Stephen P. Tarzia

Stephen P. Tarzia


Northwestern University, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Evanston, IL

PhD in Computer Engineering and Systems division
Thesis: Acoustic sensing of location and user presence on mobile computers
Sep. 2006 to Aug. 2011. Advised by Prof. Peter Dinda

MS in Computer Engineering and Systems division: GPA 4.0,
Oct. 2008. Advised by Prof. Robert P. Dick

Columbia University, Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. New York, NY

BS in Computer Engineering, Magna Cum Laude: cumulative GPA 3.80, Feb. 2005

publications and presentations

conference stats

paper acceptance rates:

MobiSys 2011:18%
ICAC 2010:26%
UbiComp 2009:12%


  • Knight Lab Professional Fellowship (6 month stipend); Northwestern University, 2016.

  • Dr. John N. Nicholson Fellowship (full tuition and stipend); Northwestern University, Fall 2007- Spring 2011.

  • Walter P. Murphy Fellowship (full tuition and stipend); Northwestern University, Fall 2006 - Winter 2007.

  • Magna Cum Laude (top 15% of graduating class); Columbia University, 2005.

research experience

Empathic Systems research, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Aug 2008 to Aug 2011

  • Indoor Localization of Smartphones using Acoustics

    For my thesis work I developed a set of techniques for determining the location of smartphones while indoors (where GPS is unavailable). Specifically, we extract a sound "fingerprint" for the location using the smartphone's microphone. [report] [software]

  • Sonar-based power management system for laptop computers

    We detect presence of computer users using sound rather than relying on mouse and keyboard input. [report] [software]

Supervised by Professors Peter Dinda, Robert Dick and Gokhan Memik

VLSI-CAD research, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Fall 2007 to June 2008

Flow-based voltage assignment for High-level Synthesis

We developed an efficient algorithm to assign discrete voltages to functional units during High-Level Synthesis. [report]

Supervised by Professors Robert Dick and Hai Zhou

Science of Design research, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Fall 2006 to Summer 2007

Formal Methods for Unrealiable Systems

Modeled a simple consensus protocol using the TLA+ language and TLC model-checker [report]. Wrote a probabilistic model checking module for TLC [report].

Supervised by Professors Robert Dick and Hai Zhou

Metrobots group, Columbia University; New York, NY; Summer, Fall 2004

Software Development, Overhead camera 2D object tracking

Enhanced an open-source real-time video processing and vision server (Mezzanine) for use with robotic soccer. Integrated the vision server with existing agent-control software. [report] [software]

Supervised by Professor Elizabeth Sklar

work experience

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Sep 2017 to present

Assistant Department Chair and Lecturer

Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Feb to Aug 2017

Sr. Computational Research Consultant

I helped faculty and Ph.D. students do research involving "big data."

Gun Memorial; Evanston, IL; Dec 2015 to Feb 2017

Founder and Publisher

Created, a website showing photos of U.S. gun violence victims, updated daily. Built a custom content management system. Searched for victim photos every day. Maintained social media presence.

FastModel Sports; Nov 2014 to Nov 2015

VP of Engineering

Led a team that built, tested, and delivered desktop, web, and mobile software used by elite basketball coaches, including all 30 NBA teams.; Chicago, IL; Sep 2014 to Nov 2014

Software Engineer

Implemented key back-end queueing technologies for this global, high-volume digital marketing platform company.

Pumpkin Box LLC; Evanston, IL; May 2014 to Aug 2014

Founder and President

Created, a unique Internet candy store.

Vaporstream, Inc.; Chicago, IL; Sep 2011 to Apr 2014

VP and General Manager of Consumer Products; Nov 2013 to Apr 2014

Responsible for all aspects of Vaporstream's consumer product line -- including marketing, PR, software development, and operations.

VP of Engineering; Jun 2012 to Oct 2013

Hired and managed a team of 8 engineers whose responsibilites include software development, quality assurance, and network operations.

Software Engineer; Sep 2011 to May 2012

Built "Vaporstream Enterprise" iOS app for iPhone and iPad. Participated in to redesign and implementation of the service's backend software and network infrastructure.

Rise Telecom; Chicago, IL; Jan 2006 to Aug 2006

Software Engineering Consultant

Built and tested a complete VoIP service-provider platform using Asterisk, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

Emergent Communications; New Canaan, CT; Jan 2005 to Aug 2006

Solutions Engineer

Evaluated and reported on various IP telephony (VoIP) products. Provided installation and maintenance support for 3Com and Cisco VoIP products. General Linux system administration.

teaching experience

Northwestern University; Evanston, IL

Teaching assistant for EECS311: Data Structures (Spring 2007). Supervised by Professor Chris Riesbeck

Teaching assistant for EECS101: An Introduction to Computer Science for Everyone (Spring 2010). Supervised by Professor Peter Dinda

Amundsen High School and South Shore High School; Chicago, IL; Mar. 31 and Apr. 30, 2009

Guest science teacher.

Taught Earth Science labs through Northwestern’s Meaningful Science Consortium. Supervised by Leslie Lepeska

Trevor Day School; New York, NY; Jan 2005 to May 2005

Lab a dab a do intern

Developed prototype educational software applications in Macromedia Director and MS Visual Studio. Supervised by Stephen H. Lewis

Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP); New York, NY; Spring, Summer 2004

Robotics teacher

Taught high school students computer programming using Lego Mindstorms robotics. Provided classroom assistance for teachers using robotics in Elementary and Middle school classrooms. Assisted in training NYC teachers in the effective classroom use of robotics in a summer workshop. Supervised by Professor Elizabeth Sklar

professional service

selected course projects

VLSI Systems Design course project, Northwestern University; Evanston, IL; Fall 2007

32-bit Radix-4 Kogge-Stone adder in 0.25 micron technology

Schematic capture and layout were done with Mentor Graphics Falcon Framework CAD tools.

This work was done in collaboration with two other students and was supervised by Ryan Cortez and Professor Yehia Ismail.

Embedded Systems Design course project, Columbia Univerisity; New York, NY; Spring 2004

Vehicle Data Acquisition and Telemetry System

Worked with a team of electrical engineering students to design and prototype an onboard data acquisition system for a formula-style racecar. The sampled data were wirelessly transmitted to a pit computer for display. [report]

Supervised by Professor Stephen A. Edwards