- In May, 2015, started a one-year sabbatical to develop my own data-driven websites, one in the medical field and one in entertainment, the second of which remains under active development. These projects allowed me to apply, in an entrepreneurial setting, my twin passions of data analysis and software development.
||Principal Scientist, KAYAK, a subsidiary of The Priceline Group, Inc.
- Was a member of the KAYAK Analytics team, assigned mainly to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) team.
- For the SEO team, made recommendations for changes to the website, developed optimization-related software, and performed data pulls and data analysis, both on my initiative and at the request of SEO team members.
- For the Analytics team, investigated the performance of the experimentation infrastructure, helped to maintain that infrastructure, and serviced experiment administration and analysis requests from teams throughout KAYAK.
- For others, including the Public Relations (PR) team and various product owners, answered data requests, which involved pulling data from large databases, analyzing them, and reporting the results in a straightforward way.
||Independent Web marketing consultant
- Provided search engine optimization (SEO) and related consulting services, including the development of a complex internal link optimization algorithm. Client companies or websites included: HelpWanted.com; Indigo Digital, Inc.; Mobicious, Inc.; Momondo Group, formerly named Cheapflights Media Ltd; Torre dello Ziro B&B; and Venere Net SpA, a division of Expedia, Inc.
||Software Engineer, Researcher, and Senior Researcher, TripAdvisor LLC
- Primary role at TripAdvisor was search engine optimization (SEO) for the website; joined the company as the first person dedicated to this purpose.
- Conducted numerous experiments to improve search engine traffic by modifying pages on the TripAdvisor website, or by changing information provided to search engines (such as Yahoo Search Submit Pro, formerly Inktomi). For many of the experiments, was directly involved in every phase of the experiment process, namely: Idea generation, design (often in the form of A/B tests), software development (including modifications to the website), quality assurance, monitoring, statistical analysis, reporting of results, and recommendations for action. Estimated, from a subset of these experiments in which revenue was tracked, that this subset of experiments grew the company's profit by approximately $6.6 million per year. As this was merely a subset, the impact of the full set of SEO experiments must have been more than this value.
- Used the SEO principles learned from the experiments and from experts in the SEO community to identify and develop a set of SEO best practices, which were shared amongst the Marketing and Engineering teams at TripAdvisor. Used the principles embodied in these best practices when participating in the design of new pages, when editing already-existing pages to improve traffic, or when arranging external or internal links. Monitored the changes made to the website by other teams, to ensure that they were compliant with SEO best practices.
- Helped other individuals, who joined the SEO team as the company grew, to become familiar with SEO practices.
- Shared SEO experiences, via presentations and conversations, with counterparts in the family of companies owned by Expedia, Inc. (formerly IAC/InterActiveCorp), which then owned TripAdvisor. Provided in-depth SEO consulting for Expedia-branded websites and for Hotwire, Inc. and Venere Net SpA (both divisions of Expedia).
- Provided SEO consulting at various levels of engagement (such as one-time audits, weekly conference calls, or intensive, direct management of SEO) for companies or websites acquired (in whole or in part) by TripAdvisor, including: Cruise Critic, FlipKey, Holiday Watchdog, OneTime, SeatGuru, Smarter Travel Media (including its bookingbuddy.com and smartertravel.com websites), Travel Library, TravelPod, and Virtual Tourist.
- Was a key figure in SEO for a company, TripAdvisor, that was respected as a leader in search engine optimization by the online travel industry in general, and by the Expedia family of companies in particular.
- Designed and partially implemented a first-of-its-kind internal link optimization algorithm, built for the purpose of increasing revenue attributable to SEO, with the auxiliary benefit of increasing search engine visibility to middle-level pages which were not receiving enough inbound links. This internal link algorithm offered stability (links that were persistent over time) and the ability to fine-tune each page's inbound link profile, generally with the goal that overall SEO revenue was maximized by assigning more links to those pages that generated more revenue. Tests demonstrated that pages that received more of these internal links rose significantly in Google search results.
- Estimated the monetary value of inbound links to enable TripAdvisor's Partnerships team to prioritize targets.
- Was a leader in the launch of TripAdvisor's international points of sale, which grew to account for more than half of the company's revenue by 2011. (Previously, the only domain had been the U.S.-focused tripadvisor.com.) Worked on SEO for the U.S. and major European points of sale; in later years, focused on the Japanese website.
- Provided consulting to the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Content Integrity teams at TripAdvisor, including the design of the bid selection algorithm for the SEM autobidder, which offered fully-automated, daily maintenance of bid prices for advertising campaigns consisting of millions of keywords on Google, Yahoo, and MSN (later Bing).
- Designed a selection engine for online advertisements, which sought to maximize revenue by choosing, from multiple hotel vendors competing for display on a given webpage, that subset of vendors that appeared most likely to draw user clicks and were willing to pay the most per click. The selection engine took a Bayesian approach to the problem of estimating click-through likelihood by examining the performance of advertisements similar to each advertisement in question, and it randomly tried different arrangements when data were inconclusive.
- Designed and implemented TripAdvisor's Popularity Index, its algorithm for ranking hotels based on traveler feedback, and which is closely followed in the hotel industry because higher rankings correlate with increased bookings. Designed TripAdvisor's Value Index (also known as “best value” hotels), which also used traveler reviews as a key component. Provided the Marketing team with many reports related to user reviews and user trends, including the bases for TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards and for its “TravelCast” lists of emerging destinations.
||Post-doctoral Fellow, Rochester Institute of Technology
- Co-developed RITMOS, a micromirror-based
RITMOS is the first multi-object spectrometer in operation that employs a
Digital Micromirror Device (DMD) for target selection. Micromirror arrays
have certain advantages over previous methods of target selection, namely
fiber bundles and slit masks; micromirror arrays are particularly apt
for surveys of stellar clusters, so RITMOS was optimized for high-resolution
spectral classification of these astronomical objects. Personal
contributions include software development, design specification development,
astronomical and laboratory measurements, analysis of results, and
dissemination to the scientific community.
[Proceedings of SPIE paper: 2783 kB PDF]
||Adjunct Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology|
- Taught “Programming for Imaging Science II,” winter quarter, 2002.
The course, taken mainly by third-year Imaging Science undergraduates,
covers the IDL data analysis language at an intermediate level, and gives
practical application of programming concepts
through several sizeable projects with imaging science themes.
||Research Assistant, Rochester Institute of Technology
- Co-designed and built RYTSI, the RIT–Yale Tip-tilt Speckle Imager.
RYTSI is the first instrument designed specifically for the measurement of
binary star differential magnitudes via speckle interferometry. It has been
used regularly at WIYN Observatory, Kitt Peak, Arizona, since the summer
of 2001. It utilizes two scanning mirrors (a “tip-tilt” system)
to lay down a sequence of images of a binary star onto a two-dimensional
detector. Normally, atmospheric turbulence blurs most binary stars beyond
resolvability, but each RYTSI image is brief enough to effectively
“freeze” the atmosphere. Speckle interferometric reduction
software then, in effect, combines these brief exposures into one
high-resolution image of the binary. RYTSI enables accurate differential
photometry because it is coupled with CCDs (Charge Coupled Devices), whose
behavior is better understood than previous detectors used in speckle
interferometry. Personal contributions to RYTSI
include its overall design, mechanical design, electrical design, assembly,
and software development.
[PASP paper, in press; Slides from conference presentation: 1952 kB PDF;
AAS conference poster abstract]
||Research Assistant, Yale University
- Measured binary star differential
This is the primary theme of the Ph.D. dissertation
Binary Star Speckle Photometry and Astrophysical Implications.
Observed hundreds of binary stars in various filters via speckle interferometry
at WIYN Observatory and at El Leoncito, Argentina. Studied the errors in
the photometry derived from these observations. Developed a statistically rigorous technique
to extract the effective temperatures and absolute magnitudes of the
individual components of binary stars, by incorporating all photometry
available, from the Yale–RIT binary star collaboration as well as from other
sources in the literature.
Constructed a numerical simulation of a nonlinear detector used in many binary
[Observations at WIYN:
Astronomical Journal papers
WIYN III, and
observations in Argentina:
conference paper: 507 kB PDF;
astrophysical parameter inference:
Dissertation summary and a
- Upgraded the Double Astrograph at El Leoncito, Argentina.
Installed two science CCD cameras, focus monitors utilizing two additional
CCD detectors, telescope temperature sensors, a weather station, and a network of control computers.
Wrote driver software for the new instrumentation, particularly a Linux kernel
module for the PixelVision science CCD.
[Description of the instrumentation upgrade]
- Investigated blazar TeV spectrum attenuation by the cosmic infrared background.
- Examined X-ray observations of the globular cluster M22.
||Teaching Assistant, Yale University
- Gained roughly 1,250 hours of experience assisting seven undergraduate classes.
Delivered several classroom
lectures and led approximately sixty hours of discussion sessions
on astronomy subjects. Was the Head or sole Teaching Assistant about 70%
of the time, and in this role helped the instructors
develop laboratory exercises, discussion topics, and a class website.
||Undergraduate Research Assistant, The Pennsylvania State University
- Compared neutron star model atmospheres with ROSAT X-ray fluxes.
Constructed a mesh of predicted X-ray spectra, for various physical
parameters, using a neutron star atmosphere simulation developed by George Pavlov and
collaborators. Developed software that performed nonlinear, six-dimensional
fits of the model spectra
to ROSAT observations of several isolated neutron stars.
[Astrophysical Journal paper]
- Rewrote control software and built a mirror cover for the 62'' telescope at Black Moshannon Observatory.
||Cashier, Giant Food Stores, Carlisle, PA
- Harrisburg, PA location. Summer position during college.
||Peer Tutor in Writing, The Pennsylvania State University
- Helped students with assignments in composition classes via a
collaborative learning approach.
||Stockclerk and Bagger, Fox’s Foods, Inc., Middletown, PA
- Hershey, PA location. Part-time position during high school.