Aapeli Vuorinen

About me

I am a Presidential PhD Fellow at Columbia University in the City of New York, in particular the Data Science Institute.

I also help run the Couchers.org project, the next online platform for couch-surfers!

I’ve worked extensively with Janis Lesinskis through Scry Engineering, a Melbourne based firm that I co-founded with him. We worked with a diverse set of clients, mostly in problems vaguely related to mathematical optimization, cryptography, machine learning, and other generally tough problems. The firm is committed to providing actionable insights and bringing long-term value and experience through rich expertise in these fields.

I completed a masters degree in statistics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. My research was supervised by Peter Taylor and focused on studying the block propagation process of the Bitcoin network and modelling the propagation delay. My thesis is available for free online and you can download the data and read more about what I did at the dedicated website here.

In the past I’ve worked on a variety of software engineering, statistics, and machine-learning related projects. Most recently, I worked for Fireball International, a data-centric company that develops a platform for real-time bushfire detection using remote sensing and satellite imagery — basically you chuck a bunch of cameras in cell towers and run the images through a smoke-detection algorithm. Combining a performant and accurate machine learning pipeline with a well-designed event-sourcing architecture, we were able to detect fires within minutes of them igniting and send alerts to local fire departments. Before that, I designed, architected, and built blockchain systems at a cryptocurrency exchange startup. The idea was that we’d use blockchain technology to distribute all exchange profits to shareholders via a cryptocurrency token that I created on the Ethereum blockchain. I’ve worked on a whole bunch of other random exciting stuff that’s too varied and numerous to really itemise here.

Interests

I have a deep curiosity for understanding this world, so I’m interested in pretty much anything that makes a significant impact on people’s lives. I’m pretty much interested in anything where I get to solve tough problems with intelligent, passionate, and creative people.

I find cryptography very interesting, and I have extensive professional in both practical (SSL/TLS, X.509, PGP, HSM, primitives etc), and theoretical (symmetric, asymmetric, zero-knowledge, RSA, ECC, etc) cryptography. I personally find the idea of having security that even the greatest nation-states won’t be able to break in the foreseeable future very empowering and somehow oddly satisfying.

Education

I studied undergraduate mathematics at the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Australia. During my undergraduate years, I studied a lot under the guidance of Dr Yoni Nazarathy and Dr Huy Nguyen to whom I’m indebted for their invaluable advice in life and in maths. I studied courses in mathematics, physics, statistics, and economics among others, and graduated at the top of my class.

I went on exchange to the University of California, Berkeley in the last year of my undergraduate degree where I studied a lot really hard, graduate level things about analysis, differential equations, and differential geometry.

After my undergraduate degree, I moved to Melbourne to study a masters degree in statistics and mathematics at the University of Melbourne. My research was supervised by Peter Taylor and focused on studying the block propagation process of the Bitcoin network and modelling the propagation delay. My thesis is available online and you can download the data and read more about what I did at this dedicated website.

Now I’m working on a PhD at the Data Science Institute of Columbia University.

Hobbies

I play saxophone, most recently in the Engineering Music Society at the University of Melbourne. I’ve been playing saxophone for almost a decade now, switching between alto, tenor, and bari through the years. I played in high school bands, with the Brisbane Symphonic Band, and then the EMS.

I dabble around with creative coding a fair bit. I made, what I reckon, is a cool animation based on this stuff once; and I keep on looking for new ways of using algorithms and mathematics to create locally autonomous behaviour that exhibits globally interesting patterns.

I have a weird love for fonts and typography. I’m otherwise not particularly gifted at design and front-end development, but for some reason, I just really appreciate well designed, beautiful, and well chosen fonts; and type in general.

Mission

Two defining features of my character are: a deep curiosity for understanding what drives the world forward; and a need to always be solving new, tough problems. I’m particularly interested in using advanced technology and mathematical modelling to come up with creative solutions and to make awesome products. I find that the projects I work on increasingly rely on data, so I’ve lately been concentrating a lot on machine learning, statistics, and other data related areas. By formal training I’m a mathematician and statistician, but I’ve always had a passion for software engineering. Feel free to get in touch if you like what you see on this site. I’m always open to exploring new things with other creative, smart people.