

Terminal: What do you like to do when you aren’t at work?

I enjoy playing Mario Kart and exploring new restaurants and coffee shops with my wife and friends.

Terminal: What’s one thing you can’t do but really wish you could?

Acting in Quentin Tarantino’s movies.

Terminal: Hypothetically, if you couldn’t work in tech and money weren’t an object, what’s another business you would launch?

I would like to be a chef.

Terminal: What is the show you last binge watched on Netflix and what drew you to it?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I like everyone in that show and would highly recommend it!

Terminal: Who would you most like to swap places with for a day and why?

My grandparents’ care worker. I’d love spending one more day with them.

Terminal: What is one thing you are looking forward to doing this summer?

Visiting Paris.

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