A photo of Aaron Smith

Hi, I'm Aaron.

I'm a Software Development Engineer at Amazon. I work for AWS S3 on data compression.

In 2021, I earned a PhD in Computer Science from UNC Chapel Hill. My published research includes video compression, frameless video representation, and CS education.


I try to make the world a better place by respecting, inspiring, enabling, and listening to those around me.

My interests include developing equitable and scalable tools for undergraduate CS education, web technology, data compression, entrepreneurship, cloud services, and software engineering.


I studied Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2014 to 2021. I received a M.S. in 2019 and a Ph.D. in 2021.

I attended Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC for undergrad from 2010 to 2014. I received B.S. degrees in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, with a 4.0 cumulative GPA.


I was born in Worcester, MA, grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC, and now live in Durham, NC.

Compression Research

My Ph.D. research is in video compression. My thesis argues that video content should be encoded at the source using a flexible initial representation that supports top-down, receiver-driven adaptation for use by diverse client applications.

Educational Research

I am very interested in educational research, particularly in developing teaching resources that scale to large course sizes.

I created My Digital Hand to improve student-led office hours in large CS courses. My Digital Hand is used by numerous universities in North America, including UNC.


I have been the primary instructor for computer science courses at UNC since 2019.

Courses I have been involved in teaching include Data Compression, Modern Web Programming, Software Engineering, Foundations of Programming, Models of Languages and Computation, and Intro to Programming.

Here are some technologies I love:

  • TypeScript
  • React
  • PostgreSQL
  • AWS
  • Python
  • H.265/HEVC
  • Rust
  • Java
  • Docker
  • Rails

Want to learn more? Check out my curriculum vitae.

Want to get in touch, get coffee, or have a conversation? Here's how to reach me.