Lia Adams, PhD
Technical Writer


I am a technical writer who worked for years in software research and development before specializing in technical communication. In my technical communication positions, I use my skills in problem solving, invention, observation, documentation, and instruction. I am available for contract work in March 2018.


My knowledge of computer science and mathematics gives me the vocabulary and experience needed to observe and interview experts in highly technical subject matter and to analyze the documentation needs of engineers developing software and hardware. As a writer of developer documentation, I organize and communicate technical material in documents, hypertext, and simulations.

In a variety of projects, I have documented software requirements, software designs, implementation plans, and programming interfaces (APIs). I am an inventor on four successful patents.

I learn the language, tools, and culture of new groups quickly.

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Work History

2017 Summer Google Inc.  Mountain View, CA

As a contract Technical Editor, I developed tutorials and concept papers for Google Cloud Platform.

2015 - 2016 Google Inc.  Mountain View, CA

As a contract Senior Technical Writer, I wrote documentation for the API and SDK of the Android for Work App. This app is used by developers of Android apps who need to run their apps on earlier versions of the Android operating system. In this job, I read and documented thousands of lines of source code in Java and interviewed content experts at Google.

2014 Summer Apple Inc.  Cupertino, CA

Made substantial changes to the iTunes Connect Developer's Guide to improve organization and to include new software features and hardware platforms.

2013 Summer PayWithMyBank   Redwood City CA

Wrote the Merchant Integration Guide for early adopters of the PayWithMyBank payment platform. The guide includes the

2007 - 2011  Google Inc.   Mountain View, CA

While employed at Google as a Senior Technical Writer, I planned, wrote, edited, and updated internal technical documentation.

2004 - 2006  Expert Support   Mountain View, CA

For Sony Computer Entertainment: wrote, edited, and updated technical documentation.

For Adobe Systems: Wrote, edited, and updated internal and external documentation.

2002 - 2003  Computer Science Department   Stanford, CA

Taught CS 143, an introductory course on the principles and practices of compiler construction. The topics included lexical analysis, theory of parsing, semantic analysis, runtime environments, code generation, and code improvement (optimization). I wrote and delivered lectures, prepared handouts, wrote exams, and supervised the students in their programming assignments, which culminated in a working compiler for a simple object-oriented language. My teaching got rave reviews from students.

2000 - 2001   Transmeta Corporation   Santa Clara, CA

While employed at Transmeta as a Technical Communicator, I contributed to the Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) document for a new processor. Responsibilities included interviewing hardware designers, reading bit layouts of instruction words to describe in English, and scripting the rebuild process for a multi-purpose ISA document that could be used to generate both human-readable text and compilable C code.

1998 - 2000   Lia Adams Consulting   Palo Alto, CA

As a Domain Expert at Reasoning Incorporated, I consulted on the functionality and user interface for a new product. I interviewed internal users, helped formulate the user interface requirements, and documented the implementation plan, including interfaces to the configuration management system, the source-code analyzer, and the database schema.

Contract Technical Writer for Expert Support, purveyor of highly technical writers.

Consultant to complete the prototype of Palette Converter tool at FX Palo Alto Laboratory Inc.

Development Strategist at Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology where I helped originate the Virtual Development Center.

1996 - 1998   Fuji Xerox Palo Alto Laboratory Inc.    Palo Alto, CA

As a Senior Research Scientist at FXPAL, I co-authored reports and papers, wrote patents, and gave technical workshops at Fuji Xerox Corporate Research Lab in Japan. As the project lead for collaboration through virtual spaces, I planned projects, budgeted and allocated resources, and coordinated project members' activities. I led the team in deploying virtual spaces on the web for collaborative work, using infrastructure from Xerox PARC, The Palace, and PlaceWare.

In adaptive software, I helped create a prototype system for creating programs by manipulating objects. We investigated physical objects not only as end user interface elements, but also as tools for actual programming.  To investigate opportunities for tangible interfaces, I observed people giving presentations and analyzed their activities, whereupon our group designed and prototyped the Palette physical interface.

1990 - 1996   Silicon Graphics Inc.   Mountain View, CA

As one of the first Members of Technical Staff on the CaseVision (later ProDev) team, I contributed to the design, implementation, and release of a successful product: the WorkShop software development tool suite, which won the Jolt Award for programmer productivity. During this project, I interviewed customers about the software tools they needed, proposed and designed features for our programming tools, negotiated with other groups in the company to enhance their code to support our tools, developed server-side product code in C, C++, and Ada 95, communicated with engineers on the WorkShop team to ensure smooth internal integration, wrote internal and external documentation, demonstrated the products to users, trained customers and marketing staff, and created automated tests for regression detection.

To integrate various tools and languages including Ada 95, I walked trees, augmented symbol tables, created ToolTalk messages, added queries to the code analyzer and browser, implemented debug-time expression evaluation, and defined an API for definitions and uses of symbols.

1989 - 1990   Sun Microsystems Inc.   Mountain View, CA

As a Member of Technical Staff I worked on dby, an advanced client/server debugger, implementing commands in the process control server and extending a tcl interface to them.  For our compiler front-end engineers, I documented the debugger's API for symbol-table information.

1983 - 1988   Stanford University   Stanford, CA

For my PhD research in the Computer Science Department, I designed and prototyped the Ogre editor for the grid (a rich, language-independent program structuring mechanism).  Ogre allowed programmers interactively to access and modify global structural information within the context of an individual module, while ensuring that program interconnections stayed consistent during program editing.  Ogre's efficient incremental-update algorithms made interactive grid access feasible for real programs, without the support of a monolithic environment.

Summer 1983 Xerox Palo Alto Research Center    Palo Alto, CA

As a research intern on the Voice Project in PARC's Computer Systems Lab, I enhanced the electronic mail system in the Cedar environment to add voice annotations to messages, using database operations to coordinate the management of audio resources.

Other experience at work and school

At Four-Phase Systems (now Motorola), I diagnosed and corrected errors in compilers and run-time libraries when field personnel were unable to find the problem.

At Berol Corporation, I modified and documented the previously comment-free business applications written in IBM assembly language, and I wrote a 100-page user manual documenting the order-processing and accounts receivable systems.

As a Cornell undergrad, I worked as a teaching assistant for classes in programming language principles, numerical analysis, differential equations, and expository writing.


Patents granted


In technical writing, I have used:

As an engineer, I used:

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