Sorathan (Tum) Chaturapruek

Tum Chaturapruek 

Sorathan (Tum) Chaturapruek
Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science, Stanford University
(Expected graduation in 2019)

Email: sorathan (AT) cs (DOT) stanford (DOT) edu
Offices: Huang 143A, Gates 496
Erdős Number: 3 (Paul Erdős → László Babai → Katalin Friedl → Sorathan Chaturapruek)

About me

I'm a fifth-year computer science doctoral candidate at Stanford University, advised by Ramesh Johari (Management Science and Engineering), John Mitchell (Computer Science), and (informally) Mitchell Stevens (Graduate School of Education).

College students make consequential choices with high uncertainty, yet critical course information may not be available to all students, and students’ decision-making process is largely poorly instrumented. With a great fortune to collaborate with people from many fields, I have built and researched Carta, a data-driven web application for course planning and exploration. Carta is regularly used by more than 90% of Stanford undergraduates. By making this process in higher education more data driven, online, and designed, we make visible the invisible undercurrents of student decision-making, and make it possible to nudge behavior (e.g., in exploring out-of-major courses) in measurable and generalizable ways.

Apart from my advisors, I'm very grateful to collaborate with René Kizilcec (Information Science, Cornell University), Tom Dee (Graduate School of Education), Michael Bernstein (Human-Computer Interaction, CS), and Geoff Cohen (Psychology). I cannot thank enough all Carta lab members. All of what I do wouldn't have been possible without the wonderful support from these people and also from several funding sources: the Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, the Office of the Dean of the Stanford School of Engineering, the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Previously, I was a data science research intern at Adobe Research, an Accel Scholar at Stanford University, a math and CS double major at Harvey Mudd College, a crime modeling student researcher at UCLA, a search software engineer intern at Yelp, and a study abroad student at Budapest University of Technology and Economics.

In 2018-2019, together with N'Art Methin Paspanthong, we are excited to be presidents of the Stanford Thai Student Association. Through my personal experience moving from Thailand to the US when I was 18, I see how cultural differences can impact life in many ways, ranging from enriching life experience and perspectives, to making things challenging (e.g., difficult communication, feeling lonely). Fortunately, a strong and supportive community can help a great deal. Thus, one of my main goals is towards inclusion: making sure all members have a voice, feel belonged, safe, and welcome, and have resources needed to thrive. I believe this is key to making everyone's Stanford experience memorable and empowering. Also, you don't need to be Thai to join our community.

In my free time, I love singing, going to musical events, traveling, playing tennis and table tennis, learning new things and learning from people, procrastinating reading emails, observing people's reactions when someone spreads (false) rumors about Carta's shutdown in a dorm, prototyping new ideas and trying to build cool stuff, trying out new data science tools, and, more generally, thinking and talking about the intersection of emerging technology and the human society.


  • (June 29, 2018) The Carta paper at the 2018 ACM Conference on Learning at Scale (L@S) received the best paper award!!

  • (April 16, 2018) Excited to intern at Robinhood in the Data Science team this summer!

  • (April 13, 2018) Paper titled “Choices, Identities, Paths: Understanding College Students’ Academic Decisions” for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA), Philadelphia, August 2018, is now available on SSRN here.

  • (May 14, 2017) Excited to intern at Adobe Research this summer.

  • (April 14, 2016) I'm grateful to receive the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning (VPTL) 2016 Grant. Also thanks for the generous support from Dean's Office in recognition of the University wide impact of the project.

  • (January 4, 2016) Paper on XORs with Shengjia, Stefano, and Ashish is accepted to AAAI and is available on arXiv.

  • (October 30, 2015) We just launched Carta, a course-planning tool that a few Stanford students and I have made! Unlike any other website, Carta uses official data from the Stanford registrar, including course grades and instructor evaluations. If you're a Stanford undergraduate student, we'd love for you to check out Carta for yourself. We're still in the initial phases and continuing to add more features, so it would be incredibly helpful if you could let us know what you think (good or bad) at

  • (October 8, 2015) Our SAILORS paper is accepted to a premier Computer Science education conference (SIGCSE 2016).

  • (August 8, 2015) New paper on Asynchronous Stochastic Convex Optimization is available on arXiv, so is code!

  • (April 12, 2015) I'll help the Stanford AI Lab with an outreach program, SAILORS, in this summer 2015. If you know female 9th graders who might be interested in AI, please encourage them to apply! (Edited: this year's application was closed. Please encourage them to apply next year.)