Jaan Tollander de Balsch

Jaan Tollander de Balsch

Computational Scientist

Aalto University

Finland, Espoo

Resume

Jaan Tollander de Balsch is a computational scientist with a background in computer science and applied mathematics. Professionally, he develops software packages for scientific computing using the Julia language and Git-based workflows. He values producing properly-tested and documented software packages with clean APIs that other developers can understand and use. He has applied these skills for developing software packages for simulation algorithms and mathematical optimization models and running code on high-performance computing environments.

Education
  • MSc in Computer Science, 2018 - present

    Aalto University

  • BSc in Applied Mathematics, 2014 - 2018

    Aalto University

Skills

Bold highlights skills with at least one year of practical experience.

Programming

Julia, Python, Bash, C++, C, Haskell, Scala

Technical Writing

Markdown, Hugo, Netlify, LaTeX

Software Engineering

Git, GitHub, Git-based workflows, DevOps

OS & Editors

Linux, Ubuntu, Command line, VSCode, Atom, JetBrains

Computer Science

Algorithm design, Data structures, Scientific computing, Parallel algorithms

Applied Mathematics

Mathematical modeling, Optimization, Numerical analysis, Computer algebra

Interested?

If you find that my expertise could bring value to your company, you can send me an email to discuss my availability and job interview. Currently, I live in Finland, Espoo, and I am capable of remote work. I’m also glad to answer any other questions related to employment!

You can read about my previous work experience, projects, and words from employers in the sections below.

Gamma-Opt

Fabricio Oliveira
Assistant Professor
“Jaan worked several times as a research assistant in summer positions in our group, developing applications related to optimisation. Being such a skilled software developer, he built professional-grade packages that could also be used by other members of the group collaboratively. He still is a member of our group and has made significant contributions in terms of our organisation, building our website and helping maintaining it, as well as our YouTube channel. Jaan is a brilliant young professional, perhaps one of the most talented I ever met, with a rare combination of strong technical and intellectual capabilities and social skills."

Experience

Between 2019 and 2021, I worked summer and part-time jobs at Gamma-Opt, a research group that is also part of the System Analysis Laboratory at Aalto University. In the group, I developed software packages for mathematical optimization models using the Julia language with JuMP modeling library. The models were based on earlier the group’s earlier research. The development included writing detailed documentation, unit tests, and configuring the packages. We used Git-based workflows, such as GitHub Actions, to automatically run unit tests and deploy documentation and GitHub Pages for hosting the documentation. I added links to relevant projects below.

Additionally, I helped to set up the Gamma-Opt website and GitHub team and worked as a course assistant for the Introduction to Optimization course, teaching demo exercises over video at Zoom.


 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jun 2020 – Aug 2020 Helsinki Area, Finland
During summer 2020, I worked on creating, DecisionProgramming.jl, a Julia package for decision programming, based on research done by Ahti Salo, Fabricio Oliveira, Juho Andelmin, and Olli Herrala. Decision programming is a method for solving decision models, representing decision problems under uncertainty, modeled with influence diagrams.
 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jan 2020 – Mar 2020 Helsinki Area, Finland
During spring 2020, I worked with Fabricio Oliveira and Lucas Condeixa on creating, EnergySystemModeling.jl, a Julia package for a transmission capacity expansion model, based on their previous research and outside research.
 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jun 2019 – Aug 2019 Helsinki Area, Finland
During summer 2019, I worked with Fabricio Oliveira on creating, ShelfSpaceAllocation.jl, a Julia package for a retail shelf space allocation model, based on his formulation and outside research. The work included programming the mathematical model, and creating visualizations, heuristics, and documentation.

Crowd Dynamics

Anton von Schantz
Doctoral Student
“Jaan Tollander de Balsch worked as an assistant in my doctoral research. His task was to develop simulation software for modeling crowd movement and evacuation. I soon realized that he takes the initiative and is a hard worker, as he quickly created a working prototype of the software. His best qualities are that he is an enthusiastic guy to work with and has an uplifting character."

Experience

During the summers of 2017 and 2018, I worked in a research group focused on Crowd Dynamics at the Systems Analysis Laboratory in Aalto University. Crowd dynamics refers to the movement of human crowds. My work focused on developing software for simulating crowd dynamics based on existing research results. I implemented the simulation using the Python programming language and its numerical computing packages and wrote an extensive article about implementing the simulation mechanics, which you can read on my website at How to Implement Continuous-Time Multi-Agent Crowd Simulation. All software code is available at the github/crowddynamics, particularly the simulation engine and graphical user interface.


 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jun 2017 – Aug 2017 Helsinki Area, Finland
During summer 2017, I continued development of the crowd dynamics simulation.
 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jun 2016 – Aug 2016 Helsinki Area, Finland
During summer 2016, I began working on developing and researching a simulation software of crowd dynamics with prof. Harri Ehtamo and Anton Von Schantz.

Bachelor’s Thesis

Bachelor’s thesis was my first touch on independent research and numerical analysis. Numerical analysis is a computational approach to exploring the properties of mathematical structures such as functions. I wrote an article based on the thesis at Exploring the Pointwise Convergence of Legendre Series for Piecewise Analytic Functions.

Albeit the scary-sounding title, the idea behind the work was simple. Derive a recursive formula with Legendre polynomials (continuous functions) to approximate non-continuous functions and use the formula to compute large degree polynomial approximations to study the convergence of the approximation error. Finally, compare the results to theoretical predictions.

The thesis work taught me valuable lessons about numerical versus analytical mathematics and made me more confident in my ability to work independently. I also became more interested in the computational approach to science.

 
 
 
 
 
Research Assistant
Jun 2015 – Aug 2015 Helsinki Area, Finland
During summer 2015, I researched and wrote my Bachelor’s thesis, On the Pointwise Convergence of Legendre Polynomials, for the department of mathematics and systems analysis with supervising professor Harri Hakula.