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The homepage of George Lesica. I’m a resident of Missoula, MT, one of the most remarkable cities in the world (in my opinion). I’m a software developer and recovering economist. I enjoy hiking, running, riding my bike to work, craft beer, and fancy programming languages.

I also have a page of interesting quotes. Well, interesting to me, anyway.

Feel free to reach out via email or LinkedIn if you want to talk. I especially enjoy helping young people get started in the software industry. I have acted as a mentor on several occasions and I devote a significant amount of time to outreach and recruiting. I am also particularly passionate about increasing diversity and representation in the computing field.

Self portrait looking quizzical

Below you’ll find an outline of some of the things that make me “tick”. Projects, either ongoing or complete, with which I am proud to be associated.

Noteworthy Projects

These are in no particular order and some are ongoing, as you might guess from the descriptions.

Instructor, Special Topics - Software Testing (Fall 2018) - I designed and taught a special topics course (CSCI 391) on software testing at the University of Montana. The course covered a variety of topics, most of which are described in the online notes, related to software reliability and testing, including some less obvious subjects like static analysis and type systems. I used the open source textbook written by Bill Laboon at CMU, along with assorted other readings. Currently, I’m planning to deliver an updated, 400-level version of the course for spring 2021.

Co-organizer, Missoula Tech - A group of tech industry folks in a wide variety of roles from across Montana, centered in Missoula, MT. We organize social, educational, and technical events. There’s also an active Slack workspace. Come check us out at https://missoula.tech/.

A Missoula Tech meetup

Co-founder, Code for Montana - A chapter of the Code for America organization focused on issues and problems that are important to Montanans. Right now we’re involved in a project to improve access to, and collaboration between non-profit organizations. You can check out the code so far on GitHub.

We are also involved in an ongoing project to improve the technical literacy of staff at local non-profits through personalized training and consultation provided by tech industry volunteers.

Code for Montana

Co-author, The Economics of Seinfeld - A web site that uses clips from the popular ’90s sitcom “Seinfeld” to teach economics. The site is used widely at the high school and university levels and has helped inspire a whole sub-genre of economics teaching tools based on pop culture. Check out the site at http://yadayadayadaecon.com or the publication in the Journal of Economic Education.

The Economics of Seinfeld

Co-founder, Datamaglia - A recommender system startup a friend of mine and I did awhile back. We built some pretty neat technology on top of a graph database and got to participate in Start-Up Chile, which meant that we got to live in Santiago, Chile for about eight months. Alas, we made mistakes, and while we still think our idea was sound (AWS and Azure have both launched vaguely similar products in the years since) we didn’t get sufficient traction.

At the university in Concepcion, Chile

Open Source Author and Maintainer - I have written several mildly popular software packages and I help maintain a rotating cast of other, more popular, packages. I’m currently the primary maintainer for the Testify testing package for the Go programming language. I originally wrote the Julia language driver for the Neo4j database, although it has since been forked and improved by others. I also wrote a tool called DCDG that will automatically generate a class diagram from Dart source code.

Day Job

At the moment, I’m employed as a Senior Software Engineer for Wheeler Lab at the University of Montana. Most of our work involves applying machine learning techniques to bioinformatics problems. In particular, we are working to improve the accuracy of DNA and protein sequence alignments. This work has broad potential implications in areas as diverse as agriculture, management of viral epidemics, and the treatment of genetic disorders.

An example model visualization

Much of our code is written by student researchers (undergraduate and graduate) who have relatively little experience building “real” software. My job is twofold. First, make sure that the software released by the lab is performant, free of serious bugs, and readily usable by the broader scientific community. Second, help ensure that our students achieve their educational, research, and professional goals and (hopefully) learn a little (or a lot) about software development in the process.


A George Lesica joint