Javier A. Montoya obtained his Ph.D. degree from SISSA (Trieste, Italy) in late 2007, conducting research in the subject of structural optimization and physical characterization of crystalline structures using ab-initio techniques. His work continued as a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington (USA) in 2008 and as a postdoctoral associate at Princeton University (USA) in 2010. He currently works as a full-time professor at the Universidad de Cartagena (Colombia). He has co-developed state of the art algorithms to deal with the problem of finding local and global energy minima in multidimensional energy landscapes, as well as transition paths and kinetic barriers between those minima. His works also include the application of techniques for efficient convergence to local energy minima (BFGS algorithm with tens of variables), biased molecular dynamics (a.k.a. metadynamics), simulated annealing, and heuristic approaches to problems of interest for high pressure materials and planetary sciences. These optimization techniques are easily transferable to other types of problems that deal with optimization in many branches of physics.