Hello! Please call me William. My last name, Qian, is pronounced /t͡ɕʰi̯ɛn³⁵/ in IPA. Please refer to the Wikitionary page for 钱 for audio clips and pronunciation guides.
Some quick facts about me:
  • I was made in China (like a lot of stuff in the US). I became a naturalized citizen of the US in 2016.
  • I recently celebrated my nth 25th birthday, for some n ≥ 1.
  • My dog's name is Winston. It's a corruption of a portmanteau of Whitney Houston.
  • My nepenthes plants serve both ornamental and pest control purposes.
  • I regularly consume 1 to 2 liters of bean juice a day.
  • I tend to not really enjoy table sugar or most sugary foods, fake sugar included.
  • I do enjoy fruit. Durian and mangoes rank high on my list.
  • I neither like nor like to consume apples, Apples, or iDevices.
  • Scarves are both fashion statements and practical accessories to me.
  • I speak en_US and zh_CN pretty fluently. I have working knowledge of ja.
  • I am attempting (rather unsuccessfully) to learn ko_KR, fr_FR, de_DE, it_IT, and es_ES.

résumé and curriculum vitae


Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science, Harvard University, 2023
Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science; Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2016
Pedagogy Fellow; Teaching Fellow for ES301: SEAS Teaching Practicum, Harvard University, Fall 2021—Spring 2022
Teaching Fellow for CS61: Systems Programming and Machine Organization, Harvard University, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, and Fall 2020
Teaching Assistant for 6.172: Performance Engineering of Software Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fall 2015
Teaching Assistant for 6.005: Software Construction, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, and Spring 2016


Research Developer, [Redacted], 2022—2023
Software Engineer in Talent Discovery, Gem Software, Inc., 2022—2022
Software Engineering Intern in SQL Pipeline Streaming, Google, LLC, 2019
Software Engineer in Magma, Facebook, Inc., 2016—2017
Software Engineering Intern in Google Cloud Dataflow, Google, Inc., 2015
Software Engineering Intern in User Growth, Quora, Inc., 2014


Candidate Referee, US Rowing, 2022—present
Educational Counselor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2017—present
Advisor/Alum/Officer, HMMT, 2015—present
Co-President of Harvard SEAS Graduate Council, Harvard University, 2019—2021
Committee on Curricula, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2015—2016
EECS Faculty Search Committee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014—2015

projects and interests

American Software Society (active)

A nonprofit corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia with a mission to popularize basic computing and programming skills in the general public. See more at amsws.org.

Maru (active)

A horizontally autoscaling website and webtools platform, designed for HMMT. Using a Function-as-a-Service (FaaS) serverless computing model, Maru scales as much as the database can.

Software Transactional Objects (STO) (inactive)

Software transactional memory, but using object semantics instead of memory addresses to reduce bookkeeping overhead. My doctoral thesis focused on concurrency control optimizations for STO.

Concurrent Skip Quadtrees (inactive)

Lock-free skip quadtree implementation in C using (hardware) transactional memory for lock elision. Won a 3rd place poster award at MIT's 2015 EECScon.

Pjango (inactive)

A model-view-controller framework written in PHP, designed to work with Django's templating system. Copyrighted in 2013, though development effectively stopped in 2014.

concurrency and parallelism

I enjoy working on shared memory concurrency and parallelism projects. Lock-free and wait-free data structures fascinate me. I especially enjoy talking about concurrent data structures and transactional memory.

teaching and mentoring

I learned a lot about software engineering outside of coursework and I like to pass some of that knowledge along. I taught classes as a teaching assistant and as an instructor as both an undergrad and a grad student. I now practice this mostly through mentorship. From younger engineers at my workplace to current students through the American Software Society's programs, I make sure to provide the mentorship and guidance that I wish I had when I was in my late teens/early twenties.


I don't really do too much here. Any advocacy I do is fairly low-key and usually directed toward improving the standard of education for math and computing. I hope to see a world where students are taught how to use mathematical and computing tools more than manually conducting those computations themselves. In my ideal vision for the future, everyone has enough basic computing skills to be able to whip up a quick program or build some simple tool for their computational uses. There's no need to be able to manually compute much more than a general approximation to ensure that the machine-computed result seems trustworthy. (This still requires knowing some theorems and formulae, as well as a solid mathematical foundation.)