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[liberationtech] Human Rights Data analysis Group (HRDAG) recruiting computer scientist

Yosem Companys companys at
Tue Feb 21 15:51:26 PST 2012

What we do:

The Human Rights Data analysis Group (HRDAG) develops database
software, data collection strategies, and statistical techniques to
measure human rights atrocities. This technology and analysis is used
by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and
non-governmental human rights organizations around the world.

What you will do:

	• Write computer programs for human rights data analysis projects.
Process, clean, and transform data. Run data standardization and
de-duplication. Write and run statistical analysis in R, including
survey estimation, geospatial analysis, and general linear model
fitting. Maintain and develop our data deduplication (entity
resolution) framework written in python and Java. Write and run web
crawlers and scrapers for data collection. Data archeology: recover
data from ancient files in odd formats. We use free and open source
software whenever possible, but we're pragmatic and work with what our
human rights monitoring and advocacy partners need, so our environment
is a pretty eclectic mix.
	• Design and implement data visualizations, including everything from
simple static charts and maps to custom interactive visualizations on
the web. Familiarity with python, R, and JavaScript libraries for
charting, mapping, and vis is helpful.
	• Maintain and develop our team's automated data processing and
analysis infrastructure (POSIX-environment command line tools built on
bash, make, python, and R).
	• Maintain and develop our team's internal groupware websites: a
MoinMoin wiki, a rietveld code review deployment, and several small
custom sites built on Django.
	• Teach good programming practice and provide general programming and
tech support (everything beyond basic IT stuff) to the rest of the
team, who are experts in statistics and social science with varying
degrees of techiness. Perform a little bit of GNU/Linux system
	• Write technical descriptions of HRP methods and projects at many
levels of detail for academic publications, white papers, grant
applications, grant reports, and internal documentation. Automate
generation of publications based on data using LaTeX and Sweave. Give
technical and non-technical presentations of HRP projects at
	• Coordinate analysis and writing work with human rights monitoring
and advocacy organizations, academic collaborators, and courts
throughout the world.
You will work at Benetech's Palo Alto office; some domestic and
international travel may be required.


	• Bachelor's or Master's degree in computer science, electrical
engineering, or closely related field with a programming focus, plus
at least five years related experience post-Bachelor's. PhD a plus.
	• High level of attention to detail, strong organizational skills,
and ability to balance/manage multiple simultaneous tasks on your own.
	• Skill areas: Small to medium scale programming, with an emphasis on
readability and maintainability. Qualitative text mining & analysis.
Distributed and parallel algorithms, machine learning, computer
security & crypto, data visualization, web programming, and
	• Demonstrated strong skill programming in Python and R.
	• Demonstrated skill with Java, LaTeX, HTML/CSS, and JavaScript.
	• Experience with or ability to quickly get up to speed with: bash
scripting, make, SWeave, BibTex, Weka, svn, Django, and xml
	• Experience with unicode, unusual character encodings, and handling
non-latin charater sets.
	• If hired, ability to provide proof of eligibility to work in the
United States.

Also helpful:
	• Interest in and comfort with languages other than English,
especially Spanish, French, Russian, or Arabic. Knowledge of or
fluency in other languages is **not** necessary, but in your
CV/resume, please note your level of skill (reading/writing/speaking)
in any languages other than English.

How to apply: Send a cover letter, a CV/resume, and a description of
an interesting piece of software you've written to hr at
Please include the position number HRP-CS in the subject line. Please
use open file formats (PDF is fine). In the cover letter, please
explain what interests you about the Benetech Human Rights Program. We
are especially interested to hear comments on our work (available on Tell us how you would strengthen our team.
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