Diego Rivera

A portrait photograph of Diego Rivera.
Software development has been a catalyst for me being able to learn about different science topics and make things work in the real world.

What is the goal of your research?

The goal is to provide real-time signal- and image-processing solutions that push the limits on hardware and software to meet throughput requirements. Recently, I worked on a project in which we needed to keep up with a sensor image rate of around 1.2 GB/s. My team's results have impressed the tracking systems community.

Which accomplishment are you most proud of?

Before joining the Laboratory in 2015, I worked for medical device companies for eight years. During that time, I wrote a piece of image-processing software for GPUs [graphics processing units] that has been running since 2012 in thousands of mammography system machines around the world to help battle breast cancer. The software has not failed in the field. I am proud of this contribution to women's health because it cuts down on repeat scans and X-rays.

When did you first become interested in STEM, and how has your interest evolved since?

I started collecting stickers about science when I was 11 years old. Sure, I had a motivation for that: every sticker was wrapped around a chocolate bar. To add to my collection, I used to walk long distances to a store with the best prices. Each sticker had a short paragraph with science facts and a related image. Reading about science on my walk back and checking for more information about the new facts in encyclopedias at home and at the library was one of my favorite hobbies at that age.  

In college, I started pursuing a degree in physics and then switched to electrical engineering, studying telecommunication systems. For my first master's degree, I studied hyperspectral image processing. For my second master's degree, I focused on designing software for parallel computing. Software development has been a catalyst for me being able to learn about different science topics and make things work in the real world. 

Who or what inspires you?

Every month when I was a child, my dad would buy me a new edition for our encyclopedia collection. In his quiet way, he inspired me early on to respect knowledge. Next, my high school physics teacher showed me that science could not only be intriguing but also cool and fun. Most recently, I've been inspired by the co-ops I'm working with at the Lab. Their hard work, questions, and innovative collaboration keep me excited about science.

How do you spend your free time?

I collect old records and listen to Colombian soccer podcasts. I love running with my kids and my dog at the conservation land near our house.