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Alex Bäcker's Wiki / CV
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Page history last edited by Alex Backer, Ph.D. 5 years, 4 months ago

Alex Bäcker, M.S., Ph.D.




• Founder and CEO. 3/07 - Present

Already saved 30M+ users over 1,000 years of waiting. Best Computer Services Company in the USA by both the 2014 and 2013 American Business Awards.


Whozat, The People Search Engine

• Founder and CEO. 12/06 - 2010

277% median quarterly growth since launch. Whozat was named one of the 100 hottest start-ups in the world by famed technology blog TechCrunch. Whozat beat Google and every other search engine tested 3 to 1 or more in results relevance in a blind people search comparison. Prof. Harry Lewis, endowed chair in CS at Harvard; former Dean of Harvard College, wrote in his blog: “Try I learned things about myself I didn’t know. Seriously. And now I’m checking on you.” Whozat is also behind, pioneering the first document-based search engine --one that can search for documents related to a resume (or any document). Left Whozat to focus full time on QLess.


abInventio, the invention factory

• Founder and CEO. 9/06 - Present

Launched QLess and Whozat.


Adapt Technologies, Inc. (sold to WebVisible in 2008)

• Founder and Director. 12/04 – 11/08

• Founder, President and Chief Technology Officer. 11/05 – 07/06.

Boosted the reach of Search Engine Marketing campaigns by up to 580% while simultaneously reducing their cost per action by up to 78%.

• Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer. 12/04 – 10/05.

Grew net revenues by more than 200% every quarter of tenure.


Computational Biology & Evolutionary Computing Department, Sandia National Laboratories

• Principal Investigator, independent research program in linguistics, evolution, olfaction, computation, mathematics, neuroinformatics and bioinformatics. 6/02 – 05/05


Beckman Institute, Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering & Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology

• Visiting scientist. 06/02 – 05/05


Advanced Concepts Group, Sandia National Laboratories

• Member, Brain Team. 11/02 – 11/03


Computation & Neural Systems Program, California Institute of Technology

• Sloan Fellow for Theoretical Neurobiology. Thesis: Pattern recognition in the olfactory system. Priming, gain control and coding issues. 4/96 – 4/02


Sensory Information Processing Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

• Co-designed and co-constructed a video-based remote eye tracker. Advised NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on eyetracker design. 4/97 – 6/97


Christof Koch’s Lab, California Institute of Technology

• Worked on blindsight (behavior without perception) in normal observers.


Cortical Development, Plasticity and Dynamics Laboratory, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Dept., MIT

• Apprenticeship in camera lucida neuroanatomy. 1994


MIT Center for Cancer Research

• Assistantship in mammalian genetics. 1993


Immunogenetics Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Buenos Aires

• Associate Technician, National Council of Scientific and Technical Research. Co-responsible for the set-up and operation of the first cell analyzer & sorter in Argentina. Statistical analysis in the immunogenetical characterization of autoimmune hepatitis (Marcos et al., 1994: Hepatology 19: 1371-1374). 7/91 – 4/93


Institute of Biochemical Investigations, Fundacion Campomar, L.F. Leloir

• Apprenticeship in fungi and bacterial molecular biology and genetics. Assisted in the identification of the promoter for the CAB gene in tobacco. Summers 89/90




Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, Division of Biology and CNS GPA: 3.9/4.0

6/97 – 4/02

• Ph.D. in Biology with a Minor in Computation and Neural Systems.


M.S., California Institute of Technology, Computation and Neural Systems GPA: 3.8/4.0

9/95 – 6/97

• Master of Science (M.S.) in Computation and Neural Systems.

• GRE scores: Analytical 790/800, Quantitative 770/800, Verbal (English) 640/800.


S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology GPA: 4.7/5.0

9/93 - 6/95

• Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Minor in Economics.

• Cross-registered at Harvard University.


University of Buenos Aires, School of Natural and Exact Sciences GPA: 10/10

3/91 - 8/93




Gold Stevie Winner of IT Executive of the Year, 2013 International Business Awards

* Silver Stevie Winner of Innovator of the Year, 2013 International Business Awards

Best Computer Services Company in the USA by both the 2014 and 2013 American Business Awards

• QLess named one of World's 10 Best Young Technology Companies, Vator Splash, San Francisco, 2012.
• QLess named one of 'LA’s most exciting tech creations of the moment' by TechZulu's Spotlight L.A. 

• QLess at Johnson County, KS, won PTI 2009-2010 Technology Solutions Award.

• QLess named winner, 2010 NACo Achievement Award.

• QLess named winner, GFOA 2010 Award for Excellence in eGovernment and Technology.

• QLess named one of 5 most companies in California with strongest technology and business plan by Geeks Going Global.

• QLess named Best Overall Business Services Company under 100 Employees, American Business Awards, 2010.

• QLess named Best Business Innovation Finalist, American Business Awards, 2009.

• QLess named 10 Best New Technology Companies, 2009. 

• Accesit Prize, Certamen Arquimedes, Dept. of Education, Spain. ESTIMACION DE LA PRESION SELECTIVA A PARTIR DE UN UNICO GENOMA, A. Perez Escudero & A. Bäcker, 2006.

• Graduate Dean's Award for Outstanding Community Service, for “great contributions to Graduate Life and outstanding qualities of Leadership and Responsibility”, 2002.

• ISTA award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2001.

• Award for Contribution to Biology Undergraduate Student Association, MIT, 1995.

• Member of Argentina’s National Team in International Olympiad of Informatics, Greece, 1991.

• Second place, National Olympiad of Informatics, Argentina, 1991.

• National Champion, National Olympiad of Informatics, Argentina, 1990.

• Third Millennium Prize from the National Ministry of Health and Welfare for performance in 1990 International Olympiad of Informatics, USSR, 1990.

• Member of Argentina’s National Team in International Olympiad of Informatics, USSR, 1990.

• Dux Medallist for best results ever in school’s 150-yr. history (maximum scores in seven subjects) in Cambridge University (UK) ‘O’, ‘S’ and ‘A’-level examinations, St. Andrew’s Scots School, Buenos Aires, 1990.

• Graduated first in class of 120, St. Andrew’s Scots School, Buenos Aires, 1990.

• Ian Seyda Prize for Intellectual Curiosity, St. Andrew’s Scots School, Buenos Aires, 1990.

• Captain, Champion Team, ESSARP Inter-School General Knowledge Competition, Buenos Aires, 1990.

• Member of Argentina’s National Team selected for International Olympiad of Informatics, Bulgaria, 1989.



• Supervised technical work of 5 Ph.D.s, 3 Ph.D. students, and 22 undergraduate students.



• Bäcker, A.: Remote wireless queuing system. U.S. Patents granted.

• Bäcker, A.: Reputation system. U.S. Patent granted.

• Bäcker, A.: System to bid on a class of objects. U.S. Patent granted.








• Gonzalez, J. E. and Bäcker, A.: Queryless Search using a Computational Model of Curiosity and Learning from Text. U.S. and PCT Patent in course.

• Bäcker, A.: Query-specific Webpage Relevance Ranking. U.S. Provisional Patent in course.

• Bäcker, A.: Network-based trust evaluation. U.S. Provisional Patent in course.

• Bäcker, A.: System for Authentication of Electronic Communications. U.S. Patent.

• Bäcker, A.: Computational Method to Find Interactions between Genes Using Multiple Genomes. U.S. Provisional Patent.

• Bäcker, A.: Automatic Methods to find Associations between Expressions. U.S. Provisional Patent.

• Bäcker, A.: Method to Automatically Associate a Web Page or Document with an Expression And Summarize Documents. U.S. Provisional Patent.

• Bäcker, A.: Method to Direct Users to Relevant Portion of a Web Document. U.S. Provisional Patent.

• Bäcker, A.: User-Specific Adaptive Method to Sort Search Results by Relevance for the World Wide Web and Other Interconnected Data Structures. U.S. Provisional Patent.

• Bäcker, A, Peral, E. & Munich, M.: A Remote Video-Based Eye Tracker. U.S. Provisional Patent.






• Urgent Care Association of America, 2015.


• CES, 2015 (immediately preceding Dr. Phil). 


• ConvUrgent Care, 2014.


• Keynote Speaker, MIT Club of Southern California Annual Meeting, 2013 (the other keynote was the President of Virgin Galactic).


• final, San Francisco, 2012.


• TEDx Hong Kong, 2011.


• Humanity+ Hong Kong, Polytechnic University, 2011.


• TED-X Rosario, 2011.


• South American Business Forum, ITBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2011. 


• Bäcker, A. Keynote speaker, Tech Week, Los Angeles County Business Technology Center, 2011.


• Bäcker, A. Debunking Exponential Growth. The Democratization of Science. Humanity+, California Institute of Technology, 2010. 


* Bäcker, A. Como empezar un start-up de tecnologia:experienciasde un argentino en California, Universidad de San Andrés, 2010.


• Bäcker, A. Why Aging is Good for You, How to Live 2 Years Longer Using Your Cell Phone, and Beyond. Humanity+, Harvard University, 2010. 


• Bäcker, A. Problemas abiertos en biologia, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2009. 



• Bäcker, A. Search Engine Marketing. IMA inaugural annual meeting, 2007. 


• Bäcker, A. Entrepreneurship --A Primer. University of Toronto, 2006.


• Bäcker, A. Pay Per Click Strategies. Professional eBay Sellers Association, 2006.


• Bäcker, A. All Consumidores Are Not Created Equal. Search Engine Strategies Latino Inaugural Edition, 2006.


• Bäcker, A. and Hipp, J. An activity-dependent model for the development and maintenance of the mammalian ORN-glomerular mapping. European Symposium for Insect Taste and Olfaction (ESITO), 2005. 


• Bäcker, A. The mathematics of understanding: A graph-theoretical study of meaning and the self-referential nature of knowledge. Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering, Stanford University, 2005.


• Bäcker, A. Neural coding in an insect brain. Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, 2005.


• Bäcker, A. Estimation of the topological dimensionality of a manifold. Center for Neuromorphic Systems Engineering Retreat, Caltech, 2004. 


• Bäcker, A. Growth and Democratization of Science: Lowering Barriers to Entry. 4th International Conference on University Evaluation and Research Evaluation, China, 2004.


• Bäcker, A. The Digital Brain. Cognitive Systems: Human Cognitive Models in System Design, Santa Fe, 2004.


• Bäcker, A. The Impact of Sputnik and the Race to the Moon on Innovation. San José Tech Museum of Innovation, 2004.


• Bäcker, A. et al. Automated ontology generation. Sandia National Laboratories, 2004.


• European Symposium for Insect Taste and Olfaction, Norway, 2003.


• Lab d’Ethologie et Cognition Animale, Université Paul Sabatier-Toulousse III, France, 2003.


• Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, 2002.


• Rockefeller University, NY, NY, 2002.


• Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) Symposium: Information and Statistical Structure in Spike Trains: How can we calculate what we really want to know?, Whistler, BC, 2001 (unable to attend).


• Sloan Center for Theoretical Neurobiology Annual Meeting, Lake Tahoe, CA, 2001.


• Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2001.


• Sandia National Laboratories, Computational Biology Group, Albuquerque, NM, 2001.


• Celera Corporation, Bioinformatics Research Group, Rockville, MD, 2001.


• Sloan Center for Theoretical Neurobiology Annual Meeting, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA, 1999.


• Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Eilat, Israel, 1999.







• Brown, W.M. & Bäcker, A. Optimal Neuronal Tuning for Finite Stimulus Spaces, Neural Computation 18, 1511–1526, 2006.


• Martin, S. & Bäcker, A. Unsupervised estimation of the topological dimensionality of a manifold, SAC, Special track on Artificial Intelligence, 2005.


• Bäcker, A. A Future for Scientific Discourse, 2004,


• Boyack, K. and Bäcker, A. The growth and memory of science, 2004.


• Hipp, J. and Bäcker, A. An activity-dependent model for the development and maintenance of the ORN–glomerular mapping. Soc for Neurosci Abstr , 2004.


• Bäcker, A.: A Roadmap for Cognition. Whitepaper restricted to internal SNL circulation, 2004.


• Boyack, K. & Bäcker, A.: The memory of science, ISSI IX, 2003.


• Bäcker, A: Gain control and concentration coding in early olfactory circuits. Soc for Neurosci Abstr , 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: Pattern recognition in the olfactory system of the locust: Priming, gain control and coding issues. Ph. D. Thesis, California Institute of Technology, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: A novel computerized odor delivery system, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: The olfactory system exhibits invariance to volatility, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: The probability that a single underlying binomial distribution yield two given success proportions: An exact hypothesis test, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: Asymmetric sliding-window cross-correlation, 2002.


• Bäcker, A., Dean, H. and Caporale, N.: Hedonic valence of odors in the locust, Schistocerca americana, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: Gain control and multiplexing in early olfactory circuits, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: Neuronal priming in early olfactory circuits, 2002.


• Bäcker, A.: A simple formula to accurately subtract positivity of cytometric negative controls, 2001.


• Bäcker, A. & Laurent, G.: Concentration priming in projection neuron responses in the locust olfactory system. Soc for Neurosci Abstr , 2000.


• Bäcker, A.: Inconclusiveness of evidence against memory in visual search, 1999.


• Bäcker, A. & Peral, E.: Does visual search have memory?: A mathematical framework suggests current experimental paradigm may not be conclusive. Vision Research Conference, 1999.


• Bäcker, A.: Mutator genes and natural selection, 1999.


• MacLeod, K., Bäcker, A. & Laurent, G.: Who reads the temporal information in synchronized spike trains? Nature 395, 693 - 698 (1998). This paper has been cited by 143 publications to date.


• Bäcker, A., MacLeod, K., Wehr, M. & Laurent, G.: Disruption of neuronal synchronization impairs reliable reconstruction of odors by beta lobe cells but not by projection neurons of the antennal lobe of the locust. Soc for Neurosci Abstr , 1998.


• Bäcker, A., Wehr, M. & Laurent, G.: Analysis of the variability of temporal response patterns of simultaneously-recorded projection neurons in the olfactory system of the locust. Soc for Neurosci Abstr , 1997.


• Bäcker, A & Peral, E.: A remote video-based eye tracker. Caltech CNS/EE 148 Technical Report, 1997.


• Bäcker, A.: To sleep, perchance to dream. The Harvard Brain I: 50-55, 1994.


• Contributor to Marcos, Y. et al. Two-locus involvement in the association of human leukocyte antigen with the extrahepatic manifestations of autoimmune chronic active hepatitis. Hepatology 19: 1371-1374, 1994.


E-prints available at






• Data Mining on Attributed Relationship Graphs. SNL LDRD. With B. Hendrickson and T. Kolda. 2004-2007.


• Building Cognition on Biology: Self-organization in the brain. SNL LDRD. P.I. 2004-2005.


• Metrics for Multidimensional Objects with Correlated Dimensions, Mathematics, Information and Computational Science, Office of Science, Department of Energy. P.I. 2003-present.


• Seismic Ear, SNL Senior Scientist LDRD grant, with K. Larson, 2003-present.


• Augmented Cognition: Next-Generation Intelligent Systems, SNL Grand Challenge grant, with J. Ganter, P. Reeves and K. Larson, 2002-present. Technical lead for Perception thrust, 2004-present.


• Firefox: A Brain Machine Interface, DARPA Brain Machine Interface Program grant, with R. Asher and R. Albanese, 2002-present.


• IBM Innovation Grant, 2000-present.


• Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship for Theoretical Neurobiology, 1995-2002.


• Grant from German-American Academic Council to lead expedition to Kenya to study locust behavior, 1998.


• Fellowship for the German and American Young Scholar’s 1996/97 Institute (youngest fellow).


• L.P. Markey Fellowship (declined).


• Stanford University CAM fellowship (declined).


• Harvard University research fellowship (declined).


• Columbia University research fellowship (declined).


• Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Scholarship, MIT, 1994-1995.






• Fluent in Spanish and English. Speak, read and write German and French.


• Editorial Director of Apeiron Magazine (1990), Co-editor of The Harvard Brain (1995), MIT Biology Undergraduate Student Association News Editor (1994-95), published articles in The Los Angeles Times & The California Tech as well as several letters in the New York Times and La Nación (leading Argentine newspaper).






• Trustee, The Children’s Center at Caltech, 2002-2006.


• Vice-President and Director, Dove Creek Condominium, 2004-2005.


• President of the Graduate Student Body and Chairman of the Board of Directors, Caltech Graduate Student Council, 2000-2001.


• Ideated & implemented new graduate student recruitment effort for Caltech’s Biology & CNS programs.


• Director of the Graduate Student Council, California Institute of Technology, 1998-2002.


• Elected Officer of the Biology Undergraduate Student Association, MIT, 1994-95.


• Elected to the Council of the Department of Biology, School of Sciences, University of Buenos Aires, 1994.






• Co-creator & Instructor, Sleep Laboratory, Grad/Undergrad course, California Institute of Technology, 1998-2000.


• Invited lecturer, Neurobiology & Neuroscience for Physicists & Engineers, Grad/Undergrad courses, CIT, 1999-2000.


• Teaching Assistant, Neurophysiology Lab, California Institute of Technology, 1998.


• Teaching Assistant, Neurobiology, California Institute of Technology, 1995-96.


• Teacher in the Center for Talented Youth Program, MIT, 1994 and Tutor in Genetics, MIT, 1994-95.








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