William (Wm) Leler

email: wm @ leler.com

Goals and Strengths

I thrive on challenging and innovative projects with a good team that works hard and has fun. I am especially interested in projects involving advanced web technologies, (Web Components, Functional Reactive Programming, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS3), 3D and 2D graphics (WebGL, SVG, etc.), mapping (Leaflet, Google Maps, OSM, Google Earth, etc.), animation and visualization (jQuery, D3, etc.).

I have deep experience in all phases of product development, including brainstorming, market research, architecture, design, specification, rapid prototyping, development, testing, deployment, evangelism, developer relations, and professional services. I have started several successful computer companies.


Google Inc., Mountain View, CA. Senior Software Engineer, June 2014 to present. Web apps, mobile apps, and interactive maps for Google's new travel planning products. Project to build infrastructure and tools for the next generation of distributed applications including the Internet of Things, advanced security, distributed naming, and IndieWeb.

Zat LLC, Portland, OR. President and Founder, June 2013 to May 2014. Building custom travel webapps for airlines and airports, using advanced web technologies.

FlightStats, Inc, Portland, OR. Principal Engineer, September 2011 to June 2013. Webapps and mobile apps for mapping and data visualization using JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, Leaflet, TileMill, Google Maps, TileStache, Node.js, git, and related software. Skills used include system architecture and design, animation, interactive maps, mobile, responsive design. Specified and implemented map infrastructure. Delivered talks and wrote articles representing the company. http://flightstats.com

Contrary Capital, LLC, Portland, OR. January 2002 to September 2011. My business that helped start companies. Examples: Co-founder and CTO of Simply Local TV, a startup enabling local (location-based) digital signage advertising; Co-founder and CTO of DigiSlice, Inc., a startup that sold component-based enterprise applications and tools.

Emota.net, Mountain View, CA. CTO, December 2009 to July 2011. Advanced web applications supporting social networks for seniors to improve healthcare outcomes. Groundbreaking work on implicit communication, peripheral awareness, and minimal communication. Specified, designed, and programmed innovative interactive webapps using Javascript, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, SVG, Node.js, Drupal, and animation. Also built mobile, multi-touch interfaces.

Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff, Alberta, Canada. June 1996 to December 2007 and September 1990 to May 1991. Staff, Consultant, Advisor. Helped define major programs on interactive web content and virtual reality for one of the most prestegious art institutions in the world. Worked with artists, wrote proposals, defined program directions. Collaborations with companies including Apple, RealWorld, Microsoft, Sun, Interval Research, Silicon Graphics, and dozens of others. Named a Banff Centre Fellow in 2007. http://www.banffcentre.ca/

The eMarket Group, Portland, OR. December 2001 to February 2006. CEO and member of Board of Directors for multi-million dollar e-commerce company. Company handled all aspects of e-commerce and merchandising for large media clients, including HBO, Sony, Amazon, Paramount, Tribune Media, Douglas Adams, and many others. Raised money, reorganized company, brought in major new contracts. Company was recognized by Internet Retailer magazine as one of the Top 300 Retail Web Sites, and the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies.

Zat, Inc, Portland, OR. August 1996 to March 2001. Founder, President, and CTO of a company that developed and sold solutions for component-based distributed-application assembly in Java. Formed company, built team, acquired funding, assembled technical advisory board containing industry luminaries (Andries van Dam, Adele Goldberg), designed and built web site, managed employees, performed marketing and sales duties. Product was awarded "Programming Tool of the Year" at the Web '99 conference. In June, 2000, Zat was acquired in a deal valued in the mid 8 figure range, which I negotiated.

Ithaca Software / Autodesk, Alameda, CA. May 1991 to May 1996. Recruited by Carl Bass to join startup company to define future products. Technical lead and chief designer on project to define and build tools for developing distributed graphics applications based on components. Wrote successful book on company's flagship product. Company was acquired by Autodesk. Carl is now CEO of Autodesk.

The Instruction Set, London, England, and Instantiations, Portland, OR. 1989 to 1991. Wrote and presented courses internationally on object-oriented design, C++, and object-oriented databases.

Cogent Research, Portland, OR. 1988 to 1990. Built and managed graphics group for startup company. Company created a line of distributed graphics computers, including hardware and software. Designed the underlying parallel technology for, and was part of the team that developed a distributed version of the UNIX operating system, including a distributed window system and user interface.

Oregon Graduate Institute (now OHSU), Portland, OR. 1985 to 1988. Taught graduate-level courses on computer graphics and parallel programming.

Tektronix Computer Research Lab, Portland, OR. 1983 to 1988. Member of Technical Staff. Research and development work on constraint languages and user interfaces. Products included first interactive graphical interface for symbolic algebra systems, MECAD and EECAD systems based on constraints.

Texas Instruments, Houston, TX. 1977 to 1980. Led graphics group in Geophysical Services Division. Assembled and managed the team that developed the world's first interactive 3D graphics workstation for seismic interpretation. This pioneering product set the standard that is now the dominant technology used for oil exploration, a multi-billion dollar market.


Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Emphasis on computer languages, distributed programming, and computer graphics. 4.0 GPA. Research and teaching assistant for Fred "Mythical Man Month" Brooks, who was also on my thesis committee.

Graduate-level courses at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Oregon Graduate Institute.

B.A. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University, with emphasis on computer hardware and social modeling.

B.A. in Fine Arts from Rice University, with emphasis on computer graphics, film making, and photography.

Professional Activities

Presented workshops on building mapping applications at NACIS (North American Cartographic Information Society) and at GIS in Action conferences. See http://www.slideshare.net/wmleler/presentations.

Entrepreneur in Residence for the Open Technology Business Center, an incubator for technology start-ups. 2006 to 2011. http://www.otbc.org

Director of Open Tech Space, 2008 to 2010. A non-profit that creates spaces to bring together creative types, technologists, and business types. Ran the electronics lab at TechShop, raised funding, sponsored courses. http://opentechspace.org

University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand. 2004 to 2005. Visiting Researcher.

University of Manchester. Manchester, England. 1988 to 1989. Honorary Research Fellow. Performed research on distributed software and hardware, supervised students.

Proposed and presented session at JavaOne conference on application assembly.

Member of GAF (Graphics Application Framework), a cross-industry working group assembled by Andries van Dam (Brown University) and Salim Abbi-Ezzi (Microsoft and Sun Microsystems) to design the next frameworks for object-oriented computer graphics.

Taught course at SIGGRAPH (international computer graphics conference) on distributed computer graphics.

Independently designed, implemented, and distributed Bertrand, the first constraint programming language.

Program committee for Eurographics conference on object-oriented graphics.

Course reviewer for SIGGRAPH for many years.

Resident of Leighton Artist Colony, Banff Centre for the Arts, summer 1986.

Major Publications

The top seven alternatives to the Google Maps API. 2012. Article on switching from Google Maps to (mostly) free alternatives.

3D with HOOPS. Book published by Addison-Wesley in 1996, on how to write 3D computer graphics applications.

Chapter in book Object-oriented Programming for Graphics, published by Springer-Verlag in 1995.

Actor-Based Simulation + Linda = Virtual Environments. Second Eurographics Workshop on Object-Oriented Graphics, 1991. Using distributed simulation techniques to build virtual reality systems.

Linda Meets UNIX. Paper published in IEEE Computer Magazine in Feb. 1990 on a distributed version of the UNIX operating system and its user interface.

Constraint Programming Languages - their specification and generation. Book published by Addison-Wesley in 1988. This was the first book published on constraint languages, and introduced Bertrand, a novel system that used augmented term rewriting to generate domain-specific constraint solving systems. Constraint systems are now heavily used in such diverse markets as computer-aided design (CAD) and commodities trading.

An Interactive Graphical Interface for Symbolic Algebra Systems. With Neil Soiffer. AAECC 1985. First interactive graphical interface for computer algebra systems.

A Small, High-Speed Dataflow Processor. International Conference on Parallel Processing 1983. Design of a high-speed parallel processor.

Human Vision, Anti-Aliasing, and the Cheap 4000 Line Display. SIGGRAPH conference, 1980. Seminal paper on the human visual system and how to take advantage of it to simulate high resolution displays.

Numerous papers presented at conferences and workshops on distributed computing, virtual reality, mapping, computer languages, and object-oriented graphics.


Interactive system for component assembly, used for generating enterprise applications, interactive multimedia applications, and web applications. 2000

Part of team that created first desktop parallel supercomputer, including a distributed version of the UNIX operating system and a distributed window interface. 1990

System for generating book indexes for Troff documents. 1986

First Turing-complete constraint language, described in first book on constraint languages. 1986

First interactive graphical interface for symbolic algebra systems. 1985

First interactive graphics workstation for 3D oil exploration. 1979

Designed and built hardware and software for first interactive system to allow television stations to display election results in near-real time. 1977

Ghostwriter VLSI chip for interactive toy. 1981

First computer generated hologram. 1977


Travel, photography, performing music, politics.