John Alexis Guerra Gómez

About me

I'm a research scientist working on creating rich and interactive information visualizations that let users analyze their own data. Previously I worked at Yahoo Labs were I researched information visualization interfaces for analysis of complex social datasets, specially for representing, navigating and exploring photos. Before that, I spent 1.5 years at PARC working on visual analytics of social media and Fraud, Waste and Abuse. I completed my PhD from the Computer Science at the University of Maryland at College Park thanks to the international Fulbright Science and Technology Scholarship under the supervision of Dr. Ben Shneiderman and Dr. Catherine Plaisant. Researcher and teacher by profession, and social entrepreneur by heart. My research interests are in Information Visualization, Usability and Accessibility, Social Networks and Human Computer Interaction, specially in the development of technologies with a social purpose and the free software. Because of this I helped founding DUTO, a company where I lead the development of the software component of IRIS, a system that allows blind students to see with their hands the colors and shapes of the pedagogical materials given in a traditional classroom.

In My PhD thesis I'm using Information Visualization and Algorithmic techniques to help analysts find significant changes in hierarchical datasets over time, both in node values and in structure. For this, I designed and implemented two software prototypes of TreeVersity, a tree comparison tool that uses intuitive glyphs, with carefully selected colors, algorithms and reporting tools to allow the exploration of differences over time in trees. TreeVersity v1 was implemented using Java and the Prefuse Visualization Library and allow the comparison of two tree structures. while TreeVersity v2 allowed the comparison of one tree evolving over time. TreeVersity v2 was designed for the web using a combination of Javascript, D3, HTML+CSS, Python with a PostgreSQL database.

I have very good skills in software development, with formation and experience in Software Engineering, Database Design and Systems Administration. I'm also a proficient developer with tangible experience in Javascript, Python, Java, Ruby and C/C++ both for desktop and web applications, administration of GNU/Linux servers and of PostgreSQL and MySQL databases. I have also worked with several other programming languages and paradigms (Imperative, Functional, Logical) and have the ability of learning new languages in short periods of time. Having led small teams of development, I have developed solid leadership skills and from being DUTO's official presenter I cultivated strong communication skills.

Short CV

  • 2015-2016 Research Scientist at Yahoo Labs. Conducting research on information visualization techniques to facilitate the exploration of big photo respositories.
  • 20013-2014 Research Scientist at PARC. Lead the information visualization research effort Theory and Technology for Agile Organizations in the Intelligent Systems Lab, under the management of Dr. Marc Stefik. Develooped visual analytics systems for social network analysis and fraud waste and abuse.
  • 2008-2013 Full time Computer Science PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Ben Shneiderman and Dr. Catherine Plaisant. University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland USA. GPA 3.7/4.0. Expected Graduation Summer 2013.
  • 2012 Honorary Mention, HCIL Google Best Student Research Award.
  • 2011 Master in Science in Computer Science, University of Maryland at College Park, Maryland USA. GPA 3.7/4.0
  • 2008 Winner of the "International Science and Technology Scholarship for Outstanding Foreign Students " Fulbright Scholarship for PhD Studies. 32 recipients in the world.
  • 2007 Master in "Enseñanza de la Matemática" (Teaching of Mathematics) . Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira, Pereira, Colombia. Thesis pending. GPA 4.5/5.0
  • 2004 Bachelor in "Ingeniería de Sistemas y Computación" (Computer Science Colombian equivalent). Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira. Five years program. GPA 4.64/5.0. Honored Thesis: "Proyecto IRIS, un periférico para que personas con limitaciones visuales puedan sentir imágenes por medio del tacto" (IRIS Project, a system to allow blind people to feel images with their touch).
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Selected Publications

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