Zack Booth Simpson

I am a software engineer, artist, and molecular biology researcher living in Austin, Texas.



Brief Professional History

  • 1987 Dropped out of high-school
  • 1987 - 1991 Quality Assurance lead on a visual database programming language
  • 1991 - 1992 Software Engineer on the RPG video games Ultima VII and Ultima VIII at Origin Systems (a subsidiary of Electronic Arts)
  • 1993 - 1995 Director of Technology at Origin during which time I was very involved with the conversion from DOS to Windows, the emergence of Origin's internet strategy, and managed the prototype of Ultima Online.
  • 1995 - 1998 Co founder of Titanic Entertainment which made one game: "Netstorm" later voted by C-Net as "The best game of all time that nobody bought"!
  • 1998 - 1999 Research Fellow for Electronic Arts. Among my research projects was the first paper written on the in-game economics of a MMORPG a subject that has since gained a lot of attention.
  • 1999 - present Founder, chief artist of Mine-Control, Inc. I have created dozens of interactive full-body exhibits for museums and other institutions world-wide.
  • 2000 - 2001 Lived in Barcelona Spain working on my artwork and learning Spanish. Worked with La Fura dels Baus for various large-scale theatrical installations.
  • 2003 - present In 2003 I began hanging out in various molecular biology labs at UT, Austin. In 2005 I officially became a Research Fellow in the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology. I am engaged in a large number of diverse projects ranging from molecular kinetics to biological amorphous computing.
  • 2008 - 2010 Co-founder of Traitwise, Inc. a startup company that builds survey software to sample the human phenotype.
  • 2011 - 2014 Co-founder and principle architect of a startup building systems for large-scale scientifically-oriented problems.
  • 2013 Co-founder of CounterPAC a political organization using game theory to attempt to alter the behavior of spending in elections.
  • 2017 - present Co-founder of Erisyon, a technology for single-molecule protein sequencing.


  • A microbial model of economic trading and comparative advantage, co-author; 2015, Journal of Theoretical Biology doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.09.030

  • DEAD-Box Helicase Proteins Disrupt RNA Tertiary Structure Through Helix Capture, co-author; 2014, PLOS Biology DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001981

  • Modeling Scalable Pattern Generation in DNA Reaction Networks, co-author; 2013, Artificial Life December 2014, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 583-595

  • Pattern transformation with DNA circuits, co-author; 2013 Nature Chemistry doi:10.1038/nchem.1764

  • Fitspace Explorer, co-author; 2009, Analytical Biochemistry doi:10.1016/j.ab.2008.12.025

  • Global Kinetic Explorer, co-author; 2009, Analytical Biochemistry doi:10.1016/j.ab.2008.12.024

  • Modelling Amporphous Computations with Transcription Networks, co-author; 2009, Royal Society Interface doi:10.1098/rsif.2009.0014.focus

  • A synthetic genetic edge detection program, co-author; 2009, Cell doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.04.048

  • Parasitism and protocells: The Tragedy of the Molecular Commons, co-author; 2008, Protocells MIT Press, ISBN 978-0262182683

  • Engineering stochasticity in gene expression, co-author; 2008, Molecular Bio Systems, doi:10.1039/b801245h

  • SIGGRAPH 2006 Art Gallery (Moderation)

  • Synthetic biology: Engineering Escherichia Coli to see light, co-author; 2005, Nature, doi:10.1038/nature04405

  • The In-Game Economics of Ultima Online; 2000, The Computer Game Developer's Conference San Jose, CA; 2005, Game Creation Magazine, Vol 1, No 1. CMP Media, China

  • SIGGRAPH 2004 Art Gallery (Calder, Mondriaan, Interference)

  • SIGGRAPH 2002 Art Gallery (Sand, Butterfly, Flower Garden, Molecular Bubbles, Fish)

  • Vented CMOS, co-author; 2002, US Patent 6,420,905

  • A Stream-based Time Synchronization Technique For Networked Computer Games, co-author; 2002 Game Gems III ISBN: 978-1584502333

  • Game Patterns & Idioms, co-author; 2000 - 2001, Column in Game Developer Magazine

  • Energetics In Phonetics, co-author; 1999, Proceedings of the Speech Communication and Language Development Symposium

Other Work and Links of Interest