James A. Overton

(Updated November 8 2016)

Apt. 1 - 105 Quebec Ave.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M6P 2T3

1 (647) 478-9327

Citizenship: Canadian

Languages: English (mother tongue), French (reading knowledge)

Current Occupation

My company Knocean Inc. offers consulting and development services at the intersection of philosophy, science, and software. I specialize in scientific database integration using biomedical ontologies. Examples include ontology development and deployment, building semantic web tools, and developing custom web applications for scientific and medical projects.


Research Interests

Scientific explanation and science informatics are at the centre of my research. Scientific explanations help us to understand our world better. Science informatics multiplies the power and reach of science by helping us to collect, manage, and analyze vast quantities of data. More data and more analytical power mean that we explain more, but also that we explain differently. I use tools from epistemology, ontology, mathematics, and computer science to better understand the changing nature of scientific explanation and build better science informatics systems.

Work History


Programming Languages and Software: Expertise with: Clojure, Java, ClojureScript, JavaScript, CoffeeScript, X/HTML, CSS; Semantic Web tools such as RDF, SPARQL, OWL, Protégé; XML tools such as XSLT, XPath, RelaxNG, native XML databases, XQuery; Mozilla technologies such as XUL and XBL. Broad experience with web browsers, web standards, cross-platform and accessibility issues. Good knowledge of Python, SQL, and LaTeX. Working knowledge of Haskell, Ruby, PHP, Perl, C/C++; Unix shell scripting and standard utilities; version control with CVS, SVN, Git, and Mercurial; XUnit software testing; continuous deployment methods; Amazon Web Services, particularly EC2. Experience with software packages such as the Apache and nginx web servers, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Maple and Matlab.

Operating Systems: MacOS X, Linux, Windows.

General: My academic training has given me strong qualitative and quantitative analytic skills, as well as self-discipline and self-motivation. Work experience has taught me to balance theory with pragmatism about project constraints. My management of an open source project demonstrates good interpersonal skills and dedication. I have strong written and verbal communication skills, and I am both enthusiastic and a quick learner.