Class of '74
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Upon graduating from Campion, I had a vague notion that I wanted to study "science". This was met with instant approval by my family, who cited several non-existent relatives who had achieved great success in the field. One such relative had supposedly discovered gravity. Another was rumored to have (single-handedly) invented the field of particle physics while juggling two part-time jobs.
The pressure to follow in their footsteps was immense. I knew had only two options: (a) compete with thousands of kids (a lot smarter than me) and apply to IIT, or (b) not.
After pondering this life altering decision for precisely four minutes, I chose (b) and enrolled in the Inter Science program at Elphinstone College, where I spent several months honing my musical skills and discovering women. After completing a B.Sc. in Physics, I began to pursue an M.Sc. because it seemed like the logical thing to do, but mostly because I had no other prospects.
In 1980, I was accepted into Virginia Tech's MS (Electrical Engineering) program. It was here that I met my first computer (a Digital VAX-11/780) and realized that all I ever wanted to do in life was write software. I switched my field of study (and eventually my university) and graduated summa cum laude with an MS (Computer Science) in 1984.
After teaching for a couple of years, I joined DEC's Artificial Intelligence Technology Center in 1987, where I helped develop expert systems (programs that try to solve "hard" problems by emulating the human reasoning process). In 1994, I joined Eastman Kodak and was part of the team that built the company's first successful consumer imaging software product, Kodak Picture Disk.
Somewhere along the way, I fell in love (twice), almost married (once), and started my own company, Matrix Software. In 2000, I left the world of large corporations for the world of start-ups. Today, I work with a bunch of geeks from MIT at a really cool company called Endeca. We build software that helps people find stuff. Google hates us. Our customers love us. We wouldn't have it any other way!
When I'm not working, I like building free software for ordinary folks (you can find my offerings here), writing technical articles, playing guitar and piano, and watching endless reruns of Cops and Jackass.