Ben Sima <ben@bsima.me>

I create technical solutions to complex business problems.

I have experience in web apps, data science and visualization, statistics and bioinformatics, and ecommerce applications. With professional experience in half a dozen languages, I’m a fast learner with good decision making skills. I use open source software and I contribute back to the community wherever the opportunity arises.

If you want to hire me, contact me here.

How I Create Business Value

A brief overview:


Liaison hired me as a contractor originally to help with their Clojure codebase. When I adopted the code, I discovered that it was basically Java written with s-expressions; lots of call-backs and use of promises that is not entirely idiomatic Clojure (there was actually a half-baked object system made out of hashmaps and strings, presumably to make the previous Java developer feel more at home). I refactored the entire codebase and produced a prototype in 2 months that did all of the required features in-memory using core.async channels (communicating sequential processes). I separated the codebase into clearly-defined modules and functional abstractions, using the native tools for creating abstractions that Clojure has as part of it’s core language. After those 2 months of prototyping, the rest of the time on the job has been spent extracting the in-memory processes into microservices distributed across a private cloud cluster, improving or adding new microservices (authentication, etc), tuning performance and tweaking the design to changing specifications. I also spent some time writing a couple AI-related libraries and services.


I was hired by WholeLatteLove.com to work on a Rails ecommerce app. I was tasked with resolving differences between a private fork of the Spree ecommerce engine and their public fork, as well as upgrading to the latest version. This involved re-implementing half-a-dozen features, improving reliability, constructing a test pipeline, digging through git logs to find the reasons that certain changes were made, and then making architectural decisions on how to move forward. This re-working project took about 4 months, overall; about 2 months were spent on different features altogether, so 6 months total.


Botangle is a tutoring web app written in PHP. Me and another developer teamed up to revive a codebase that was left incomplete and overdue by some off-shore dev team. We implemented payments, user accounts, video conferencing, and fixed up much of codebase to get it into production as quickly as possible.

Please continue on to the “Work History” section for a complete listing of my employment.

Ben’s TechStack Matrix
Technology Work Side-projects
Apache Hadoop x
Apache Hbase x
Apache Kafka x
Angular2 x
C/C++ x
Chef/Ansible x x
Clojure x x
Common Lisp x
Docker x
Elm x x
Git x x
Haskell x
Java x
Linux x x
ElasticSearch x
NixOS x
OCaml x
PostgreSQL x x
Python x x
Ruby on Rails x
Scheme x
Shen x
TypeScript x

Work History

Software Engineer, Liaison Technologies, 2015 – present

I designed and implemented a distributed, streaming, immutable, event-sourced cloud database for semi-structured enterprise data, plus a few AI-based microservices for extracting structured intel out of the semi-structured streams of data in our database. The business goal is to flexibly extract intelligible data from customers’ data banks. Everything is done in Clojure, on a private cloud infrastructure with Docker containers as deployable microservices.

Software Engineer, Thermo Fisher, 2017

A short contract job that involved writing services and UIs for creating and running hardware tests on all of Thermo Fisher’s equipment. The application allowed field technicians to collaborate on custom diagnostic tests for each instrument, connect to any instrument on the network, run tests remotely or on-site, etc. The end product is deployed as a Docker container onto mostly Windows machines used by Thermo Fisher technicians. Tech stack: Typescript UI, Python backend, CouchDB datastore.

Software Engineer, WholeLatteLove.com, 2015

As a full-stack developer, I was responsible for the DevOps workflow on AWS and legacy servers, setting up and doing deployments, diagnosing and fixing bugs, managing a git workflow between in-office and remote developers, and coding new features on both the frontend and backend.

  • Designed a front-end notifications system (CoffeeScript/JavaScript) to integrate with the Rails “flash” notifications.
  • Moved a legacy Rails app from a small, unreliable data center to AWS, complete with continuous integration, continuous deployment, and automated testing with an external provider.
  • Updated a large Rails ecommerce engine we depend on, Spree, which required resolving changes made to a fork of Spree and bringing us back onto the main codebase.
  • Developed a data generator to easily replicate our production environment in staging.
  • Created a suite of simulation tests for our legacy order processing systems using the Clojure framework Simulant.

Lead Developer, Nebula Bio (Open Source Project), 2014 – 2016

With a biomedical engineer partner, I was developing an open source, low cost, portable blood analyswas platform. Our goal was to be the “Arduino of biotech”. All development was done on GitHub.

  • Designed a POSIX-compatible driver for a custom potentiostat.
  • Created a custom crowdfunding webapp with a REST API in Clojure, deployed on Heroku.
  • Created a GUI in Python for the driver, and beginning beta testing with crowdfunders/customers.
  • Lead and handle all project management and financial aspects of the project.

Mentor in Data Science and Web Apps, Thinkful, 2014 – 2015

Taught data science and full-stack web development with Python to new and intermediate students. I also helped develop their curriculum by writing tutorials and exercises for each of the courses I taught.

Nebula Sports, 2012 – 2013

An RIT sponsored startup project that lasted for about a year, in which we developed novel headgear padding for athletes. My main role was in guiding the scientific research, while solely managing the fundraising (grants and private investment). In a 4-person team, we developed an algorithm for optimizing our custom padding to a specific position within a specific sport. Patent concerns made us shut down this part of the project. We then prototyped and programmed an accelerometer to be housed inside a helmet and signal to the athlete the severity of an impact. Reebok released their CheckLight product before we finished developing, and so scooped the market. All algorithm programming was done in Matlab.

Freelance Developer, 2012 – 2014

As a freelance developer, I created two ecommerce systems in PHP, a ClojureScript front-end website to be used as a landing page, and worked on an e-magazine site for a local Rochester magazine.


Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 2010 – 2014

Graduated with a degree in Philosophy, while concentrating in biotechnology and pre-med classes. While I was in college I was the founder or president of three clubs, co-created a fitness lab, and conducted bioinformatics research in Perl. I also researched and wrote an extensive thesis on contemporary Levinasian ethics, for which I received high marks from my philosophy thesis advisor.