Steve Rubin

srubin at

I work at Descript. I did my Ph.D. in Computer Science at UC Berkeley, advised by Maneesh Agrawala. In 2011, I graduated from Williams College where I majored in Computer Science and Mathematics.


I am broadly interested in HCI, music, media editing, information visualization, and design. In my time at Berkeley, I worked on audio editing interfaces, crowdsourcing graphical perception studies, bribe-reporting, a cup that knows what you're drinking, and chart-data extraction.


Tools for Creating Audio Stories
Steven Surmacz Rubin
Computer Science PhD Dissertation (University of California, Berkeley).

Committee: Maneesh Agrawala (advisor and chair), Bjoern Hartmann, and Greg Niemeyer.


Capture-Time Feedback for Recording Scripted Narration
Steve Rubin, Floraine Berthouzoz, Gautham J. Mysore, Maneesh Agrawala
ACM 28th Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2015).

YouTube | Audio Results

Generating Emotionally Relevant Musical Scores for Audio Stories
Steve Rubin, Maneesh Agrawala
ACM 27th Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2014).

YouTube | Audio Results | Library for constraint-based score generation

Content-Based Tools for Editing Audio Stories
Steve Rubin, Floraine Berthouzoz, Gautham J. Mysore, Wilmot Li, Maneesh Agrawala
ACM 26th Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2013).

YouTube | Audio Results | Code for audio construction/music retargeting

UnderScore: Musical Underlays for Audio Stories
Steve Rubin, Floraine Berthouzoz, Gautham J. Mysore, Wilmot Li, Maneesh Agrawala
ACM 25th Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST 2012).

Youtube | Demo | Code for audio construction

Bribecaster: Documenting Corruption Through Community Participation
Manas Mittal, Wei Wu, Steve Rubin, Sam Madden, Bjoern Hartmann
2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW 2012).

(Poster and extended abstract)

Visualizing Large Communication Graphs
Steven S. Rubin, advised by Duane Bailey
Senior thesis at Williams College (2010-11).
Correlation Identification in Bipartite Pauli Channels
Michael R. Frey, Laura E. Coffey, Lucas K. Mentch, Amy L. Miller and Steven S. Rubin
International Journal of Quantum Information, September 2010 (IJQI).

This work was done at the NSF-sponsored Quantum Information Theory REU at Susquehanna University in June/July of 2009.

A 16-Bit Microcoded Microprocessor for an FPGA
Steven S. Rubin
The 40th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2009).

Finalist (top 5) in the Student Research Competition. This work was done during the Williams College Summer Science Research Program with Duane Bailey in 2008.


In grad school, I wrote a lot of software for my research. Here are some some things I released:

  • speecheditor — a web app for editing and adding musical scores to audio stories. Instead of editing speech using waveforms, the speecheditor allows you to edit audio with text, like a word processor. Likewise, it allows users to easily loop musical tracks and add musical underlays à la This American Life. The speecheditor is described in detail in our paper, "Content-based Tools for Editing Audio Stories."
  • radiotool — a python library that aims to make it easy to create audio by piecing together bits of other audio files. I wrote this library to enable my research in audio editing user interfaces, but perhaps someone else might find it useful.


I grew up in a small town in Central Pennsylvania and spent much of my time learning about computers and making ridiculous movies with my friends.

At Williams I served as president and root of Williams Students Online, competed on and co-captained the track and field team, and wrote a senior thesis with Duane Bailey. I also spent a semester studying math in Budapest, Hungary.


My hobbies include listening to music and going to shows

watching the Warriors and following the NBA (and occasionally the Pirates), playing board games, working on toy software projects, hiking, bouldering, cycling, and snowboarding.


Software Engineering Manager — Descript

May 2022 —

Technical Lead Manager — Descript

May 2021 — May 2022

Software Engineer — Descript

September 2017 — May 2021

Software Engineer — Detour

March 2015 — September 2017

Graduate student researcher — UC Berkeley

Spring 2015, 2013, 2012. Fall 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

Research intern — Adobe Research

Summer 2014, 2013, 2012. Part-time in Fall 2012.

Graduate student instructor — UC Berkeley

Spring 2015 – CS160 (User Interface Design, taught by Andy Carle)
Spring 2014 – CS160 (User Interface Design, taught by Maneesh Agrawala and Björn Hartmann)


I've taken several classes as part of the requirements for the Ph.D. program at Berkeley.

  • CS 260 — Research Topics in HCI (Hartmann)
  • CS 262a — Advanced Topics in Computer Systems (Brewer)
  • CS 270 — Combinatorial Algorithms and Data Structures (Rao)
  • CS 280 — Computer Vision (Malik)
  • CS 281a/STAT 241a — Statistical Learning Theory (Wainwright)
  • CS 294-10 — Visualization (Agrawala)
  • CS 294-84 — Interactive Device Design (Hartmann)
  • STAT 239a — The Statistics of Causal Inference in the Social Sciences (Sekhon)


Paper reviewer

  • ACM CHI – Conference on Human Factors in Comptuing Systems (2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)
  • ACM UIST – Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (2014, 2015, 2017)
  • IEEE InfoVis (2014)