Elena Popovici, Ph.D.

Senior Computer Scientist, Project Management, Consulting

Based in Vancouver, BC, Canada


lýno̱ = to solve

-metry = art or science of measuring

About me

Computer Science PhD with a over a dozen years of industry experience managing science-driven projects using algorithms to solve complex, real-world business and engineering problems across a wide variety of domains.  Focused on making a difference in the sustainable energy sector.

Scientific Expertise

  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Data Analysis and Visualization
  • Search & Optimization
  • Evolutionary Computation
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Graph/Network Analysis
  • Text Mining
  • Algorithms, Math, Statistics


  • Energy Management
  • Naval Engineering
  • Fisheries
  • Healthcare
  • Pharma
  • Insurance
  • Advertising
  • & more


  • Applied Science
  • Research
  • Agile Software Development
  • Project Management
  • Cross-functional Team Leadership
  • Mentoring
  • Client Management
  • Consulting


  • Java, Scala, C++, Lisp
  • Python, R, Excel
  • SQL, InfluxDB
  • Shell scripting
  • git, SVN
  • Gephi, NetLogo
  • Jira, Pivotal Tracker
  • & more

Primary Professional Experience

Mar 2018 - Nov 2019, Senior Computer Scientist, Project Lead


Sample Projects

  • Forecasting home electricity consumption and generation – Applying machine learning algorithms using time series of sensor and weather data to predict an individual home's electricity profile in the coming hours/days – Helping design and implement the software architecture to support data retrieval and processing, model training, prediction and evaluation, and whole system performance monitoring
  • Storage optimization - Designing and evaluating custom heuristic optimization algorithms for controlling a battery so as to reduce electricity bills in different utility tariff regimens (time of use, demand charge)

2006-2017, Senior Complexity Scientist, Project Manager


General Responsibilities

  • Work independently or as part of a team on client and internal R&D projects
  • Act as technical lead for small teams
  • Participate in client meetings, learn about the client's domain, build common ground, and help identify the client's needs
  • Scope out project requirements, time estimates and budgets
  • Identify relevant computational, mathematical and statistical techniques
  • Identify potential data sources, from the client or public
  • Develop end-to-end solutions: build models, incorporate data, design and implement algorithms, run simulations, analyze and visualize results
  • Interact with the client on an ongoing basis, building their trust and understanding of the solution
  • Present results of complex analyses in simple actionable terms to non-technical business audiences
  • Produce technical documentation
  • Provide technical support to the business development team
  • Conduct research and development for the generation of intellectual property suitable for patenting, licensing or sales
  • Keep up to date with the state-of-the-art in relevant scientific fields

Sample Projects

  • Design of Resilient Water-Distribution Networks – Developed and applied evolutionary and co-evolutionary algorithms to automate the placement of smart-valves in ship-based piping networks, so as to optimize damage/fault resilience; also to automate the design of control algorithms – Conducted theoretical research into co-optimization algorithms  – Published results in peer-reviewed scientific conferences and journals – To be transitioned from applied research to technology development by the US Office of Naval Research.
  • Healthcare Data Analysis and Visualization – Conducted exploratory data analysis of US Medicare-released data to gain insights into hospital usage. Developed interactive visualizations for navigating the data – Conducted statistical analysis of proprietary patient data to identify potential drivers of cancer survivability (Client: large international pharmaceuticals company).
  • Personnel Planning - Developed fast constraint optimization heuristics for grouping work tasks on Navy ships in a way that minimizes costs while improving schedule desirability for sailors; compared to previous algorithms, reduced runtime by as much as two orders of magnitude while also improving solution quality.
  • Blog-Network Analysis – Performed connectivity analysis and text mining for a large internet network of food-related blogs; implemented network clustering algorithms to detect communities of blogs and visualized results – Used by large food manufacturing company to assess online opinion of their brand, and which blogs are most influential.
  • Fisheries Supply Chain Modeling – Co-developed open-source agent-based model and web-based simulation of the operation of a value chain moving tuna from a small-scale fishery all the way to consumers, through intermediaries and markets – Analyzed the impact of hypothetical interventions, to assist the Rockefeller Foundation with decision-making for their initiatives in support of sustainability of fish stocks and maintaining livelihoods of traditional tuna fishers.
  • Text Visualization – Co-developed algorithms for multi-source text analysis and visualization, including extraction of salient features in the form of a network of words, detection of network clusters, and computation of network layout for display – Co-author on US patent – Technology was spun off as a start-up company (Infomous.com), whose clients include The Economist and Washington Post, and whose dynamic word “clouds” have been featured on blogs, news and social network sites all over the world.
  • Strategic Portfolio Planning – Co-developed agent-based simulation of the operation of a drug-development pipeline – Developed evolutionary algorithms to automate the search for optimal portfolio strategies (fiscal, resource acquisition and allocation, R&D, portfolio management, deal making) – Designed and recorded screencast tutorials for the software – Resulting tool is actively used by large pharmaceutical company for long-range planning.
  • Route Optimization – Developed dynamic programming algorithm for optimizing traversal order of street segments on a postal route – Incorporated in tool actively used for route design by the French postal system.
  • Fuel Pricing – Performed statistical analysis to investigate drivers of competitor pricing strategies – Developed evolutionary algorithms to predict unusual price movement – Client: large international petroleum company.
  • Financing Term-sheet Optimization – Developed evolutionary algorithms to search for term-sheets optimizing fairness of economic outcomes (e.g. capitalization tables) under multiple scenarios (e.g. IPO, liquidation) – Incorporated in tool built in collaboration with The Law Lab at Harvard University.
  • Contextual Advertising – Developed software architecture and information retrieval algorithms to match relevant ads from a database to words in a network-based text visualization (see above).
  • Consumer Decision-Making – Co-developed simulation of how US seniors choose a private health-insurance plan, to help insurance companies drive plan design by predicted market share – Implemented evolutionary algorithms to calibrate model parameters using historic data – Resulting tool sold to large US health-insurance company (Humana).
  • Market Access – Co-developed simulation of the process whereby typical decision committees at private health-insurance companies select drugs to cover; developed evolutionary algorithms to calibrate model parameters using historic data – Resulting tool is actively used by large drug-development company to predict the likelihood that a given drug in early clinical testing stages will be covered, once on the market, by various health-insurance companies.

Professional Accomplishments

  • Over fifteen peer-reviewed publications, including ones that were nominated for and received Best Paper awards; continued to publish while working in the industry
  • Generated Intellectual Property material that was patented in the US and Europe
  • Co-organizing the Data Science for Social Good talk series
  • Volunteering with the BC Sustainable Energy Association
  • Competed in and won awards at various algorithmic and programming competitions (e.g. ACM, Topcoder), and was awarded multiple merit scholarships during academic studies (complete list available upon request)
  • Developed and delivered technical tutorials at conferences, and invited talks for various groups or events (see News page for recent activities, complete list available upon request)
  • Actively reviewing for journals and conferences
  • Served as Local Chair for the 2014 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, held in Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Actively continuing self-education on both technical topics and soft skills through online courses (e.g. on Coursera), conference attendance, professional associations and local professional meetup groups



PhD in Computer Science, 2006 (GPA 3.95; Dissertation: An Analysis of Two-Population Coevolutionary Computation; Advisor: Kenneth De Jong)

AL. I. CUZA UNIVERSITY – Iasi, Romania

MS in Computer Science, 2000 (GPA 3.66; Thesis: A Social Mutation Operator for Genetic Algorithms; Advisor: Henri Luchian)

BS in Computer Science, 1999 (GPA 3.97; Thesis: Unsupervised Matrix Cross-clustering Using Genetic Algorithms; Advisor: Henri Luchian)

Other Professional Experience

2002–2006 (except Fall 2003), Research Assistant

EVOLUTIONARY COMPUTATION LAB, Computer Science Department, George Mason University – Fairfax, VA, USA

ADAPTIVE SYSTEMS LABORATORY, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University – Fairfax, VA, USA

  • Conducted research and development of various agent-based modeling and evolutionary computation techniques; applications included: finding the most damaging release point for hazardous materials in a given environment (optimization around a computational fluid dynamics simulation), modeling network intrusion and counter-measures, modeling spread of disease through the human body.

2003, Software Engineer R&D


  • Developed protocol specifications and UI components for the company's software product, one of the first media players with copyrighted-content protection.

2003, Computer Instructor


  • Taught a one-month intensive introductory course to Java programming.

2001–2002, Teaching Assistant

COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT, George Mason University – Fairfax, VA, USA

  • Held student office hours and graded homework for the graduate level Artificial Intelligence class.

2000–2001, Research Assistant

LEARNING AGENTS LAB, George Mason University – Fairfax, VA, USA

  • Developed modules within the lab's software platform, an ontology-based learning agent called Disciple. Used Lisp and Java.

1999–2000, Software Developer

ARTINFO SRL – Iasi, Romania

  • Contributed to the development of the company's main software product, IdealeNT, an enterprise resource-management tool with a client-server architecture and a back-end database with over 700 tables. Used C++ and SQL Server.