Faces on Campus – Yan Luo

Faces on Campus – Yan Luo

Each year, the Concur headquarters in Bellevue opens its doors to more than 100 interns who are part of SAP’s global Internship Experience Project (also known as SAP iXp). Throughout the course of the program, interns are encouraged to help develop some of the latest technologies. This summer, one of Northeastern University–Seattle’s students has made waves at Concur. Yan Luo was awarded the SAP internship award in his category earlier this month. Yan worked on a unique and interesting project where he developed a pipeline for processing receipt images and training convolutional neural networks to extract language information from the receipts. His project generated a lot of interest and his work will be carried forward by the company. We caught up with Yan to find out more about his experience at Concur. 

Hi, Yan! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am currently enrolled in the Masters of Computer Science program here at Northeastern University-Seattle. I came to the United States from China with a bachelor’s degree and I am still very interested in and enthusiastic about computer science. I particularly enjoy studying machine learning and data science. I came to the Seattle campus in September 2016. I feel like I am at the right place for me. 

What influenced your decision to study at Northeastern University-Seattle?
I was admitted to several schools last year, but I ultimately decided to study at Northeastern University-Seattle. A friend who studied here told me a lot about the career services available to students at the Seattle campus, so I figured I would benefit a lot. Now, I believe I made the right choice! I also really love the city of Seattle, even when it’s raining. 

You were one of the recipients of the SAP internship awards recently. Tell us a little more about this experience.
I worked as a data science intern at Concur, an SAP company, this summer. One of Concur’s most successful products is Expense It, which allows a customer to get useful information from a receipt (date, amount, vendor, etc.) simply by sending a photo of the receipt to us.
I developed a language detector that identified the language of a receipt using its image. By identifying the language beforehand, downstream analysis can be much more accurate. Increased accuracy means we can process more images automatically, which leads to better user experience and more room for the growth of the business.
I must thank my wonderful teammates, especially my mentor, for my success.
I tried my best to tell a good story in my final presentation to make it more interesting, and fortunately, I did a good job in front of the company’s executives. I was quite happy, since I could make a difference using the most advanced machine learning technique. 

What are the next steps for you?
I am going to start another internship, at Facebook this fall. After graduation, I am hoping to get a position related to data science in the IT industry. My experiences at the Seattle campus have given me a head start on reaching my goals. 

Do you have any advice for new students at Northeastern University-Seattle?
As a student at the Seattle campus, one has many chances to have a perfect start to their career. It is always better to start early and be prepared for the many opportunities that the future will bring. And lastly, go Huskies!

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