Aaron Zinman
Senior Software Engineer
Ginger.io, Inc.
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San Francisco, CA
mobile   785-AZINMAN
  Education PhD, Media Arts and Sciences
Groups: Sociable Media Group (2006-2009); Fluid Interfaces (2009-2011)
GPA: 5.00 / 5.00
Thesis: Me, Myself, and My Hyperego: Understanding People Through the Aggregation of Their Digital Footprints
Thesis Advisors: Judith Donath & Pattie Maes, Ryan Rifkin, William (Bill) J. Mitchell
General Exams Committee: Judith Donath, Andrew McCallum, Jason Kaufman
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2006 - 2011.

SM, Media Arts and Sciences
Group: Sociable Media Group
GPA: 5.00 / 5.00
Thesis: RadioActive: Enabling Large-Scale Asynchronous Audio Discussions on Mobile Devices
Thesis Advisors: Judith Donath, Chris Schmandt, Walter Bender
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004 - 2006.

BS, Cognitive Science with Specialization in Computation
Cognitive & Computer Science GPA: 3.59 / 4.00
Honors Thesis: Personal Metadata: Order from Clutter
Honors Thesis Advisors: David Kirsh, John Batali, and Dan Bauer
University of California, San Diego, 1999 - 2004.

Year abroad studying Computer Science, University of Birmingham, England, 2001-2002.
(Senior) Software Engineer, Ginger.io, San Francisco, CA August 2016 - Present
Software engineer working across the full-stack (Python/Django, infrastructure, Postgres and Mysql, and mobile). Headed iOS and brought the app to 100% crash-free within 2 months, averaging 99.5+% crash-free sessions since. Built fundamental infrastructure and algorithms for Data Science, and a key contributor to engineering workflow, process, and general approach. Contributor to company culture, uniting across departments via the shared food culture by creating spa water society, acquiring and providing a kitchen-oriented environment, and creating interactive and informational programming.
iOS Consultant, Google, Mountain View, CA December 2015 - August 2016
Created the iOS implementation of Google's Vanadium project, an open-source library to ease the creation of distributed peer-to-peer apps, while working with an elite team under former Google Search Senior Engineering Director Cosmos Nicolaou's guidance. Helped inform the design of the database API, contributed to the codec's next-gen compiler, built the VDL codec's Swift compiler, and generally bridged it's main Go library to iOS via Swift. Brought CoreBluetooth to Go for local discovery. In the process I also contributed a patch to Golang's linker to support c-archives on the iOS 64-bit simulator. Work was done under contract for Empirical.
CEO and Co-founder, Empirical Interfaces Inc., San Francisco, CA October 2012 - December 2015
Co-founded Empirical with Greg Elliott, having raised $1MM from Floodgate, Greylock, Ben Ling and Scott Belsky to create novel social apps incorporating AI. Personally built and launched apps such as Iris and Smalltalk similar in predicate to Google Inbox's organization of personal email and Facebook Messenger intelligent plans and auto-complete.
Aaron Zinman LLC, Cambridge, MA, September 2011 - October 2012
iOS Consulting for companies such as MIT Press.
Software Engineering Intern, Google, Cambridge, MA June - December 2008
Worked with Ryan Rifkin to create a new way to browse blogs. Conceptualized the product, investigated the requirements, submitted 30+ design visions, collaborated with multiple teams across Google, and built the main guts. In the process, I contributed to a modern stochastic algorithm for natural language processing, working with extensively with collaborators in Beijing and Mountain View.
Research Intern, IBM Research, T. J. Watson Research Center, Hawthorne, NY, Summer 2007
Worked with Chandra Narayanaswami and Danny Soroker in the Technologies for Next Generation Pervasive Services group as a part of the IBM Research summer internship program. Realized multiple prototypes of a research project (OrgMaps) as described below.
Research Staff, Interactive Cognition Lab, UC San Diego, 2001 - 2004
Senior web engineer building dynamic web sites using ASP, IIS, and MS SQL for E-Learning and distributed cognition research. Developed sophisticated multimedia tools to facilitate experiments and ethnographic analysis.
Computer Consultant, 1992 - 1999
Created and installed systems and software, computer repair, network administration, tutoring, and dynamic web and database programming.

Clients include: Inter-America Development Bank, NovaTech, and many Bay Area residents and businesses.
Intern, Autodesk, San Rafael, CA, Summer 1998
Created an in-house tool for organizing file/directory layout.
Contributed to preliminary development of Actrix Technical.
Pro Controls, 2015
Pro Controls for iOS are components for iOS that come with full graphic design, UX flows, logic, and support. Inspired by years building apps and having to remake many of the same components over and over again, we recognized how we could re-shape the future of mobile app development.
Gather, 2015
Gather quickly record great-looking video reactions that capture how you actually feel so you don't have to resort to pandas. 🐼🐼🐼 It is a full-screen sharing experience that creates a more intimate and visual environment than found elsewhere.
Betternote, 2014
Betternote is a modern shared workspace design for mobile first. Small teams, friends and families can easily create rooms that allow just about anything to be shared and commented on: documents, calendars, links, photos, videos, phone numbers, addresses and more.
SmallTalk, 2013
SmallTalk for iOS is an intelligent chat app that gives one-touch buttons for common communication flows.
Comma, 2013
Comma for iOS is an ambitious app that fully structured communication in a non-chat way. It replaces many everyday text conversations by turning them into full functioning app workflows that remove most of the common back-and-forth. Primarily it allows friends to find, choose, and pathfind their way to movies and restaurants.
  Research Experience
Konbit, 2010-2011
Konbit, a response to the Haitian earthquake, is a service that helps communities rebuild themselves after a crisis by indexing the skillsets of local residents, allowing NGOs to find and employ them. Haitians, their diaspora, and the international community can volunteer their skills via phone, SMS, or web. Skills can then be searched in real-time and location by NGOs such as CHF International, Partners-in-Health, and others. Konbit is possible due to key partners, such as the UN Development Program, the US State Department, the Clinton Foundation, and Digicel. Konbit won the grand prize ($8,000) at the 2010 MIT IDEAS competition. It is being created in collaboration with Greg Elliott.
Defuse, 2009-2011
Defuse is a new interface for online discussions. Using natural language processing and visualization, Defuse adds structural, social, and historical context in the form of top-down views, data portraiture, and dynamic surveys. It seeks to reinvent the medium so that it may scale to the thousands of messages and users popular sites are already receiving and beyond.
Personas & Metropath(ologies), 2009
Personas is a component of the Metropath(ologies) exhibit by the Sociable Media Group. It was last on display at the MIT Museum. It uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one's aggregated online identity. In short, Personas shows you how the Internet sees you. The online version of Personas has been used over a million and a half times in its first month of usage alone, and has been written about extensively in news sources ranging from TechCrunch and New Scientist to the UTNE Reader.
Signs Instant Messaging, 2007 - 2008
Signs is an instant messenger design philosophy and implementation. It aims to reduce confusion while increasing expressive power through novel mutation of persistent discussion places. The design facilitates repair of sequencing problems, reduces ambiguity, and functions as a proxy for new communication acts.
Blogger Disco, 2008
Prototyped and implemented a system for browsing blogs. Worked with a diverse team on challenges from user interaction design, production software engineering of back-end support systems, to language modeling. Exact specifications are confidential.
Typecasting, 2007 - 2008
Exploration of alternative designs for social networking sites by using aggregated statistics of language use to segment user base within larger cultural contexts and topic affinities. Current models make use of hierarchical Bayesian techniques to achieve segmentation.
Eye Tracking Experiments for new HCI, 2007 - 2008
Prototyping novel interaction techniques where eye trackers are treated as primary input devices to desktop computers. Research heavily motivated by medical purposes for relieving Repetitive Stress Injury and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
OrgMaps, Summer 2007
Designed and prototyped multiple versions of an interactive visualization to allow enterprise workers to quickly "mash-up" arbitrary data streams against corporate job hierarchies using novel interaction techniques. Tool will likely be integrated into a major Lotus product.
MySpace Spam Filter, 2007
Build computational model for machine-based estimation of 'humanness' given a MySpace profile. The project uses behavior outside of conventional models to determine typical behavior within social networking sites, which can be used to filter out friend-based advertising or scams.
RadioActive, 2004 - 2006
RadioActive, my masters thesis project, is a novel communication interface that enables persistent public conversations on mobile devices. The principal focus is to enable asynchronous conversations in a medium that is natural to the design of the phone: audio. The design overcomes the slow, serial nature of audio and permits effective navigation of large chat persistent spaces. Chat spaces may be created through dynamic communities or recognizing a topology-based data matrix. Communities are dynamically created through profiling users using bluetooth and GPS tracking, facilitating communities to be automatically linked together. It has been successfully user tested in high school and museum contexts.
eLens, 2005 - 2006
Member of the technology team of the eLens project, which under the direction of MIT's Prof. Bill Mitchell attempts to integrate mobile devices into the urban landscape. Influenced the direction of the group towards an integrated open platform of services. RadioActive is the communication support in eLens, enabling context-aware creation of chat spaces.
Paris Bus Project, 2005
Participated in Prof. Bill Mitchell's design studio working with Paris's transport authority, RATP, to redesign the bus system inside-out. Lead a group towards removing the static system with dynamic bus routing that addressed transportation needs on-demand. The system used a range of information, from a priori traffic conditions and planned rides to current demand and congestion.
Open Sources, 2004 - 2005
Open Sources is a visualization that depicts the social story of open source development communities. By looking at issues of shifting code ownership and communication, Open Sources paints a picture of the development process, enabling developers and managers to better understand and information flow and roles. Open Sources is other big project at the Media Lab.
Nitester, 2003 - 2004
Created under the supervision of Prof. William Griswold at UCSD, Nitester enables social groups to collectively plan their nights. Groups can track, create, and vote against plans over SMS and AIM. It uses multiple strategies to match the apathy or enthusiasm of the group or planner.
Undergraduate Honors Thesis: Personal Metadata, 2002-2003.
Explored how to digitally augment office environments by tracking how users create and manipulate resources. I developed a theory of personal metadata and tested it by building an expert system that answered questions such as "What documents did Mike and I work on last week?". Personal metadata proved to be a powerful basis for generating ad hoc classifications of contexts. Such classifications were useful in facilitating informational searches in a complex environment.
Towards Complex Cell Modeling by Evolution, 2003.
Project for Dr. Martin Sereno's graduate course on computational modeling of the visual cortex. Modeled the functional development of a human's V2 using an artificial neural network which relied on an evolutionary algorithm for its learning mechanism. To model the responses of V2's non-linear complex cells, corresponding simple cell inputs were generated using a series of adjacent segments taken from a natural image. Simple cell data was calculated by convolving each segment from the image with a Gabor kernel. Target (model) output was calculated by the squared sum of the corresponding simple cells.
Interactive Cognition Lab, 2001 - 2004
Primarily developed a web application designed to promote distributed, remote collaboration for lab intranet and E-Learning. Capabilities include sharing and managing tasks, files, contact information, messages via email and web, and image galleries with full annotative and communicative abilities.
  Teaching Experience Mentored through the Big Brothers Big Sisters Association, 2008 - 2010

Started, contributed, and run to the Media Lab Hacker Seminar Series, 2007 - 2010

Mentored nine different MIT undergraduates within an undergraduate research program, 2006 - 2011

Volunteer Teacher Assistant, Bayview Terrance Elementary, San Diego, CA, 2001

Taught computer skills as a consultant to local businesses and residents, 1992-1999
  Publications Donath J., Dragulescu, A., Zinman A., Viégas, F., and Xiong, R. "Data Portraits." Leonardo 43.4 (2010): 375-383. Project MUSE.

Zinman A., and Fritz, D. Topic Modeling and Data Portraiture. In Proceedings of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2009), Workshop on Applications for Topic Models: Text and Beyond. Whistler, BC, Canada. December 11th, 2009.

Coffman, D., Soroker, D., Narayanaswami, C., and Zinman, A. A Client-Server Architecture for State-Dependent Dynamic Visualizations on the Web. Submitted for review to the 19th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW2010), Raleigh, NC.

Zinman A., and Donath, J. Signs: Increasing Expression and Clarity in Instant Messaging. In Proceedings of HICSS 2009.

Soroker, D., Zinman, A., Narayanaswami, C. Organizational Maps and Mashups. IBM Technical Report RC24551, Watson, 05/09/2008.

Zinman, A., Donath, J. "Is Britney Spears Spam?" In Proceedings of Fourth Conference on Email and Anti-Spam, Mountain View, California, August 2-3, 2007.

Zinman, A., RadioActive: Enabling Large-Scale Asynchronous Audio Discussions on Mobile Devices. MS Thesis, MIT, 2006.

Zinman, A., Donath, J. Navigating Persistent Audio. In Proceedings of CHI 2006.

Zinman, A., Donath, J. RadioActive: enabling mobile-based audio forums. Workshop, CHI 2005.
  Peer Reviewer ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications, 2009
ACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, 2009
IEEE Conference on Pervasive Computing, 2008
ACM Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, 2008
ACM Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, 2007
Natural:   English, French (conversational)
Artificial:   Swift, Go, Python, Objective-C, Java, Scala, JavaScript, C, C++, HTML/CSS, SQL, ActionScript 3, Matlab
  Awards Grand Prize MIT IDEAS Competition for Konbit, 2010
SAIC Fellowship, 2005-2006
UCSD Cognitive Science Honors Society, 2003-2004
  Select Technologies
and Skills
UI: Cocoa Touch (iOS), Quartz, Cocoa, Web, AWT/Swing, Flash Builder/Flex, Django
Data: PostgreSQL + GIS Extensions, NOSQL (Cassandra, Tokyo Cabinet, BigTable), Map-Reduce, XML, JSON, Protobufs
Web: React, Tornado, CherryPy, Apache, NGINX, Jetty, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, SVG, AJAX, Web Sockets
Media: Sketch, VoIP (Asterisk + Fast-AGI, SIP), Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP, QuickTime, SIML, SVG, OmniGraffle
Mathy/Analytics: Matlab, Graphviz, Pattern Recognition / Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Hierarchical Bayesian Networks, Natural Language Processing, Topic Modeling, Social Network Analysis, Visualization
Misc: Computer Networks, Computer Security, Linux Administration, TCP/IP