Meet the Team

Very few teams have combined expertise in academic research, global-scale engineering, and long-term company building. And while that’s who we are, it’s our down-to-earth vision of a better world that drives us.

Our team members have built systems at the largest scale in the world’s top tech companies. We’ve worked on exciting projects at Google Maps, Apple Siri, and AWS Infrastructure—and now we’ve come together to build Harmony.

Our backgrounds range from AI and machine learning, to blockchain, VR, and compilers. Together, we’re committed to creating a new global-scale infrastructure by applying our deep understanding to transports networks, consensus protocols, and systems tooling.

We’re ambitiously idealistic. But if you check out our whitepaper and updates, you’ll see our feet are on the ground as we shoot for the stars.

Stephen Tse, Founder - Bio Image

Stephen Tse

Stephen Tse 谢镇滔 has been obsessed with protocols and compilers since high school. He reverse-engineered ICQ and X11 protocols, coded in OCaml for more than 15 years , and graduated with a doctoral degree in security protocols and compiler verification from the University of Pennsylvania.

Stephen was a researcher at Microsoft Research, a senior infrastructure engineer at Google, and a principal engineer for search ranking at Apple. He founded the mobile search Spotsetter with institutional venture capital; Apple later acquired the startup.

Nicolas Burtey, Bio Image

Nicolas Burtey

Nicolas Burtey founded a VR video startup in 2012 that grew to 40 people and raised $10m. Orah served the needs of thousands of professional content creators in 70 countries by selling GPU-driven live stitching software and 360° cameras.

Nicolas holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science, and a master’s degree in computational photography. His master’s thesis at Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière was titled “The representation of space and time in panoramic photography.”

Alok Kothari, Bio Image

Alok Kothari

Alok Kothari worked on deep learning models for natural language understanding at Apple’s Siri. He conducted research in natural language processing, information retrieval machine learning and published at top conferences like SIGIR, ICWSM and EMNLP. His research paper won the best dataset award at ICWSM 2013.

Alok’s book “Game Changers” chronicles successful entrepreneurs from his alma mater IIT Kharagpur in India. He also co-founded the entrepreneurship cell there, which has produced 60 student startups. Alok obtained his master’s degree in artificial intelligence and language technologies from Carnegie Mellon University.

Rongjian Lan, Bio Image

Rongjian Lan

Rongjian Lan was a search infrastructure engineer for Play Store at Google. He published over 10 academic papers on spatio-temporal querying and map-based visualization. Rongjian started researching on decentralized protocols since early 2017.

Rongjian is the co-chair of ABC Blockchain Foundation, with more than 100 engineers from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn as members. He was a doctoral candidate of computer science at the University of Maryland College Park and obtained his bachelor’s degree from the University of Science and Technology Beijing.

Minh Doan, Bio Image

Minh Doan

Minh Doan worked on Google’s Assistant, Play and Plus for 5 years. He was a former champion at USA Computing Olympiad Open and many other Informatics Olympiads. Minh holds the patent for “Publisher Click-Ring Fraud Detector” at Google.

Minh was a doctoral candidate in algorithms and distributed systems at the University of California, Irvine. He has a master’s degree in computer science and applied mathematics from Moscow State University. His research paper, “An effective ant-based algorithm for the degree-constrained minimum spanning tree problem”, published at IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation.

Nick White, Bio Image

Nick White

Nick White holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Stanford University, where he focused on signal processing, optimization and control. As a graduate teaching assistant at Stanford, he researched artificial intelligence and applied mathematics with Prof. Bernard Widrow.

Nick has served as the AI specialist for Hong Kong-based AI incubator Zeroth.AI, and coached over 20 teams from 5 continents across industries ranging from finance to agriculture to blockchain. He is a certified yoga instructor and an avid surfer.

Sahil Dewan, Bio Image

Sahil Dewan

Sahil Dewan is a graduate of Harvard Business School, where he served as president of the blockchain and cryptocurrency club. He has worked at Draper Dragon Fund and advised several blockchain projects.

Sahil founded FuturEd, an ed-tech startup that pioneered a mobile platform for alumni engagement and fundraising for over 100 educational institutions in India. He was also elected country president for AIESEC India, a youth leadership organization present in more than 125 countries.

Leo Chen, Bio Image

Leo Chen

Leo Chen led a team of 8 engineers at Amazon Web Services. There he built high-throughput storage virtualizations for more than 200k EC2 instances. At Amazon Lab126 , Leo built the first generation of Kindle Fire and architected FireOS for all Amazon devices. At Ericsson and Broadcom he worked on their Linux kernel, embedded systems and large-scale distributed systems.

Leo holds a master’s degree in data mining from Simon Fraser University and a bachelor’s degree from Zhejiang University. Leo has completed 8 full marathons and hiked the Grand Canyon R3, John Muir Trail, and soon the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

Kunal Patel, Bio Image

Kunal Patel

Kunal Patel drives the security design and architecture of Samsung Pay and various Samsung Knox projects. As a member of the B2B security team, he conducts internal reviews, partnership evaluations, program analysis research and incident response for Samsung. Kunal has worked with researchers and startups on anti-malware, cryptography and program verification.

Kunal obtained a bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University. His specialties include systems security, applied cryptography and protocols. Kunal is interested in understanding intelligence in all its forms.

Eugene Kim, Bio Image

Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim developed advanced networking protocols during his 15-year tenure at NTT and his 3 years in the networking infrastructure division of AWS. Eugene also built server-side software at Activision Blizzard for the next-generation MMORPG that eventually became Overwatch.

Eugene has long been an active contributor to the open-source community, particularly in the networking and storage subsystems of FreeBSD and Linux. He holds two US patents on GPU-based acceleration of routing decisions in large-scale datacenter networks. As a professional musician with commercially released songs, Eugene cares deeply about digital rights management.

Hakwan Lau, Bio Image

Hakwan Lau

Hakwan Lau is a full professor at University of California, Los Angeles. He specializes in neuroscience and machine learning. Hakwan studied at University of Oxford on the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, served as associate professor at Columbia University, and has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers.

Hakwan’s latest paper in Science, “What is consciousness, and could machines have it?” was widely-circulated within the research community. With Harmony, he is exploring the connection between probabilistic consensus protocols and brain communication. Hakwan is also studying privacy-preserving modeling of health data on blockchain.

Ka-yuet Liu, Bio Image

Ka-yuet Liu

Ka-yuet Liu is a tenured associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. She specializes in medical data, network analysis, and other system science methods. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oxford and did her post-doctorate at Columbia University.

Ka uses population-wide, sensitive data from governments to study health and builds large empirically-calibrated , agent-based models to predict disease patterns. Her research is funded by major grants from the National Institute of Health. Ka’s paper “Social Influence and the Autism Epidemic” won the prestigious Eliot Freidson Award.

Georgios Fainekos, Bio Image

Georgios Fainekos

(Academic Consult) Georgios Fainekos is a tenured professor at Arizona State University. He specializes in formal methods of cyber-physical systems, swarm robotics and machine learning for real-time planning. Georgios completed his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing & Perception Labs (GRASP) Lab.

Li Jiang, Bio Image

Li Jiang

(Evangelist) Li Jiang 蒋犁 has been a founder, a documentary producer, and is an active angel investor and VC in technology. He has backed over a dozen tech entrepreneurs working on workforce productivity, resource management, life extension, and blockchain. He became the first investor and evangelist in Harmony on Valentine's Day 2018.

Li holds an economics degree from Northwestern University and completed coursework at Tsinghua University. He is an adjunct professor at Northwestern's Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Collaborators

Eileen Cao, Bio Image

Eileen Cao

Eileen Cao graduated with BA in financial management. She worked at Finance Service Center for Global 500 companies for 6 years, Burtey’s startup Orah, and e-commerce gaint JD.com.

Eileen graduated from University of Texas at Austin with a master degree in technology commercialization. Eileen is a member at American Poolplayers Association and has won a regional championship in Austin Texas.

Zi Wang, Bio Image

Zi Wang

Zi Wang worked on Google Chrome, Google X, Android and Nexus from 2006-2015. He was Google’s first global creative director for its hardware division and co-founded a Google research lab with a $20m budget.

Zi founded Quantum Bakery, a startup partnering with Google, Corning and Toyota to develop consumer products with ambient intelligence. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in economics.

Trausti Kristjansson, Bio Image

Trausti Kristjansson

Trausti Kristjansson has worked at the industry's most respected research labs including Microsoft Research, IBM Research and Google Research, founded full-stack startups and led Ph.D. engineers at the top of their field.

Trausti's expertise includes machine learning for speech and distributed compute over billions of consumers' data. His research paper in 2004 “Interactive Information Extraction with Constrained Conditional Random Fields” won an award at AAAI, the top academic conference in artificial intelligence. Trausti received his doctoral degree in machine learning from the University of Waterloo.

Bruce Huang, Bio Image

Bruce Huang

Bruce Huang 黄海旻 was a lead engineer at Microsoft for 7 years, a director at Alibaba Cloud and at Credit Ease. Later, he became the CEO of Madailicai, a top peer lending company in China. He obtained his master's degree in computer science from the Simon Fraser University. Bruce is a certified snowboard instructor.

Aaron Li, Bio Image

Aaron Li

Aaron Li started programming at the age of 7 and started mining Bitcoin in 2011. He was a researcher at Google’s machine learning team and a founding engineer at Scaled Inference, an AI startup advised by Prof. Michael Jordan.

Aaron won the prestigious ACM SIGKDD best paper award on language topic modeling in 2014, while pursuing his master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University. The U.S. granted him an Extraordinary Ability visa to create fundamental, disruptive technologies for humans.

Navneet Singh, Bio Image

Navneet Singh

Navneet Singh led mobile engineering at Google for 6 years. He was also the senior vice president at payment processor WorldPayand the head of data science at mobile payment provider Ezetap.

Navneet graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science. He speaks 6 languages, has extensive experience with distributed machine learning and a deep passion for transforming businesses with data-driven innovation.

Michael Young, Bio Image

Michael Young

Michael Young co-founded and led 3 venture-backed companies to acquisitions, including one to a key supplier of Apple. Bringing expertise in computer vision, he has closed deals with Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Department of Defense and strategic partners across China and Japan.

An inventor of 20 patents, Michael raised over $35m and was named one of America’s best entrepreneurs by Bloomberg. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in physics and dropped out of a Ph.D. program at Stanford University.

Kushagra Shrivastava, Bio Image

Kushagra Shrivastava

Kushagra Shrivastava runs the Xoogler investment syndicate. He worked at Google from 2006-2014, leading marketing and strategy for Google Play and Android Apps, and served as the chief executive for products at an advertising startup acquired by Pinterest.

He is currently a senior director for the formerly Yahoo Small Business and a fellow at Stanford Center for Legal Informatics. At Stanford, Kushargra founded a blockchain group and actively contributes to the law school’s Computable Contracts project. He holds an executive degree in marketing from INSEAD.

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