A photo of Aaron Smith

Hi, I'm Aaron.

I'm a Teaching Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill.

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 Chapel Hill, NC.

Compression Research

My Ph.D. research was in video compression. My thesis argued 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 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 CS courses at UNC since 2019. Most recently, I teach COMP 301 Foundations of Programming (Java OOP, testing, design patterns, GUIs, frameworks, concurrency) and COMP 455 Models of Computation (automata, formal languages, grammars, regular expressions, Turing machines, decidability).

Here are some technologies I love:

  • TypeScript
  • React
  • PostgreSQL
  • AWS
  • Python
  • H.265/HEVC
  • C/C++
  • Java
  • Docker
  • Ruby on Rails

Want to learn more? Check out my curriculum vitae.

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

Copyright © 2021 Aaron Smith