My name is Huy Nguyen. I’m currently a Growth Lab Fellow at the Center for International Development (CID), an economics think-tank at Harvard University. At the CID, I lead the front-end development of the Atlas of Economic Complexity, a data visualization platform that allows people to explore global trade flows across 250 countries & 6000 products, track these dynamics over time and discover new growth opportunities.
The Atlas receives 15,000 unique visits a month from a diverse user base of policy makers, students, researchers, journalists and investors. It is named the #1 data source for international development research according to the Guardian newspaper. In November 2018, the Atlas was one of ten visualizations shortlisted in the Politics & Global category of the Information is Beautiful Awards.
Before coming to the CID, I was a Front-End Developer at the data visualization firm Periscopic where I worked on projects for major clients like the US Patents & Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Gates Foundation. In particular, the PatentsView data visualization platform (developed for the USPTO) was featured by the Obama White House as an example of excellence in making government data accessible to the public.
I’m passionate about making beautiful, engaging and high-performance web applications using the latest web technologies. In my code, besides functionality, I always strive for simplicity, efficiency, modularity, maintainability and expressiveness. I’m a huge fan of React, TypeScript, and some day I might just be able to master Haskell. I’m currently interested in exploring two broad areas in software development. One is how functional, statically-typed programming languages can help developers write less error-prone and maybe even provably correct web applications. The other is how GPU-related technologies, such as WebGL and its successor, can enable much higher performance data visualizations in the browser.
I graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Physics from Reed College in Portland, OR. In my undergraduate thesis, I successfully formulated an algorithm using quantum Monte Carlo to solve an important and challenging model of high-temperature superconductivity and implemented the algorithm to run in parallel on high-performance clusters. The thesis was recognized by the American Physical Society as one of the best undergraduate physics research works in America in 2014, and I am the lead author of a journal paper on the topic.
Fun fact: In college, I held a Senior Reactor Operator license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is very rare for an undergraduate. The license allowed me to operate and supervise operations at the Reed Research Reactor.