Acuitus was established in 1999 to radically raise the quality of education for all.

We believe:

Any student can excel at any subject.

We can quickly lift any student from novice to expert. Given we can lift any, we can lift all.

Education must be about deep understanding, not about memory and pattern matching.

Great teaching focuses on the student’s thinking, not their answers.

Exceptional education begins with the very best tutor, teaching a single student.

If a student doesn’t understand, the tutor has failed; a student should never feel lost.

Education must be interactive, immersive, hands-on, and relevant.

Intellect, epistemology and science drive exceptional education;
 technology just provides uniform quality at low cost.

Acuitus is made up of incredibly passionate Software and AI Engineers, Educators, Psychologists and Staff who all want to fundamentally change how students learn, dramatically raising expectations for all.  Meet our leaders:


Dr. John Newkirk, CEO and Founder

Dr. John Newkirk has a distinguished career as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, CEO, Principal Investigator and member of the Stanford Faculty. He attended MIT, Harvard and Stanford, receiving a bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees in business and electrical engineering.  At Stanford, he won awards for his teaching and ran a 30-person research team that pioneered fundamental technology that lies at the foundation of modern integrated-circuit design.

Since 1995, John has focused on developing the theory, implementation and technology for improving education, creating experts in months rather than in years, and making this capability available to all students.  To support this vision, he assembled a highly talented, multidisciplinary team of researchers, engineers and academics, drawing upon the lessons learned over the past fifty years in education, cognitive psychology, social psychology, computer science, linguistics and artificial intelligence.


Maria Machado, VP and Founder

Maria began her career with National Semiconductor, Hewlett Packard and Sun Microsystems. She has a B.S. in Business Management and Information Systems from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.  

In 1997, she started Chalice, a company focused on homeschooling for elementary school students using immersive, 3D animation. She demonstrated that an immersive, highly interactive, relevant and intuitive "real-world" environment was very effective at teaching elementary-school students fundamental mathematical ideas.

This led to founding Acuitus, where she has been the VP of Product Development since its inception. She has led the Acuitus mathematics effort throughout its history. She has been responsible for the work Acuitus has done in the public schools, for the development of the teaching methodology, the evolution of the live-tutoring trials, and has been directly responsible for the tutors and middle-school students during these year-long trials. 


Dr. William Perry, Board Member

William J. Perry was the nineteenth United States Secretary of Defense, serving from February 1994 to January 1997. His previous government experience was as Deputy Secretary of Defense (1993–94) and Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (1977–81).

Dr. Perry's business experience includes serving as a laboratory director for General Telephone and Electronics (1954–64); founding and serving as the president of ESL (1964–77); executive vice-president of Hambrecht & Quist (1981–85); and founding and serving as the chairman of Technology Strategies and Alliances (1985–93).

Dr. Perry is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in the School of Engineering and the Institute for International Studies.  His previous academic experience includes professor at Stanford from 1988 to 1993, when he was the co-director of the Center for International Security and Arms Control.

Bill received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Stanford University and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State, all in mathematics. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Dr. George Shultz, Board Member

George P. Shultz served as US Secretary of State from 1982 to 1987 for President Reagan.   Previously,  he served on the Council of Economic Advisors, under President Eisenhower; as Secretary of Labor, as the first Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and then as the Secretary of the Treasury under President Nixon.

In 1974, Dr. Shultz became president and director of the Bechtel Corporation, continuing until 1982.  He returned as a Director and senior counselor in 1989.

Dr. Shultz is the Thomas W. and Susan B. Ford Distinguished Fellow at the Hoover Institution.  He began his academic career teaching Economics at MIT, was Dean of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business, and more recently the Jack Steele Parker Professor of International Economics at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.  He received his BA degree in economics from Princeton and his PhD in industrial economics from MIT.


Dr. John Seely Brown, Board Member

Until recently, John Seely Brown was the Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). At Xerox, John was involved in expanding the role of corporate research to include such topics as organizational learning, ethnographies of the workplace, complex adaptive systems and techniques for unfreezing the corporate mind. His personal research interests include digital culture, ubiquitous computing, user-centered design, and organizational and individual learning. A major focus of John’s research over the years has been in human learning and in the management of radical innovation.

Dr. Brown is a co-founder of the Institute for Research on Learning, a non-profit institute for addressing the problems of lifelong learning. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence. He also serves on numerous advisory boards and boards of directors. He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals and was awarded the Harvard Business Review’s 1991 McKinsey Award for his article, “Research that Reinvents the Corporation.” More recently he has served as editor of “Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation,” published by Harvard Business Review Books. Brown was also an executive producer for the award winning film “Art • Lunch • Internet • Dinner”, which won a bronze medal in the Ethnic/Cultural category at Worldfest 1994, the Charleston International Film Festival.

John has a B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Brown University and an M.S. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan.


Dr. Carver Mead, Advisory Board Member

Dr. Mead is an internationally known author and educator, renowned for his intellectual creativity. He is the Gordon and Betty Moore professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, having taught there for over 40 years. His vision and creativity, unshakable optimism, inspiration, leadership, and sheer intellect have had an incalculable impact by any technology metric, be it economic impact, research results or careers shaped. Author George Gilder, in a 1988 article for Forbes magazine, said of Carver: “No single individual has exerted a more profound influence on modern human productivity.” In 1999, Carver was honored with the Lemelson-MIT Prize for revolutionizing the semiconductor industry. In 2003, Carver received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush and National Academy of Engineering Founders for his “vision.”

Carver’s career is characterized by an endless string of “firsts.” He built the first GaAs MESFET, a device that is today a mainstay of wireless electronics. He was the first to use a physics-based analysis to predict a lower limit to transistor size; amazingly, back in 1972 he predicted devices so small we only began using them in 2000! His predictions, along with the notions of scalability that came with them, were instrumental in setting the semiconductor industry on its path toward submicron technology. He was the first to predict millions of transistors on a chip, and, on the basis of these predictions, he developed the first techniques for designing big, complex microchips.

Halfway through his career he switched direction, teaming with Professor John Hopfield and Nobelist Richard Feynman to study how animal brains compute. The trio catalyzed three fields: Neural Networks, Neuromorphic Engineering, and Physics of Computation. Carver created the first neurally inspired chips, including the silicon retina and chips that learn from experience, and founded the first companies to use these technologies: Synaptics and Foveon.

Carver’s teaching legacy is every bit as significant as his research. He taught the original founders of Sun Microsystems, Silicon Graphics, Silicon Design Labs, and countless others.

Carver continues his teaching tradition today. His new passion is finding a better way to teach freshman physics, using the quantum nature of matter as a sole basis.


Java Developers participate in the development of the core platform and supporting tools of our computer-based tutoring system.  Specific projects include creating and enhancing robust network applications, gathering and organizing large amounts of data collected from tutoring sessions, and designing and implementing complex user interfaces for internal tools.


Senior Java Developers play a central role in the development of our core tutoring platform and its supporting tools. We are looking for experienced Java Developers who are generalists and are exceptionally good at developing complex applications. We are also looking to add to our resident competence, including expanding our expertise in database design, compiler development, user behavior representation and analysis, and deployment of a bandwidth intensive server-client application.


We are leveraging the state-of-the-art in Artificial Intelligence along several critical dimensions.  Our psychological modeling, for capturing the behaviors of students, our modeling of human memory, the epistemology of content, and the behavior of tutors is unrivaled.  We are looking to hire an AI Developer to continue to develop two-dimensional handwriting recognition, our human-tutor interface, as well as the modeling of deep psychological processes.


Content Development Engineers participate in the creation of the content that runs on the Digital Tutor, the AI-based tutoring platform. Content Engineers play a crucial role, teamed with subject matter experts to port course material onto the AI engine. Content Engineers also develop the user-facing tools and applications that support the Digital Tutor, ranging from visualization and simulation widgets to data analysis tools.


We are looking for interns with a strong background in Computer Science. This is a paid internship in which you will be participating in the development of our AI-based tutoring system and its supporting tools. You will be doing vitally important work to advance our efforts. The ideal candidate will be a junior or senior undergraduate student studying computer science who has an interest in gaining valuable professional experience.


We are looking for ITs who have graduated from the Digital Tutor program who are interested in supporting the ramping of schools in Silicon Valley or Northern Virginia.

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Our Office

1050 Enterprise Way, BLDG C, Suite 200
Sunnyvale, CA 94089