Dimka Atanassov, PhD

I use data and deep research to solve problems. My work is at the intersection of UX Research, Data Science and Linguistics. I apply quantitative and qualitative methods to gain insights into a variety of questions, whether product related, strategic decision making or broad in nature.

Photo of Dimka


I received my PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014. I was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, which is a merit based scholership covering full tuition and stipend. For my research I studied how adults comprehend language in context. To that end I designed eye tracking studies and online studies, I wrote R scripts to analyze the data I obtained through these studies, and to create visualizations and do the statistical analysis. I spent the last year of my PhD as an Exchange Scholar at Stanford University. There, in addition to working on the final touches of my research and I also worked as a Graduate Assistant, helping students with data oriented research projects.

Selected Research Projects

Processing strategies for scalar implicatures.

PhD Thesis, Dimka Atanassov (2014)

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Original dissertation research, using eye-tracking and in lab experimental methods in order to investigate how people comprehend spoken language. Published in ProQuest

On the processing of might.

Research Paper. Dimka Atanassov, Florian Schwarz, John Trueswell (2012)

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Original research paper. Published in the Proceedings of the 36th Annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics, Vol. 19.1, ed. Kobey Shwayder. Philadelphia, PA

A matter of ambiguity? Using eye movements to examine collective vs. distributive interpretations of plural sets.

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Presentation based on original research. Christine Boylan, Dimka Atanassov, Florian Schwarz, John Trueswell (2011). Talk presented at XPRAG 2011, Barcelona, Spain, June 2-4-

Data Science

During my PhD studies I became increasingly interested in ways to manipulate data using programming and scripting tools. I wrote R scripts to clean, organize, visualize and analyze eye tracking data. In a graduate Phonetcis class I learned how to use Praat scripts in combination with Python to work with corpus data. After graduating I spent nearly two years as a Course Manager at Udacity, supporting students through a variety of programming courses in Python and Data Science. Later I was accepted to the Data Incubator program (a highly selective two month data science bootcamp program, aimed at helping people with advanced degrees transition into Data Science). There I completed weekly programming excersizes in Python focusing on Machine Learning and Data Analysis, and prepared my own Capstone Project.

Data Projects

Housing Prices in SF

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Analyzed pricing data (from Zillow) and Crime Data (from the San Francisco open data) to create a prediction model and visualizations of house pricing in San Francisco. I used Python for the data analysis and visualizations, and deployed the website on Heroku using Flask. Click here for the live website.

UX Research

At Google I worked on a variety of UX Research projects, using a range of user-centered research methods: usability testing, diary studies, and exploratory field studies. The research I did touched a variety of Google products including Android and YouTube.

Front End Projects

Professional Website

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Built my own professional website. I used Bootsrap and jQuery.