Hello!

Hello, I'm Xavier!

Hi there! I'm a Hong Kong based French guy!
I'm a technology enthusiast, working on Data Visualization and Visual Analytics!
I'm a Dual Degree student at the École Centrale Paris and at the
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Cool!

The idea of this landing page is to give you an idea about what I do, how I work and things I care about. This is not really a resume, and if you'd like to know more about anything feel free to drop me an email at xavier.plantaz@gmail.com, I'd love to hear from you! Any feedbacks or if you want to share any cool stuff related, feel free to say hi!

Education

I'm a French guy, born and raised in Chamonix valley in the French Alps. I studied in Lyon for a while (Lycée du Parc) and passed the national exam to join the École Centrale Paris in 2013, where I studied fundamental and applied sciences focusing on innovation with deep societal impacts. In 2015, I got selected to join the Paris Digital Lab thanks to CentraleSupélec digital track, the Digital Tech Year, a one-year digital technology specialization program and went abroad (Boston).

I joined in 2016 the Vislab at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, to study technology trends, Hong Kong startups ecosystem and create spinoffs based on the amazing university results. I'm currently supervised by Professor Huamin Qu and I'm doing my thesis on projects involving Visual Analytics and Computer Vision.

Stuff

Impro

Unscripted theatre is probably the best kind I know. If you never had the opportunity to have a look at something like this, start with Whose Line is it Anyway, this US TV show where the performers are really talented in acting, singing and telling stories. I’m still fascinated by the universe of improv, that come in so many different format and styles. I really like how impro engage people into participating in collaborative creation, the energy it brings and the skills it develops. Back in France, I took part into two troupes, the Lit de Camp (literally meaning La Ligue d’Improvisation Théâtrale de l’École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris) as an actor, teacher, referee and vice president, and in the AIA (Association d'Improvisation Antiboise) in Antibes. In Hong Kong I met and played with the ImproviDou troupe, a bunch of really cool French people rehearsing and having fun with impro exercises. I also like to use impro outside of the context of performing arts, like in classrooms or in businesses to highlight and develop many skills, from communication and creative problem solving to team and personal development.

Impro
Bees

My grandparents are beekeepers and maintaining the family honey bees is really fascinating: we have about 250 hives and make about 4 tons of honey per year. Beekeeping is a science by its own and taught me many things about our ecosystem, our impact as human on society and how it evolved over the past decades.

Bees
Ski

Probably one of my favourite hobbies, sadly not available in Hong Kong that much (except maybe the nautical one). French Alps are a great playground for skiers, and living there was absolutely astonishing. Indeed, I could pick up only the best conditions to go skiing regarding snow condition, weather and mood! As a student in Paris, we ran an organization, called Centrale Piston Ski, getting students to ski resorts with the ambition to make it as fun and accessible for everyone as possible. We usually have around 400 students joining and for many, this is the first opportunity to try and understand what winter sports feel like! I was in charge of First Snow Events, organizing trips, initiations and activities around the best ski resorts openings, leading partners and staff organization through those massive events. To help us, organizers, and to help participants, we created an app to push information around skiing experience, such as notifications about the events, statistics, helping people to understand by a quick look what the conditions are, what’s happening next in the station, where are their friends and have information about their statistics so far. The first version of the app, Android only was deployed on more than 25 percent of the participants and we received great feedbacks, leading to another project aiming to the creation of an iOS version. On the hobby side, we created a 5-person team to participate in 2015 at the GEM Altigliss - Student Ski World Cup and managed to win the Mountain Challenge while having a lot of fun and meeting so many interesting people with a perfect organization.

Ski
Dr Fraud

Dr Fraud is the visualization tool I developed for Amadeus as an intern in Boston and Sophia-Antipolis, part of the Unsupervised Fraud Detection Engine under development. It provides Front-End tools to explore datasets of potentially fraudulent bookings, on top of sophisticated Machine Learning to identify abnormal behaviours and highlight outliers. Key challenges were the amount of transactions operating on Amadeus systems every second, and the architecture to use relevant algorithms. Using these tools, teams were able to identify more than 100 frauds or misuses of the system, leading in most cases to revenue losses or safety concerns.

Dr Fraud
MOOC

Paper under review! More details soon!

MOOC
CNN

Publication under review! More details soon!

CNN
Challenges

I love to take part to complicated challenges, like solving some Project Euler or HackerRank problems, I also loved last year Advent of Code (just like the regular advent calendar but with a coding problem everyday). I tried to solve problems using only the Emoji Analysis methodology that I invented (inspired by South Park of course) where the ideas is to solve in Javascript using only emojis (the picture shows depth-first algorithm on path finding for Day 13). I'm also an aficionados of Hackathons, participating for example in La Poste Week End Challenge in 2016, where we pitched a connected object to disconnect people and ended winning the finale and flying to the CES 2016 in Las Vegas, with SNCF - Usine Digitale on IOT, we finished second with a new smart button for trains, we created an interactive bus stop for HackUST (Hong Kong) in 2017 and an AI powered Mind Palace Explorer called Fragments during the AI Global Hackathon that we are still working on today!

Challenges
Digital Tech Year

I took part in CentraleSupélec one-year digital technology specialization program constiting in one semester of agile prototyping at the Paris Digital Lab Incubator and one semester of international work experience. My first project during the incubator period was with Chronopost (express shipping and delivery services). I developed a Web App to resolve the last kilometer issue, the second one was on building the prototype we pitched at a hackathon and we presented at the CES 2016 and the last one was an interactive terminal for Française des Jeux (operator of France’s national lottery games) now deployed across French points of sale.

Digital Tech Year
Innovation

I got some awards on Innovation, like the 2015 École Centrale Paris Creativity Award for the connected Rubik's Cube project we ran during 6 months, the idea was to imagine, designe and produce innovative puzzles around the universe of the Rubik's Cube. We explored many ideas and it was very eye opening for me to see how to handle a project from A to Z, how to go from invention to innovation. I'm pursuing this entrepreneurial journey today with many of my side projects, always trying to understand what are the best and most meaningful way to generate ideas, bring them to business and let the magic happening.

Innovation
Data Visualization

I'm currently working in a research lab: the VisLab at HKUST with an incredibly energetic team, passionated about our work, understanding deeply the requirements of the academic publications but with a sharp business sense, which is definitively valuable. I think that Data and Visual Analytics deal with broad topics involving almost field. I do believe that data exploration shows directly the value of what Computer Science main goal might be: making easier, faster, and smarter lives. It enables data-driven decision, tooling anyone not only to find patterns but also to explain clearly and easily, without ambiguity, business intelligence and new strategies to be taken for a company or society. I try to include in everything I do tools to enhance cognitive processes, either with simplistic, straight to the point UI and a user-driven data visualisation approach. On Data Science especially, I like to create tools to visually explain things in the simplest manner possible. Like those visuals to explain fundamentals of Neural Networks or this one to explore AlexNet data. I also love building small things like this Pie Chart Sucks project, stating that the pie chart is easily the worst way to convey information ever developed in the history of data visualization, and tooling the end user with an automatic online conversion tool to translate them into a more readable bar chart!

Data Visualization

Data Visualization
Video and Photography

From writing, creating and training for Centrale’s student television to my own side projects, I really enjoy creating visual content from different supports. Sometimes actor, sometimes editor, I love to take part in every aspect of creation and production of innovative content.

Video
Retailr

We are still developing in Hong Kong the most advanced platform to understand customers’ journeys, providing state-of-the-art Computer Vision and Data Science algorithms and visualizations. Using Artificial Intelligence to understand and enhance in-store customers’ experiences, Retailr will help brands to take data-driven decisions to optimize their revenue. The project, recently funded, is still under development and at a very early stage. I'll do my best to send some updates about the outputs! Last December, we participated at the Cyberport/Innobator Big Data for Business Challenge going through the competition, we went to Shanghai, had a booth at the HKTDC ICT Exhibition where we got really useful feedbacks and we recently won the AI and Robotics award of the HKUST Million Dollar Competition providing us the ressources to continue the adventure next year!

Retailr
Maps

They fascinate me, from overlaying information on satellite pictures to simplifying the geometry of cities to improve visitors navigation, there is a lot of engineering in maps design. I recently published an animation of Hong Kong subway system (MTR) where we can see the distortion of the visuals available in stations compared to the reality, with a great balance between design and readability. It was featured amongst others on BT and The Guardian and I got really cool feedbacks on this one on Reddit!

Maps
Travel

One day, I'll make an online Scratch Map.

Travel

Tech

There are many things I like to work with, but it's really specific and shouldn't be too big, so I decided to write it with a size of 2px. Design: Photoshop, Illustrator / PremierePro, ScreenFlow / Blender, Meshmixer | Front-End: CoffeeScript / D3.js / Vue, Ember, Angular / Materialize, Bootstrap | Back-End: Node.js / Express.js, Ruby on Rails, Flask / Cordova, PhoneGap | Data Science: Python, Scala, Ruby / Hadoop, Spark / MongoDB, Oracle | Deep Learning: Caffe, TensorFlow, Torch, ConvNetJS / CNN, RNN, Q-Learning

Amazing stuff that other people did

I'll try to post here the cool stuff I find online!