Justin Vincent


Hi! I'm Justin Vincent. I do contract programming in NYC. My specialties are "making things fast" and building distributed systems. I have a math and algorithms background, and am happy to work in most languages. If you have some challenging problems you would like help with, shoot me an email at justinvf@gmail.com and let's chat. Nothing makes me happier than to travel the world to work on cutting edge problems.

Work Experience

Algorithm Shop

Algorithm Shop (Q1 2013 - Present). New York.

I have worked as an independent programmer since leaving the Obama campaign. Some projects that I have been involved with:

  • Building databases and a voter API to support the 2014 Libyan Elections. Went to Tripoli for 3 weeks.
  • Building libraries for fast protein substructure searching for Schrodinger.
  • Building text classifiers and search infrastructure for cir.cl.


Obama For America (Q2 2011 - Q4 2012). Chicago.

I was one of the early tech hires on Obama's 2012 re-election campaign in Chicago.

Project Narwhal

  • Built many of the core components of project Narwhal, including real time numbers aggregation, user activity feeds, reporting hierarchy, and search.
  • Optimized algorithms and SQL queries to efficiently scale our project up to election day traffic.
  • Worked on post campaign cleanup and documentation.

People Matching

  • Built a large scale person matching system to identify voters across our various databases, either in batch or with realtime queries.
  • Built person matching models using machine learning, with training data gathered by an internal tool I created.


Google (Q4 2007 - Q2 2011). Mountain View.

Google was my first job out of college. I loved it there, but am enjoying being an independent contractor even more.

AdWords Payment Fraud

  • Built and maintained signals for a large scale machine learning system.
  • Owned the problem of realtime duplicate account detection.

Google Analtyics

  • Built a testing framework for a large scale, HIGH volume, distributed system.
  • Optimized hot spots in the backend processing pipeline.

Google Books (Internship)

  • Worked on signals to detect important quotations in the Google Books corpus.
  • Co-inventor on patent US20090055389.


Education (2004-2008). Seattle.

I attended University of Washington where I majored in math and computer science. I studied abroad in Russia (math), Rome (creative writing), and Spain (Spanish lit and language). I also took as many grad classes as I could, and definitely thought I would do grad school until I interned at Google and got sucked in by the poshness. I breifly toyed with doing a music degree (classical guitar), but then failed dictation and sight singing (hard).

B.S. Computer Science

  • Coauthor of a FOCS paper with James R. Lee, though professor Lee did most of the big thinking.
  • Researched particle filter approaches to WiFi based localization with Dieter Fox. We could find where you were in the CS building to within a few meters just based on WiFi signal strengths.
  • Took graduate courses in algorithms, complex analysis, geometric embeddings, brain computer interfaces, robotics, and complexity theory.
  • Was a TA and led weekly sessions for discrete mathematics, introductory programming, and digital design courses.

B.A. Mathematics

  • Did research on numerical modeling of stochastic processes with Stephen Rhode.
  • Took graduate courses in complex analysis.
  • Participated in a mathematical modeling competition (MCM).



  • My most familiar language is Python.
  • I'm comfortable using Python's various data and scientific libraries like numpy, cython, pandas, scipy, and scikit-learn (see blog!).
  • Have been good at C++ (Google) and Java (Google + OFA) in the past. I have done large projects in both, Python is just more fun.
  • Have a broad background in algorithms.
  • Definitely know my way around a MySQL database.
  • Can hack together quick d3.js visualizations (most my blog posts have a visualization).



I speak conversational Spanish, do math as a hobby, and ran a large model airplane trade show in 2012.

level up

Currently Leveling Up!

Currently (1/29/2014), I am learning about probabilistic programming with Allen Downey's excellent Think Bayes book.