Who am I?

I don’t like to put people in little boxes and yet, this is just what I’m about to do to myself. But rather than giving a few such boxes, here’s a longer list of things I am:

boyfriend, computer scientist, environmentalist, European, ex-Austinite, feminist, French, PhD student, lgBt, Parisian, political activist, programmer, researcher, teacher, wannabe world changer, young man

If you want to see my curriculum, please refer to my LinkedIn page. A PDF resume is also available upon request.

Current topics

I am currently a PhD student in the πr² Inria project-team and the IRIF laboratory of the Paris-Diderot University. My supervisor is Professor Hugo Herbelin. My PhD topic is “Challenges in the collaborative development of a complex mathematical software and its ecosystem” (see poster paper at OpenSym 2018).

Besides, my main interests are crowdsourcing, and more generally mass collaboration using the Web, open science and open research. I am amazed at a few projects that have enabled people, through online mass collaboration, to create knowledge in a way that would never have been possible in a pre-web era. I am convinced that the tremendous possibilities that the Internet opens are far from being unveiled. In particular, communication and collaboration tools are required and a lot of them are still to be invented.

I thrive to make my research as public as possible my publishing as often and as soon as possible on public archives and/or through this blog.

I frequently contribute to open source projects and publish my own programs as free software. I also answer questions about FLOSS on Open Source SE.

I have been teaching since october 2016. You can read what my students think of me [in French].

Past work

  • Formal maths
    • Before my PhD, I worked with Hugo Herbelin on the automatic and transparent transfer of theorems along isomorphisms. On this subject, I have written a blog post [in French] and a working paper:
      • Zimmermann T. and Herbelin H. Automatic and Transparent Transfer of Theorems along Isomorphisms in the Coq Proof Assistant. Presented at CICM 2015 (work-in-progress track). Read it on HAL or on the arXiv.
  • Biology
  • Linguistic
    • I did an internship with Professor Paul Sabatier at LIF (Laboratoire d’Informatique Fondamentale) in Marseille in the area of Natural Language Processing. I developed an algorithm to infer syntactic transformation of a sentence from examples and implemented it in Prolog [report, in French].
    • When in primary and middle school, I invented a language called Enfantin. This paper I wrote [in French] explains everything you need to know about it. On a side note, I’ve never spoken this language fluently and I would have had no one to talk to anyways.
    • I like languages in general. I have learned Latin, Spanish and English for many years. I speak English and French fluently and I love them both. I am currently working on getting better at Spanish and I will love to learn new foreign languages if I have time.
  • Physics
    • In second year of college studies (maths spé at Lycée Thiers, Marseille), I worked on my first actual research project. The subject was how to adapt a vehicle to the road surface (in the context of Shell Eco-Marathon). I defended this report [in French] for the competitive exams leading to my admission to the ENS (École Normale Supérieure), Paris. I have studied, both theoretically and experimentally, the variation in running resistance with respect to the type of road surface, but also to the tire pressure.
  • Other computer science works
    • During an internship at Microsoft Research Cambridge (England), I worked on non-termination proofs, under the supervision of Byron Cook [report, in English].
    • I have read and commented many computer science research papers. I’m including here a link to one of the first comment I did, on a paper in the area of robotics [in French].
  • Developing
    • A number of school/research projects I’m not going to list here.
    • My first programming project (winner of the Concours Innovez des Jeunes Inventeurs, March 2008): Test-Pedago [in French]. This is an educative software which was used by a school teacher with her students. Some of them directly contributed to it by creating a database for French verbs conjugation.
    • A modern version of the Snake game that you can play in your web browser on mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop.
    • A mass-collaboration novel writing project: unkilodeplumes [in French].
  • As an editor, I contributed to the creation of Kinea, a new plurilingual online magazine which provides alternative political and economical analyses as well as science popularization.


Apart from what I’ve said already, I have a broad range of interests, including:

  • Travels
    • I’ve been to a lot of western European countries, to the US and to Canada.
    • I lived in four different cities/towns in three different countries (Marseille, France; Paris, France; Cambridge, England; Austin, Texas) and I recommend all these places.
    • I also love the cities of London, New York, San Francisco, Barcelona and Dublin.
    • With my girlfriend, we took advantage of our year abroad to visit a lot of places in Texas and in the US in general. Some of the cities I liked most were Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Memphis, Washington (DC). I would also like to recommend the fantastic National Park system, in particular Big Bend National Park, the Natchez Trace Parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park.
  • Reading
    • One of my favorite author is Isaac Asimov and I particularly recommend the Robots series (most stories are at the crossroad between science-fiction and detective stories). I have now also finished the Foundation series.
    • In 2014, I read “L’Étudiant Étranger” by Philippe Labro and liked it a lot. I had purchased this book eight years before but I think I picked the perfect time to read it because it echoed my own personal adventure in the US. Still, “L’Étudiant Étranger” describes a very different world as it takes place during the segregation.
    • In a similar vein, I strongly recommend “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee that I had the pleasure to listen too.
    • I was able to further my American history culture with “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.
  • Politics