Eitan Lees

Florida State University · Department of Scientific Computing · 400 Dirac Science Library · Tallahassee, FL 32306-4120 · elees@fsu.edu

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Hey! I am a former physicist turned programmer with research experience building complex computational models for physical systems. In recent years I have been interested in data science, specifically the development of visualization tools which provide rich interactions with data. I'm actively involved with the open source community, and enjoy making contributions that improve people’s lives.

I am a Ph.D. graduate from the department of Scientific Computing at Florida State University. I did research with Dr. Shanbhag modeling the corrosion of metal. I have been involved with the development of a python visualization package called Altair which was published in the Journal of Open Source Software (link to paper).

I have a blog where I write about topics I find interesting.

Please check out my résumé for more details on my academic work.

My recent talks can be found on my speakerdeck account.


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Nonlocal Modeling

With Dr. Sachin Shanbhag & Dr. Max Gunzburger

Corrosion adversely affects the performance of metal alloys that are widely used as structural materials in the automobile, naval, and aircraft industries. Currently I am working on building a multiphase nonlocal model to better capture the process of corrosion. This work was initially funded by Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) through a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, Contract No. N68335-15C-0032, awarded to Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) in collaboration with Florida State University (FSU).


Lees, E., Rokkam, S., Shanbhag, S., & Gunzburger, M. (2017). The electroneutrality constraint in nonlocal models. The Journal of chemical physics, 147(12), 124102.

August 2015 - Present

Quantum Optics

With Dr. James Clemens

One of the interesting phenomena of quantum mechanics is the concept of a quantum jump, where a system will switch between two discrete states. This behavior is most commonly seen with respect to the electron transition between energy levels of an atom. I was involved in studying the collective quantum jumps of Rydberg atoms. The large dipole moment of the highly excited Rydberg atom causes a shift in the energy levels of surrounding atoms. My area of research pertained to collections of Rydberg atoms that exhibit quantum jumps when driven off resonance ( paper/ talk/ poster ).

December 2011 - March 2013

Organic Solar Cells

With Dr. Brad Conrad

I developed a solar cell characterization station to source voltage and measure current on organic solar cells (OSC) that were fabricated in the laboratory. Before the fabrication process could begin, the design of the testing station needed completion as well as a run of efficiency tests on a commercial solar cells to calibrate the whole characterization apparatus. After the OSC’s were spin coated, optical images were taken as well as atomic force microscopy (AFM) on the samples to characterize the topology of the thin films ( paper/ talk/ poster ).

July 2010 - December 2011

Open Source Development

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Declarative Visualization in Python

Altair is a declarative statistical visualization library for Python originally developed by Jake Vanderplas and Brian Granger in close collaboration with the UW Interactive Data Lab. I am the 4th highest contributor with over 100 commits to the project on github. Recently I was added as an official memeber of the Altair Orgainization on GitHub. My most significant contributions have been in the documentation and building examples. Many of the examples in the gallery are my direct contributions. I have also worked on developing a few API simplifications to help the core library function more smoothly. It is very exciting to be part of a growing and evolving project. Through my work on Altair I have also learned how the open source community functions as a whole and I am now more encouraged to contribute to a variety of projects.

February 2018 - Present


High-level grammar of interactive graphics

Vega-Lite is a high-level grammar of interactive graphics. It provides a concise JSON syntax for rapidly generating visualizations to support analysis. In combination with my work on Altair I have also submitted documentation and examples to the Vega-Lite project. I was made a contributing member to the vega-datasets repository which acts as a common source for example datasets used by Vega-related projects

December 2019 - Present


Chemical reaction networks python library

The corrosion research I have been working on involves modeling a variable chemical reaction network (crn). As networks grow larger the computational cost of running dynamic simulations increases significantly. I have contributed code to the crnpy python library to speed up simulation time utilizing vectorized routines.

April 2018


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Florida State University

Doctor of Philosophy Candidate

Through my study of physics I developed an interest in programming and computers. I am now at Florida State University pursuing a PhD in the emerging field of Scientific Computing. My background in physics and mathematics has allowed me to take on many of the challenging scientific problems.

August 2015 - Present

Miami University of Ohio

Masters of Science

I received a Masters degree from Miami University of Ohio in physics. The main focus of my research was studying quantum optics, specifically the collective quantum jumps of Rydberg Atoms ( paper/ talk/ poster ). During my time at MUO I was also a teaching assistant for many physics labs.

August 2013 - July 2015

Appalachian State University

Bachelors of Science

I have a bachelors degree in physics from Appalachian State University, where I studied the fabrication and characterization of organic solar cells ( paper/ talk/ poster ). I also was involved in the modeling of voting trends in North Carolina using decision trees and random forests (poster).

August 2009 - May 2013


Programming Languages & Tools
  • Visualization
  • Data Analysis
  • Open Source Development
  • Github Code Reviews & PRs
  • Version Control & CI


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Apart from scientific computing I enjoy puzzles, reading, and juggling!

I am also a big fan of data visualization and enjoy learning new ways to communicate and share interesting ideas.