2012 Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Ari Gesher is a senior software engineer and technology blogger at Palantir Technologies, which builds software platforms that allow organizations to make sense of massive amounts of disparate data. These platforms help non-technical users see critical connections, and ultimately, the answers to complex problems such as combating terrorism, prosecuting crimes, fighting fraud, and eliminating waste.
Gesher, who joined the Silicon Valley startup in 2006, has split his time between working as a backend engineer on Palantir's analysis platform; thinking and writing about Palantir's vision for human-driven information data systems; and moonlighting on Palantir's Philanthropic engineering team. In all, he has 15 years of experience in the software industry, including a stint as lead website and infrastructure maintainer for the SourceForge.net open source software archive.
As a student at Illinois, Gesher (known then as Ari Gordon-Schlosberg) served as the chair of ACM, and he was the student manager for the CS team that competed in the ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC) in China.
Once in industry, Gesher continued to foster ties with CS students by meeting with ACM leaders several times each year on campus, by speaking at ACM’s Reflections | Projections Conference, and by sharing his work experiences through the Engineer in Residence program. He has also helped the CS department find funding for the ACM Reflections | Projections job fair, CS 225 competitions, and the ICPC world finals. More recently, he was the keynote speaker at an Illinois alumni-sponsored entrepreneur speed pitch event on the West Coast.