Research Engineer


As research engineer at Ought, you design and implement flexible back-end architectures that allow us to quickly explore different approaches to combining machine learning and crowdsourcing.

You take high-level project descriptions, work with researchers at Ought and collaborating institutions to turn them into more precise specs, and implement them. You come up with appropriate abstractions, data structures, and algorithms, and build robust systems with intuitive interfaces.

To visualize what this position is like, think "writing an compiler," not "doing data science" (even though your day will involve aspects of both). If you're the kind of person who read SICP and loved it, you should definitely apply.

For example, you should be able to take high-level documents like this one and this one and, given some consultation with the author, turn them into an implementation like this one.

About you


  • Excellent computer science knowledge
  • Experience designing and building large-scale modular systems
  • Experience writing well-structured, maintainable code
  • Some experience applying machine learning algorithms
  • Experience using Git, pull requests, and code reviews
  • Fluent written and spoken English

Good to have:

  • Experience with NodeJS, ES6, and Flow
  • Advanced statistics or machine learning skills
  • Experience with probabilistic generative models
  • Experience with HCI and/or crowdsourcing
  • Academic publications


  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • 20 days of paid vacation per year (in addition to national holidays)
  • Modern workspaces, with funds available for equipment of your choice
  • Relocation assistance
  • Flexible hours
  • Paid travel to conferences


  • Take into account that we're a new organization. You will have unusually large leverage and room for growth, including the potential to manage other employees and contractors in the future, but you'll also need more initiative than at an established company and you'll wear many hats.
  • We prefer applicants who can work on site, but will consider remote work for exceptional candidates, including internationally.
  • We're a non-profit. We generally try to pay Bay Area market rate, but won't always be able to, so this position is best suited for someone who deeply cares about our mission.
  • Not sure which position to apply for? Just pick one for now, add a note on alternatives you're considering, and we'll discuss.

EEO & Employment Eligibility

Ought is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability status, or any other status protected by federal, state, or local laws.

About Ought

Ought is a non-profit research organization. Our mission is to leverage machine learning to help people think. Our office is in San Francisco (North Beach), next to Washington Square park.


If you prefer to mostly work on front-end code and want to lead user interface development at Ought, consider this position.
If you're good at the sort of semi-technical, semi-philosophical thinking required to come up with new schemes and algorithms for automating deliberation and want to spend relatively less time coding and relatively more time writing, consider this position.