Here are some questions people might have:
Q: I want to learn to code, what language should I use?
A: A simple one. I wouldn’t choose C, or Java , or Swift. They are too complex, and contain things that aren’t needed in the beginner stage. I would honestly choose something like Python, Julia, Processing, or even Fortran.
Q: I want to design programs, does language matter?
A: Yes. Every language excels at something. Very few languages can do everything.
- Scientific programs → Fortran, or Julia.
- Statistical work → Julia or R.
- Systems programming → C.
- Apps for IOS → Swift.
- Rapid prototyping → Python, Julia.
- Image processing → Julia.
- Real-time systems → Ada.
- Visual data → Processing.
Q: Do I need to know OO (object-oriented)?
A: Not when starting out, and I would imagine you can get away with avoid it all-together. It has its benefits, but honestly sometimes its just a hassle for smaller programs.
Q: How many degrees do I need?
A: Honestly – none. Don’t get me wrong, there are inherent benefits to a university degree, but I have four of them, and they don’t really allow me to do anything that special. If I could levitate things, or perform magic it might be one thing. Did they expand my mind? Not really. Lifes experiences did that. I don’t really know why you need a PhD to teach, seems like overkill to me. There are plenty of exceptional teachers in many professions, and they have no formal qualifications. People can be successful at anything as long as they try. There are days I wish I had become a cabinetmaker.
Q: Do you like AI?
A: No, I don’t. The world is full of too many things that taking thinking away from humans, which I don’t think is a good thing. People can’t even add numbers is their mind anymore, so I’m not a big fan of making us think even less. I’m sure there is a role for AI, but we shouldn’t let it replace us. I do however like the idea of synths.
Q: Do I believe in life in space?
Out in the cosmos? Sure do. The numbers behind the vastness of the universe, or even our own galaxy suggest there is other life out there somewhere. Likely smarter than we are, and avoiding us until we evolve into better beings.
Q: Do you like Star Wars?
Oh yes. Most certainly. But I also like Star Trek, and am a big fan of French comic Valerian (and honestly the movie too). If you haven’t read the series, I highly recommend it.
Q: Do you do research?
A: I dabble is computer science pedagogy, and scholarly work related to programming languages (mostly from a historical context) and image processing/digital/analog photography. Outside of this I have an interest in historical food, and woodworking, areas I also do research in.
Q: Do you take on graduate students?
I don’t currently have any graduate students (or any funding), but I do supervise undergraduate research projects. I do not take on PhD students. If you are interested in becoming an masters student, by all means email me, but please don’t email me saying “I have looked at your webpage and it seems like my background is a good fit for the research you are doing”. As is often the case it never is. What characteristics am I looking for?
- You must be a self-motivated, self-directed individuals who wants to expand their horizons (I am not into micro-managing).
- You must have an exceptional grasp of English and be able to write. Like I really mean this – if you don’t have writing skills (beyond scientific writing), please don’t email me.
- From the perspective of programming, you must be multilingual, and by this I don’t mean you know C/Java/C++. You should know Fortran, Python, Julia, maybe even Ada.
Q: Why do you blog?
A: Why not? I don’t like technology much, but I do like to write, and disperse knowledge that I have gained. Maybe it’s useful to someone. I don’t think writing journal articles is necessarily a very fruitful way to spend time, as very few people read them. Blogging gets things out to the masses, that and I can write a series of articles of a topic without it taking 6 months. And of course it is useful to people. A series of articles on learning to program is inherently more beneficial to people than an article on the usefulness of AI in improving the bubblesort algorithm.
Q: What do you know about usability ?
A: I’m not a usability expert, I look at usability from the primary aspect – use. I actually do some work in tactile usability as it pertains to the design of tools used by humans (e.g. kitchen tools, woodworking tools).