Chad Austin
caustin@gmail.com
Current as of July 26th, 2010

Objective

I'm an experienced technologist, but I am looking to extend my team management, product management, and marketing skills. I want to affect peoples' lives - not work on technology for its own sake.

Summary

My technology background is diverse: I'm just as happy slinging bits and bytes in x86 assembly language as writing high-level JavaScript or PHP, managing technology teams, or communicating with customers. I bring a systems perspective to an organization: I prefer to prevent problems from recurring over short-term resolution. I have a knack for building usable APIs and teaching others.

I am technology-agnostic, although I will always consider education, productivity, and culture when selecting a language or framework. I am happy with Windows, Linux, and MacOS X.

I have effective technical writing and speaking skills. As a natural leader, I become the go-to guy for hard problems. I think rigorously and never take hand-waving as an answer. I'm strongly motivated, especially when I see an opportunity.

Experience

IMVU (2005 - Present)

Palo Alto, California - First Engineering Hire, Technical Lead, Assistant Product Manager

First Engineering Hire As an early startup employee, I wore many hats. I managed releases, implemented development processes such as continuous integration, communicated with customers, debugged cluster failures as on-call operations engineer, prioritized projects, prevented bug recurrence with automated tests, implemented build systems, built new features from vague customer needs, scaled our backend to support millions of customers, and built marketing tools. I worked with several technologies, including C++, Python, PHP, and MySQL. 1/3 of the engineering team stems from my referrals.

Technical Lead Implemented and led adoption of Python coroutines as asynchronous operations, solving swaths of subtle asynchronous programming bugs. Technically led the 8-engineer team that implemented IMVU's HTML-based UI, which immediately improved revenue 10% and improved engineer productivity and feature richness by an order of magnitude. Tripled 3D rendering frame rate, significantly reduced client's memory consumption, led the team that defined IMVU's web security policies, implemented constant refinements to our Scrum development processes, and improved automated testing best-practices. Shared thinking with the team via forward-looking technical designs and brownbag-style presentations. Advocated open source participation, releasing key components as open source [link] and submitting changes back to open source projects: Python, Mozilla, SCons, Cal3D. Regularly interviewed engineering, engineering management, and product management candidates.

Assistant Product Manager Led the development of IMVU's Pet feature. Participated in weekly UI design reviews, brainstorming alternative designs and considering implementation cost tradeoffs.

Virtual Reality Applications Center (2002 - 2005)

Ames, Iowa - Research Assistant

Under Dr. Dirk Reiners: Designed and developed OpenGL GPU performance analysis tool for automatic scene graph optimization. Developed OpenFlight model loader for the OpenSG scene graph.

Under Dr. Adrian Sannier: Managed build process of distributed military simulation on both IRIX and Linux. Created Java-based startup tool to simplify task of starting multi-process vehicle simulation on several networked computers. Developed calibration software for magnetic field trackers in virtual environments such as Iowa State University's CAVEs. Established internal collaboration tools to help streamline software engineering processes and maintain a better information history. Developed audio system for data sonification experiment with flight simulators in the CAVE. Developed 3ds max importers and exporters for motion capture and character animation data.

Netscape Communications Corporation (Summer of 2001)

Mountain View, California - Quality Assurance Engineer

Confirmed and verified bug fixes on Windows, Linux, and MacOS, using the BugZilla issue tracking software. Implemented fixes for accessibility and internationalization bugs. Implemented an audio decoding and playback system for the Mozilla Media Player.

Vermeer Manufacturing (1998 - 2001)

Pella, Iowa - Software Engineer

Helped design, develop, and author manual for automatic horizontal directional drill planning software. Developed components in C++ for embedded drill controller running on Windows CE. Worked with team of eight programmers and six engineers to create several products within hard deadlines.

Projects (1995 - Present)

Audiere [link]

Designed and implemented high-performance and low-latency open source audio system designed for games, virtual environments, and interactive simulations. Implemented support for several audio file formats, operating systems, audio output devices, and programming languages. Used human-computer interaction skills to design often-praised API for using the system. Audiere is used in a multitude of commercial and shareware games as well as non-game commercial software.

chadaustin.me [link]

Wrote blog posts about technical topics from IMVU and elsewhere, some of which have garnered 5,000 unique visitors.

Empyrean

Project lead and technical architect on game for November 2004 submission to Independent Games Festival. Managed team of thirteen programmers and 3D artists ranging from undergraduates to Ph.D. candidates.

Game Developers Club [link]

Co-founded and served as president of student organization for game development with approximately 25 regular members per semester. Presented a variety of topics, including design documentation, software architecture, graphics technologies, sound and music in games, using pre-written libraries, and general discussion about game industry. Hosted presentations by special guests from the game and computer graphics industries.

SCons [link]

Was one of original developers and frequent contributor to next-generation build tool. Contributions include support for Cygwin and IRIX platforms, automated test suite enhancements, interface simplifications, and some overall design. Ported build systems for several large existing codebases from Make and Visual Studio to SCons.

Sphere [link]

Created powerful system of over 90,000 lines of C++ to ease creation of 2D role-playing games. Gained extensive scripting language experience by developing compiler and runtime for custom language, and later embedding the Mozilla JavaScript interpreter. Developed integrated development environment for game resource creation and scripting. Managed online forum for Sphere community, writing documentation to assist others in getting started in game development.

Accomplishments

Education

Iowa State University (2004 - 2005)

M.S. in Human Computer Interaction
4.00 Cumulative GPA. Studied the psychology of human memory, evolutionary algorithms, advanced computer graphics techniques, and game design and development. For my Master's research, I implemented a functional staged-computation GPU language, Renaissance.

Iowa State University (1999 - 2003)

B.S. in Computer Science
3.12 Cumulative GPA. Focused on classes in programming languages, compilers, human interaction with technology, virtual reality, graphics, computational geometry, technical writing, linguistics, economics, and psychology of sensation and perception.

References

References available on request.