Welcome to my blog. I am a PhD candidate at Cornell, a researcher, and a system builder.
I began surfing the Internet on dialup around the time I entered grade school. This was a time when the web was spreading rapidly throughout the country; I think I'm near the beginning of the generation that grew up on the Internet, but still knows what a party line is and how to operate a rotary telephone.
I received my first computer just before entering the third grade. While my peers were going crazy with their Nintendo 64, I was busy tinkering with my "new" Commodore 64. It taught me a special kind discipline: The monitor could barely disambiguate the characters "BDGO08", so programming was as much about thinking what I was going to type as it was reading the display. I'm pretty sure the frankenstein tape drive I got with the machine had the distinct honor of both storing data for the C64 and playing Creedence Clearwater Revival in a prior life. I had no great epiphanies as a child, I wasn't a prodigy, I just liked to hack.
This motivation has gotten me to where I am today. I enjoy building systems, and they are often equal parts intellectual exploration and an expression of the closest thing I have to artistic expression. The system I've built to date that you're most likely to have heard of is HyperDex. I also hold the record for most instances of "WTF" in a peer-reviewed academic publication. On a completely different note, I have an Erdős number of 2.
I believe in the, "Speak softly and write lots of code," approach to life. I've kept this approach through much of my graduate school career, limiting my public opining to the occasional rant on Facebook out of some misplaced obligation to publish or perish. As my graduate career approaches its Nth year, I'm finding this approach to be backwards: I need to be more open about my research agenda, more willing to call out bad ideas, and more willing to accept when my ideas are bad.
This blog is the beginning of my experiment.