Who? I’m a software engineer focused on Javascript. In my free time, I do Deep Learning in Python. My code powers projects as diverse as a GPS-tracked fresh produce distribution network, a livechat-based freelancer market that lives inside popular services like Squarespace and Wordpress, a globe-spanning app for community composting, a low-code/no-code back-end-as-a-service, and internal tools for lead prospecting and data gathering. Why work with me? Although I love to build with code, I am a technology minimalist.

Zachary Caceres – Software Engineer


Life is Education 2017: My education is featured in a chapter on grit, self-directed learning, and the power of rule-breaking for the 2017 book Mindshift by Barbara Oakley. Dr. Oakley is the creator of Coursera’s Learning How to Learn, a practical and valuable course. Things don’t always work out the way you expect. I was raised in rural Maryland, where my parents were caretakers of a trailer park.



Recent Projects

SpecAugment (In Pytorch) 2019 | Collaboration with qcai2002 at FastAI 2019 A Pytorch implementation of Google Brain’s SpecAugment: A Simple Data Augmentation Method for Automatic Speech Recognition. As far as I know, this was the first and so far only implementation of this paper in Pytorch. It required porting Tensorflow functionality to Pytorch, including writing many difficult functions from scratch since Pytorch did not support many necessary operations. Blog post

All Life is Problem Solving

Shared on Medium Over time, I’ve been reminded over and over of the phrase: “All life is problem solving.” From birth to death, humans spend our entire lives solving problems. Many of these problems are mundane: ‘I’m hungry.’ ‘Where is it safe to sleep?’ Others are more abstract: ‘How do I solve this equation?’ ‘How do I sell 10,000 widgets?’ ‘How do I cure this disease?’ Philosopher of science Karl Popper first wrote “All life is problem solving”.




Reflections on business projects, failed and successful:


I’ve spoken for audiences in Asia, South America, Central America, North America, Africa, and Europe. Tech Talk: React is Eating the World! NYC A whirlwind tour of the quirky and ever-growing world of React libraries. QuickDrawJS NYC Presentation of QuickDrawJS Wild West typing tutor for programmers, winner of a 40-project hackathon. Ground ControlVR Overview NYC My section begins at 3:45 Overview of the technologies used in an interstellar WebVR simulator about clear communication.


Writing and Essays

Latest Technical: State of the Art Audio Data Augmentation with Google Brain’s SpecAugment and Pytorch Non-technical: Everything You Need To Know About Body Language Deep Learning State of the Art Audio Data Augmentation with Google Brain’s SpecAugment and Pytorch Mini launch post about my Pytorch implementation of Google Brain’s SpecAugment data augmentation technique Better, Faster Speech Recognition with Wav2Letter’s Auto Segmentation Criterion A deep dive into Facebook AI’s ASG Criterion, a new loss function used in speech recognition systems


Cartel What if the classic game SimCity was turned upside down? Cartel was an attempt to invert SimCity and create a city-building game from an entrepreneur’s prospective that simulated supply and demand, market competition, externalities, crime, infrastructure, and an elaborate construction system. Before we ran out of money, Cartel was accepted to the Google/Improbable SpatialOS Games Innovation Program. The Lessons that Games Teach A whole generation learned about cities through Maxis’ SimCity franchise.


Innovating Education from Within Guatemala’s Top University When I left my position at the MPC, the students gave me this video as a going-away present. In late 2014, I got a phone call that would change my life… The host of the project was Universidad Francisco Marroquín, one of the top universities in Central America. In 2012, they had formed an independent department and autonomous profit center to create educational innovation.

Antigua Trading Co.

Exotic Minimalist Leather Goods I went for a long drive, and came back with a business idea. During 2015, I went for a lot of long drives to think and de-stress from working on [the MPC](). One day I went out driving and came upon a remote town with a row of businesses that sold cowboy boots. I stopped to take a look. I was amazed at the intricate designs and the quality of the materials.

Startup Cities

What if Cities Could Progress at the Pace of Technology? La Limonada, a neighborhod that runs what I like to call ‘slum code’. Making Cities More Entrepreneurial Update 2016: My work with Startup Cities was acknowledged by the World Design Organization when I was selected as a judge to choose the World Design Capital 2020. I’ve long been captivated by the positive role that entrepreneurship can play in the lives of others.

Photos and Adventures

Overcoming The Fear of Sounding Dumb in Spanish by Going to Crime Scenes Frustrated by how fearful I was about sounding dumb when I spoke Spanish, I arranged to host and interpret Spanish for an American documentary film team. We were turned down for a ride-along with the municipal paramedics and thought the project was lost. But I was able to talk our way into the central station of Los Voluntarios, a well-known volunteer paramedic force that works in some of the most difficult, dangerous conditions in the world.


Contact Me

Get in touch on Twitter or LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you!