Buck Shlegeris

I am a software engineer from Australia. I have lived in San Francisco for most of the last three years. I'm interested in data structures and effective altruism.

I make fun music like this.


I grew up in Townsville, Australia. After high school, I studied computer science and physics at the Australian National University for two years. At the end of 2013, I moved to San Francisco for App Academy. After the nine week course, App Academy offered me a job as a TA. I worked there until returning to Australia to finish my degree. You can read an interview I did about App Academy here. Somehow I managed to convince ANU that App Academy counted as a semester abroad, so I graduated with just one more semester of university.

After graduating, I moved back to SF; I worked for PayPal in Scala for most of a year, then left to work at Triplebyte. After about two years there, I quit my job to move into AI safety work.


Within computer science, my main interests are advanced data structures, programming language implementation, and functional programming.

I wrote a search engine for data structures and presented on it at Scala By The Bay 2016; you can read about it here. I presented on a similar project at Scala By The Bay 2015; you can see a video here.


I write songs and used to play them with my band Buck et al in Canberra.

Effective altruism

I’m a utilitarian and care a lot about making the world better.

I’m involved with the effective altruism movement, which has sprung up in recent years around organizations like Giving What We Can (of which I am a member), GiveWell, and the Center for Effective Altruism.

In 2015, I was on a panel at EA Global in Mountain View. In 2016, I ran a workshop on advanced career planning for EA software engineers.

I wrote about the biggest effective altruism mistakes I made in 2014 and 2015 here.

I contracted for the Open Philanthropy Project for a while working on a project to model some features of an illusionist account of consciousness.