Dr. Chris Mattmann is an experienced IT Executive, CTO and Division Manager of the AI, Analytics and Innovative Development Organization in the Information Technology and Solutions Directorate at NASA JPL. At JPL Mattmann is the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer and reports to the CIO and Director for IT, and manages advanced IT research and open source and technology evaluation and user infusion capabilities. 

Mattmann is JPL’s first Principal Scientist in the area of Data Science. The designation of Principal is awarded to recognize sustained outstanding individual contributions in advancing scientific or technical knowledge, or advancing the implementation of technical and engineering practices on projects, programs, or the Institution. He has over 20 years of experience at JPL and has conceived, realized and delivered the architecture for the next generation of reusable science data processing systems for NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory, NPP Sounder PEATE, and the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) Earth science missions. Mattmann’s work has been funded by NASA, DARPA, DHS, NSF, NIH, NLM and by private industry and commercial partnerships. He was the first Vice President (VP) of Apache OODT (Object Oriented Data Technology), the first NASA project at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) and he led the project’s transition from JPL to the ASF.

He contributes to open source and was a member of the Board of Directors at the Apache Software Foundation (2013-18) where he was one of the initial contributors to Apache Nutch as a member of its project management committee, the predecessor to Apache Hadoop. Mattmann is the progenitor of the Apache Tika framework, the digital “babel fish” and de-facto content analysis and detection framework that exists. Today Mattmann contributes to TensorFlow, Google’s technology platform for all things machine learning and has recently finished a book on Machine Learning for TensorFlow, 2nd edition published by Manning Publications.

Mattmann is the Director of the Information Retrieval & Data Science (IRDS) group at USC and Adjunct Research Professor. He teaches graduate courses in Content Detection & Analysis & in Search Engines & Information Retrieval. Mattmann has materially contributed to understanding of the Deep Web and Dark Web through the DARPA MEMEX project. Mattmann’s work helped uncover the Panama Papers scandal which won the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism in 2017.

Career Highlights
and International Recognition

Professional Experience

2001 – 2019, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (NASA JPL)

  • Division Manager, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics and Innovative Development Organization, 2020 – present
  • Deputy CTIO, Office of the CIO, 2017 – 2020
  • Principal Data Scientist, Engineering & Science Directorate, 2016 – 2017
  • Chief Architect, Instrument and Science Data Systems Section, 2014 – 2016
  • Principal Data Scientist, 2014
  • Member of Technical Staff, 2001 – 2014

2007 – present, University of Southern California

  • Director, Information Retrieval & Data Science (IRDS) group, 2014 – present
  • Adjunct Research Professor, 2020-present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, 2013 – 2020
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, 2007 – 2013


  • Ph.D., Computer Science, University of Southern California (2007)
  • M.S., Computer Science (Multimedia & Creative Technologies) (2003)
  • B.S., Computer Science (2001)

Research Interests

Information Retrieval, Automation & Machine Learning, Search Engines, Open Source, IoT, Quantum Computing, Distributed Computing, Software Architectures.

Selected Awards

  • JPL Team Award, USC Capstone Partnership – JPL/USC, Instrument Software and Science Data Systems, 2016.
  • JPL Bonus Award, Outstanding Individual Contribution, Instrument Software and Science Data Systems, 2014.
  • Ticke’s Notable Scientists List twitter.com/ticckle/lists/notable-scientists, 2014.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Early Detection and Research Network (EDRN), 2011.
  • SoftArtisans 30 Hadoop and Big Data Spelunkers Worth Following List bit.ly/vEUQre, 2011.
  • JPL Mariner Award, Outstanding Individual Contribution, Instrument Software and Science Data Systems, 2011.
  • West Federal Labs Consortium Outstanding Partnership Award, NASA ARRA Water Resource Management Project, 2011.
  • First NASA Member of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), 2010.
  • NASA Team Award, Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), 2009.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Planetary Data System (PDS), 2008.
  • NASA Software Reuse WG Peer-Recognition Award (OODT CAS), October 2008.
  • NASA Space Act Award (OODT CAS), September 2008.
  • NASA Team Bonus Award, Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) mission, September 2008.
  • NASA Tech Briefs Award (OODT CAS), October 2007.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Planetary Data System (PDS), October 2007.
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, Object Oriented Data Technology (OODT) project, October 2007.

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