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Chris R

- Research Program Mentor

Industry expert at University of Arizona


Computer Science, Software Engineering


From 2009-2013 I attended the University of Arizona, where I studied Computer Science. While attending school, I interned at Sargent Aerospace and Defense, and Swingfire (a small startup developing mobile applications). Immediately after graduating, I began working as a Software Engineer at IBM. After a short stint there, I joined Palantir, where I have worked for the last 7 years - first as a Support Engineer, then a Data Engineer, and most recently as an Engineer on one of the core product teams. Additionally, I have done some side-contract work for Mycroft AI (a company developing an open source voice assistant, similar to Google assistant and Siri), where I built out their smart-home framework. The work I've done for Mycroft parallels my personal interests most closely. I am very excited about the smart-home and voice control spaces. In my spare time, I've built software to control the lights in my house, as well as to trigger the Mycroft voice assistant via facial recognition, and I credit these two projects for getting me the job at Palantir and the contract work with Mycroft. Projects in this space are sure to pique my interest.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Computer Vision - Eye Contact

Train a computer to recognize eye contact - i.e. whether a person is looking directly into a camera. Use this to drive interaction with the computer (e.g. find "good" photos from a set of images, take a photo when eye contact is made, trigger a voice assistant, etc).

Personal Trainer, a la New York Times Seven Minute Workout

Develop an application to run through the NYT Seven Minute Workout. Expand the list of exercises, and add variability/randomness to the workouts, to yield a simple, virtual personal trainer.

Open Source Adventure Course

Make a game that teaches the player to program/teaches them various algorithms. For example, the player could use basic flow of control to solve puzzles/riddles, defeat enemies by implementing a sorting algorithm that works faster than theirs, or race through a world using an algorithm such as A* to plot their course.. Publish the game under and open source license so anyone can add puzzles, levels, worlds, etc.

Contribute to your favorite open source project

Contribute a feature or bug fix to your favorite open source project, such as: * Gimp ( * Darktable ( * Organic Maps: * VLC ( * OBS ( * Signal ( There are a nearly endless supply of amazing open source projects, each with their own impressively long list of feature requests (and bug reports!). Contributing to any of these projects, in addition to being satisfying on a personal level, will make you a better engineer and give you skills that are highly sought after by employers (open source contributions look fantastic on a resume).

Publish your own Android app

Build a mobile app, the Google Play Store, F-Droid ( or one of many alternative Android app stores. You'll learn a lot building your app, and might even make some money!

Coding skills

Python, Java, HTML, CSS, TypeScript, Javascript, Bash

Teaching experience

At the University of Arizona, I was a Supplemental Instruction Leader for pre-calculus, and then an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for pre-algebra.


Work experience

Palantir (2014 - 2022)
Data Engineer
Mycroft AI (2019 - 2019)
(Contractor) Software Engineer
IBM (2013 - 2014)
Software Engineer
Swingfire (2013 - 2013)
Intern Software Engineer


University of Arizona
BS Bachelor of Science (2013)
Computer Science

Completed Projects

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