Zhifan Li

Intuit software engineer Zhifan Li is a Rice University CS alumna.

Zhifan Li (BA ’06) is a senior software engineer with Intuit. She is building payroll web applications for customers using their QuickBooks solutions. Li, who discovered her knack for solving problems with software as a freshman in COMP 140, participated in several HackRice teams.Her team’s 2014 Fondren Study Room Finder app prompted the university’s library to update their existing app, modeling improvements after the hackathon project. In 2015, her team’s Peel photo app won the People’s Choice Award. Li also participated in a hackathon with two co-workers while interning at Intuit. Their LAP: Life after Prison app, inspired by a news article about ex-convicts, was designed to help ease the transition of newly-released prisoners back into society.

Vicky Yao

Vicky Yao is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Vicky Yao is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University. She completed her Ph.D. in Computer Science at Princeton and stayed on for a postdoctoral fellowship with the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics.

Her research focus is in computational biology, where she develops machine learning and statistical methods to improve our understanding of the biological circuitry that underlies living organisms and how its dysregulation may lead to disease. An important facet of her research is building intuitive, interactive systems as interfaces to the models and predictions that she develops, and she has tried to build such systems whenever appropriate.

Todd Treangen

Todd Treangen is and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Todd Treangan (Ph.D. ’08, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

His Computational Microbial Forensics and Metagenomics research group  focuses on interdisciplinary research anchored by Computer Science and Comparative Genomics research.

Although the prevalence of high‐throughput technologies has generated an immense wealth of raw experimental data, the biological insight available within this rich (meta)genomic data remains largely untapped. Given the challenges presented by large‐scale data analysis in computational genomics, our aim is twofold: 1) develop bioinformatics software firmly built upon efficient algorithms and heuristics, compact data structures, and machine learning techniques applied to multiple sequence alignment (both local and global), and 2) perform hypothesis-driven research enabled by recent advances in DNA sequencing technology applied to Microbial Genomics and Ecology.

Tasos Kyrillidis

Tasos Kyrillidis is the Noah Harding Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Anastasios “Tasos” Kyrillidis (Ph.D. 14, EPFL) is the Noah Harding Assistant Professor of Computer Science  at Rice University.

Tasos’ research interests include (but not limited to): Optimization for machine learning, Convex and non-convex algorithms and analysis, Large-scale optimization and Any problem that includes a math-driven criterion, and requires an efficient method for its solution.


Peter Elmers

Facebook software engineer Peter Elmers is a Rice CS alumnus.

Peter Elmers (B.S. ’17) is a software engineer at Facebook. While an undergraduate at Rice University, Elmers volunteered as a Mozilla open source contributor, fixing bugs and adding features to the Rust compiler and DXR cross referencing tool.

He also worked as a Rice research assistant for three years and spent two summers interning with Mozilla before capturing the attention of Facebook.

Nathan Dautenhahn

Nathan Dauntenhahn is an Assistant Professor of CS at Rice University.

Nathan Dauntenhahn (Ph.D. ’16 UIUC) is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Computing systems contain vast amounts of sensitive information, but most systems have numerous layers of abstractions, making it challenging to guarantee high-level security properties. His research identifies fundamental abstraction gaps and closes them with cross-layer solutions. He am most interested in building trustworthy systems software, where a single exploit could compromise the whole system. His research in operating system security has applied two key approaches: 1) decompose systems in ways that enhance trustworthiness and 2) harden them to attack.

Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin

Photo of Michael "Fuzzy" Mauldin by Daniel Longmire of BattleBots, Inc

Photo of Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin by Daniel Longmire of BattleBots, Inc.

The Rice University Computer Science alumnus and inventor of Lycos only went to college to get a good job.

Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin (Sid Rich, 1981) said, “That was my goal and my parental directive. In high school, I was good at three things: math, physics, and debate, and that suggested becoming a mathematician, a physicist, or a lawyer.

“When I got to Rice, I took CS classes and Math classes. I almost failed Calculus because I was having more fun –and was too busy– in my compiler class. At that point, I had no future agenda, I just got caught up in the idea of computers talking with humans in English, like the movie Space Odyssey: 2001 and ELIZA, the natural-language computer processing program published in 1964.”

He went on to earn his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University and retired before reaching age 40, after inventing both Lycos and Julia–an early chatterbot.

These days, Mauldin spends his time ranching and exploring the wilds of Utah in his Jeep. He also designs fighting robots.

“Everything about the Internet is more complicated than when I learned it. Now I’m more concerned about speed control for my robot. Should I be considering the move from brushed to brushless motors?”

Read the rest of his Rice CS Alumni Profile: https://www.cs.rice.edu/fuzzy


For the Innovation Today and Tomorrow session on Friday, October 11, Fuzzy will be showing off TreadBot. TreadBot photographs by Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin.

Mark Kilgard

Rice CS alumnus Mark Kilgard is a software graphics engineer at Nvidia.

Mark J. Kilgard is a Principal System Software Engineer and an NVIDIA Distinguished Inventor based in Austin, Texas. Mark researches new user experiences based on vector graphics, virtual reality, and web browser rendering. Mark co-authored “The Cg Tutorial” and authored the book “Programming OpenGL for the X Window System” and implemented thr popular OpenGL Utility Toolkit (GLUT) for developing portable OpenGL examples and demos. Prior to NVIDIA, Mark worked at Silicon Graphics.

Mark graduated Rice University (Wiess ’91) majoring in both Computer Science and Mathematical Sciences (now Computational And Applied Mathematics).

Marie Chatfield

Rice Computer Science alumna Marie Chatfield is a software engineer at Pingboard in Austin, TX.

Marie Chatfield (B.A. ’15) writes code and poetry, sometimes at the same time. As a front-end engineering enthusiast, she’s currently helping Pingboard build the world’s best org chart software. She is passionate about creating inclusive experiences and understanding foundational web technologies at a deeper level.

Some of Marie’s areas of expertise include incrementally migrating legacy front-end applications from legacy to modern technologies; designing and implementing full-stack features with complex visual requirements; and building tools and infrastructure to improve developer experience and efficiency. She is also an experienced conference speaker and specializes in technical deep dives that are accessible for beginners and illuminating for experts.

Konstantinos Mamouras

Kostas Mamouras is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Konstantinos Mamouras is currently working on the design of programming abstractions for processing data streams. Several real-time decision making applications rely on the computation of quantitative summaries of very large streams of data. He has proposed StreamQRE, a declarative query language that combines regular expressions, quantitative aggregation, and relational features. A compilation algorithm translates the high-level query into a streaming algorithm with precise guarantees for resource usage. He is also interested in program semantics and logics for program verification. In particular, this includes equational theories of programs based on the framework of Kleene Algebra with Tests.

His areas of Interest include: Programming languages, formal methods, type theory and logic.

Karan Thakker

ExtraHop software engineer Karan Thakker is a Rice CS alumnus.

Karan Thakker (BA ’16) is a software engineer with ExtraHop Networks. His interest in world-class software engineering and his math background make him something of a utility player. He initially began his work with the backend team working on the appliances ExtraHop ships to data centers. His areas of ownership were distributed licensing and building and maintaining a RESTful API. “As the business focus switched to security, I moved to the data science team to help them scale up the product to keep up with the demand,” he said. “I wrote many ML detectors, built the investigation steps workflow, and brought an emphasis to infrastructure and scaling.”

Jesse Peirce

Square information security engineer Jesse Peirce is a Rice CS alumna.

Jesse Kimery Peirce (BA ’16) is an information security engineer at Square. She builds and and maintains internal tools for protecting customer data and distributing secrets to other applications in Square. This includes Keywhiz, Square’s open-source secrets management tool, and internal tools to automate secret management for other teams. She also reviews the security of third-party services with which Square shares data.

Fushan Chen

Rice CS alumnus Fushan Chen is a software engineer at Indeed.

Fushan Chen (MCS ’17) is a software engineer at Indeed, a job search company headquartered in Austin, TX. He works on projects like the internal DBaaS (Database as a Service) product that enables developers at Indeed to self-service the provisioning of databases.

Elizabeth Amato

Rice CS alumna Elizabeth Amato is a Google software engineer.

Elizabeth Amato (B.S. ’12) is a software engineer at Google in Pittsburgh, PA, on the AdSense for Search team. Previously, Elizabeth worked as an Army civilian at the Operational Test Command in a computer scientist role. During her time at Rice, she was awarded the prestigious SMART scholarship and served as president of the CSters club for women in computer science.

Derek Peirce

Rice CS alumnus Derek Peirce is a software engineer at Snap, Inc.

Derek Peirce (BA ’17, MCS ’17) is a software engineer at Snap, Inc., where one of his recent projects included helping redesign the company’s Android app.

His fascination with programming prompted him to work as a teaching assistant (TA) for several Rice COMP courses and to join a team designing an app for their favorite board game during HackRice6. He also organized and led weekly practices for Rice teams preparing for the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC), the most prestigious programming contest in the world, run by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Peirce’s enthusiasm for creating elegant solutions with code and sharing his knowledge with others was noticed by Rice Computer Science professors, who selected him for the Jason Chahin Innovation and Excellence Award. Each spring, the award is presented to a graduating senior who has done well in computer science courses, but also has made additional contributions, either to the department, university, or community.

He said, “I’m passionate about programming. I enjoy building new things and tackling new problems; it’s often a struggle, but that’s part of the fun. I chose a startup over an established company because at Snap, Inc. there has been more opportunity to design new things and have a greater impact.”

Bishr Tabbaa

Rice CS alumnus Bishr Tabbaa is the Software Engineering Manager at Gene by Gene.

Rice Computer Science alumnus Bishr Tabbaa (B.A. ’99) is the Software Engineering Manager at Gene by Gene, a biotech company that delivers services in consumer genealogy, clinical genomics research, paternity testing, and DNA data delivery. His two decades of experience in a variety of technology-driven industries include successful results in areas like:

  • Defining technology solutions and road maps that support business capabilities
  • Architecting and constructing systems native to the AWS cloud, and migrating on-premise legacy systems to the cloud.
  • Delivering innovative solutions for the biotechnology, e-commerce, and commodity trading industries
  • Improving the reliability, resilience, safety, and security of critical systems


Anshumali Shrivastava

Anshumali Shrivastava (Ph.D. ’15, Cornell) is an assistant professor of computer science, electrical and computer engineering and statistics at Rice University. He specializes in creating clever algorithmic strategies that enable faster, more scalable computations for both big data and machine-learning applications. Recently, Shrivastava was recognized as one of Science News Top 10, a prestigious annual list of top young scientists who are on their way to widespread acclaim for tackling the big questions facing science and society.

Shrivastava, who joined Rice in 2015, has repeatedly shown that creative approaches for handling big data can pay huge dividends in terms of time, energy and computational effort. In an analysis of six online social networks presented last month, he and Rice graduate student Chen Luo applied a 20-year-old internet search technique to show that chances of forming online friendships depend mainly on the number rather than the types of groups people join.



Anna Chi

Amazon Software Engineer Anna Chi is a Rice CS alumna.

Rice CS alumna Anna (Heng) Chi (BA ’17) is a software engineer working on Amazon Go. While an undergraduate, she explored internships in both academic research and industry teams. Before spending a summer as a Salesforce intern, she developed an auto-grader for homework assignments in Professor Vivek Sarkar’s COMP 322 (Fundamentals of Parallel Programming) course.

Chi said she thoroughly enjoyed the structure and content of the Rice CS courses, especially the challenging classes such as Algorithm and Operating System.  “Lectures of those courses are amazing and the professors are really passionate about the class material, while providing interesting projects to work on,” said Chi. She admired the strictness and the discipline of those classes, which helped not only reinforce an effective work ethic, but also motivated her to take up the challenge and re-innovate in this field.

These days, Chi is working on building a path from the widespread online retail market to the real-life physical retail shopping experience like Amazon Go Stores.

Ang Chen

Ang Chen is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University.

Ang Chen is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Rice University. His research interests include distributed systems, networking, and security. Recently, he has been working on secure forensics with network provenance, defenses against distributed denial-of-service attacks, as well as programmable networks.

Allison Heath

Allison Heath is the Director for Technology and Innovation at the D3b Center in Philadelphia's Children's Hospital.

Allison Heath (B.S. ’04, M.S. ’07, Ph.D. ’10) is the Director of Data Technology and Innovation at the Center for for Data Driven Discovery in Biomedicine (D3b) in The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is responsible for providing technical and collaborative leadership to build platforms for data-driven discovery that span both research and operational efforts. She is also responsible for the supervision of the research and software development team that performs basic and applied research in data intensive computing, bioinformatics, cloud computing, and related areas. Her own research is focused on computing systems and algorithms tailored for data intensive science, specifically with applications to genomics.

One of her current projects, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Data Resource Center, is a new, collaborative, pediatric research effort with the goal of understanding the genetic causes and links between childhood cancer and structural birth defects.

The program was created to accelerate data-driven discoveries and the development of novel precision-based approaches for children diagnosed with cancer or a structural birth defect using large genomic datasets. The Kids First DRC is comprised of integrated core teams that support the development of leading-edge big data infrastructure, and provide the necessary resources and tools to empower researchers and clinicians. The Kids First DRC’s doctors, scientists, and researchers work together with patient families to understand the underlying causes of these diseases in children on a biological level and to ultimately support the development of improved and targeted treatments.

Prior to joining the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Heath worked with the University of Chicago as their Director of Research for the Center for Data Intensive Science. Her general research interests focused on enabling large-scale scientific discovery utilizing cloud computing systems and algorithms tailored for data intensive science.