Research Scientist - Privacy


  • Job Type: Full-Time
  • Function: Research Sci/Assoc/Mgr
  • Post Date: 05/05/2021
  • Website:
  • Company Address: 575 Market Street Floor 4, San Francisco, CA, 94105

About Replica

Replica is a next-generation urban planning tool that can help cities answer key transportation questions.

Job Description

Replica is an enterprise data platform that delivers critical insights about the built environment. With better data, human context, and an intuitive design, Replica helps public and private sector actors make informed, effective, and responsive decisions. By showing how people live, move and work, we contextualize hard choices, allowing our clients to see around corners and understand the trade-offs surrounding their decisions. Whether for a city planner increasing public transit to underserved neighborhoods or for a grocery chain evaluating where to open a new location, Replica’s insights let clients make more informed, people-centered decisions. 

We spun out of Alphabet in 2019 when we secured series A funding from venture firms such as Innovation Endeavors, Firebrand Ventures, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. Today, we are a team of over 40 employees with offices in San Francisco, CA and Overland Park, KS.

We value our customers, believe in being resourceful, and work in service of each other to scale our product. As we build our team, we are committed to pursuing and bringing together a diverse workforce and creating an environment of inclusion. We value our differences and we encourage all to apply. We are committed to equal opportunity regardless of race, color, ancestry, religion, gender, gender identity, parental or pregnancy status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, Veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.

The Team

Research and Development (R&D) at Replica focuses on designing and implementing travel modeling algorithms using very large data sets. The R&D team - consisting of research scientists and engineers - has a collective background in statistics, machine learning, and urban modeling. At Replica, they work most closely with product and engineering scaling up R&D initiatives.

The Role

We’re looking for a Research Scientist with experience designing and implementing privacy algorithms within secure distributed data processing and modeling pipelines. You will be a part of the R&D team responsible for developing privacy-first urban mobility models that capture behavioral choices of city dwellers. Our goal is to eliminate the perceived tradeoffs between privacy and value. To do so, we treat privacy as a first-order concern at every stage of our process and build privacy features as core capabilities in our platform.

  • Within your first month, you will build a deep understanding of Replica’s data protection and location privacy principles, technology infrastructure, modeling approaches, coding style and standards.
  • By the end of month 3, you will be contributing to the implementation of a range of data processing algorithms, enforcing responsible data usage, modeling accuracy, performance and scalability.
  • By the end of month 6, you will have significantly contributed to our model estimation and calibration framework, proposed significant novel approaches and scalable implementations to strengthen our protection against re-identification, membership inclusion, and location inference attacks.
  • By the end of year 1, your work will include engaging with independent experts in privacy law, policy, and ethics enabling new applications and novel responsible use cases of data in urban planning.


  • A graduate degree (MS or PhD) in operations research, computer science, computational math or other relevant field and 3+ years of experience in professional practice. 
  • Hands-on knowledge of privacy methodologies: you know how to apply differential privacy to a single dataset and are familiar with composition theorems. You understand the nuances of federated machine learning and closely follow recent developments in the field.
  • You are highly skilled in software development and an expert in applied math, statistics, and optimization tools in the Python ecosystem (numpy/scipy/pandas).
  • Have strong collaboration and communication skills, are capable of explaining complex models to the experts in privacy law, policy, and ethics, as well as a wide audience.
  • Care about the future of cities, and our team’s success in radically improving the quality of urban life.

What We Value

  • Curiosity. Our work requires solving a myriad of interrelated modeling problems, often starting from or near scratch. Ask hard questions and challenge assumptions to ensure that we’re solving the right problems.
  • Team. Our shared ambition for the company’s success comes before our personal ambition or desire for individual success.
  • Passion for urban planning. We care deeply about cities and providing the tools to help them make the best decisions.


  • Our people! We work as a team and are excited to contribute to city planning. 
  • Competitive salary based on experience and potential for impact.
  • Equity at an early stage startup.
  • Health benefits including medical, dental, vision, and HSA option. 
  • 401k account + employer contribution.
  • Offices in San Francisco, CA and Overland Park, KS.
  • Flexible PTO.

If you don't think you meet all of the criteria above, but still are interested in the job, please apply. Nobody checks every box, and we're looking for someone excited to join the team.

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Disclaimer: Local Candidates Only
This company does NOT accept candidates from outside recruiting firms. Agency contacts are not welcome.