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Fernando Torre, PhD
Computer Scientist, UI Developer, Teacher, Language Learner, Nerd, Amateur Triathlete, Father
Projects

Engoo and DMM Eikaiwa

Our team developed a world-class video conferencing platform used by over 10,000 teachers to teach online language classes (primarily English) to over 80,000 students, totaling over 12 million lessons per year.

Online Lesson Platform

DMM Online English lessons

I worked on various parts of the UI used for online lessons, video conferencing, and the login flow. I also advocated for and fixed various accessibility issues.

Skills used: React, Typescript, CSS, Git, WCAG

Teacher Recruitment UI

Engoo Recruitment site screenshot

I became the lead developer for all parts of our site dedicated to recruiting new teachers, a process that sees thousands of applications every month. This included improving the teacher signup flow, which involves recording answers to interview questions. It also required collaborating across time zones with the recruitment team to understand their internal processes and needs.

Skills used: React, Typescript, CSS, Working with Distributed Teams

Embedded Contract Signing

screenshot of contract invitation screenshot of embedded contract

Our service brought in hundreds of teachers every month. In order to streamline this process, I led the development of an integrated contract signing solution, allowing us to embed an external contract signing service within our own site, automate many of the steps, and enable management of the contracts on our site.

Skills used: React, Typescript, CSS, Wireframing, External APIs

Perapera Labs

The goal of this project was to build a software tool to aid serious learners of Japanese in mastering vocabulary and reading. Our mobile application used spaced repetition learning techniques to help users study the vocabulary and grammar required to read specific chapters and then used image pattern recognition to detect pages on physical books in order to show the dialogue together with translations and culture notes. In addition to the business-related responsibilities, I worked on the following technical projects within Perapera Labs:

Design

paper prototypes

I designed the mobile application, starting with gathering requirements, talking with potential users, and creating various iterations of paper prototypes.

Skills used: Prototyping, User Interviews

Android App

screenshot of mobile app home screen screenshot of mobile app study page screenshot of mobile app dialogue study page

I did all of the programming for the Android app. With the app, users could study Japanese language flashcards, track their progress, and use reading tools while reading manga (Japanese comic books).

Skills used: UI Design, Java, Android Platform, XML, SQLite

Internal Editor

screenshot of internal vocabulary database UI screenshot of dialogue study editor

In order to create the study aids for our application, we needed a custom editor that would allow us to create more relevant connections between objects (such as annotating when a flashcard appeared in a sentence).

I created an MVP (minimum viable product) that had enough functionality to allow us to start editing content as soon as possible. With time, I improved the functionality and even started transitioning the editor to a single-page application using React.js.

Skills used: HTML, CSS, jQuery, JSON, React.js, PHP

Cyclopath

As part of the GroupLens Lab, while pursuing my Ph.D., I worked on the Cyclopath project. This geowiki for cyclists in the Twin Cities, MN can be explained as a mix between Google Maps and Wikipedia. Users could not only get cycling routes but could also edit almost every aspect of the map.

Web App

screenshot of Cyclopath app

As one of the developers of the web app, I worked on many bugs and features. My main contribution was the implementation of the tagging system.

Skills used: UI Design, Actionscript, Adobe Flex, Python, PostgreSQL, XML, Linux

Android App

screenshot of mobile app map screenshot of mobile app directions screenshot of mobile app road segment information

I also led the development of the mobile version of Cyclopath. This included choosing which subset of features from the web app should be available on the mobile app.

Skills used: UI Design, Java, Android Platform, XML, SQLite

Cyclopath for Dalian

screenshot of Dalian version of Cyclopath app

For the purpose of user studies in China, I led the development of an experimental version of Cyclopath for Dalian, China.

Skills used: Localization (l10n), Internationalization (i18n), Actionscript, Adobe Flex, Python, PostgreSQL, OSM (Open Street Map) data, Shapefiles

Just for Fun

I often enjoy programming in my spare time, particularly when it means I can make something fun for others to enjoy. Here are some side projects I have worked on.

Fantasy Football Playoff Odds

screenshot of Fantasy Football predictions

Every year I host a Fantasy Football League for friends. In order to help everyone visualize their odds of reaching the playoff round better, I first created an algorithm to predict tournament outcomes based on past team performance. I then created a simple page to show these odds visually, together with changes from week to week.

Skills used: HTML, Javascript, CSS, jQuery, Prediction Models

Slack Emoji Tournament

screenshot of emoji bracket with pun dog selected

As a way to get team members to engage together while working remotely, I hosted a tournament bracket to decide on our favorite custom Slack emojis. I gathered 256 emojis, chose the appropriate seeding, and created a simple site to show results. One of my favorite parts was writing short victory blurbs for every single matchup, which more often than not included relevant puns.

This was so popular that at the beginning of 2023 we hosted another tournament to pick the best new emoji added in 2022.

Skills used: HTML, Javascript, CSS, jQuery, Puns