Justin Hiemstra

Justin Hiemstra

Research Software Engineer

Madison, WI

About Me

Hi, all! Whatever happens to be bringing you to my page, I’m glad to see you! (umm, well, to see your IP address, anyway)

I’m Justin, a technophile Research Software Engineer at the Morgridge Institute for Research, where I work on software that supports Big Science at places like CERN, FermiLab, Livermore National Labs, the LIGO experiments, and more. I recently graduated with my Master’s of Science from the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. While that may make me sound like someone who spends all day soldering bits and bobbles onto pieces of perf board (I do that, too), I actually studied machine learning and signals processing, a very exciting field that’s behind lots of the things you love, from spot on Netflix suggestions to self-driving cars – oh, and ChatGPT.

I love this field because it lives at the intersection of all that heavy, theoretical math, which is my background, and applied science – getting all that theory to actually do something for us! It’s also great because it has the potential to transform society for the better in practically uncountable ways (proof is left as an excercise for the reader - Hint: try applying Cantor’s Diagonalization argument, or find a bijection between ℝ), as long as we use it carefully and don’t fire the ethics experts (cough cough, Google). If you really want to get me excited, try mixing ML with anything related to privacy and digital/physical security. Did somebody say adversarial ML??

Even though I’m no longer a student, I’m still learning about the world, pursuing that big-picture, well-rounded understanding of life. I won’t list all the ways I try to do this, but a few of them include lots of reading, scuba diving, researching amateur mycology in my own home lab, hiking/camping, tinkering with my 3D printers, flipping the house I bought (feel free to ask), or slowly making progress on any of my many coding/electronics projects.

If any any of this intrigues you, or you just want to chat, please drop me a line! I’m currently accepting all applications 😎


M.S. Electrical Engineering -- Signals Processing and Machine Learning
2020 - 2022 · University of Wisconsin Madison
Thesis: Denoising and Intensity Inhomogeneity Correction of MR Images using Deep Learning
B.S. in Mathematics
2015 - 2019 · Haverford College
Thesis: Improved Brute Forcing with Markov Models
B.A. in Russian
2015 - 2019 · Bryn Mawr College
Thesis: Encryption, Democracy, and the Peculiar Case of Russia’s Telegram

Projects in Progress

Pelican Platform
One of the main projects I work on is the Pelican Platform, a tool for creating data federations for big science. In particular, we use Pelican to power the Open Science Data Federation, a tool used by places like CERN to move their petabytes of data from their data repositories to their computational endpoints. Integrated with other OSG (formerly known as the Open Science Grid) services such as the OSPool, the OSDF facilitates the distributed nature of a national compute pool. Check out this presentation for more details about how it all works!
Automated French Press
Awhile ago, a good friend of mine decided he wanted to build a custom server rack, and that he wanted it to have some sort of peculiar twist. I said, why not build in an automated coffee machine – because what could possibly go wrong with scalding coffee inches away from thousands of dollars in computer parts? And so we started developing one! The goal is to make a device that grinds coffee beans, puts those beans in a French press brewing chamber (a chunk of specialty PVC), heats some water to the perfect temp, adds the heated water to the brew chamber, drives a French press plunger, extracts the brewed coffee to a second ‘keep warm’ chamber, and then cleans itself by dumping the grounds. When you’re ready to pour yourself a cup, just turn on the spigot. If that sounds like a lot of moving parts, its because it is – everything from custom-etched PCBs to planetary gear drives and semi-functional 3D-printed gate valves driven by an assortment of stepper motors. Oh, and it’s steam punk, because let’s not forget aesthetics. Eventually we want to find another use for the waste coffee grounds… maybe a soap exfoliant? Maybe mushroom food? As for integration into the server, it lives in the rack, but in a separate, sealed compartment.


Machine Learning
Problem Solving
Project Management


  • • Scuba Diving
  • • Machine Learning
  • • Hiking
  • • Mycology!
  • • Reading
  • • Finance
  • • Raspberry Pi
  • • 3D Printing


You’ve made it this far, but how far do you care to go? For your fun and enjoyment, or if there’s a rainy day and you just don’t have anything better to do, I’ve decided to bake a few easter eggs into this delicious cake. Can you find them? As of this update to my site, there’s only one, but there are more to come! Time for an egg hunt…