I was born in 1967 and was fortunate to have an extremely loving and nurturing family. My mother, father and grandparents all fostered an intense sense of wonder about the world and the universe, and they never grew tired of my endless questions about the way things work. At 3, I attended a Montessori-like school which was owned and operated by an expatriate French-Canadian couple. I acquired a lifelong fascination with the French language from them, which I continued to study throughout my school years and beyond through programs at Berlitz and Alliance Française d'Atlanta. Unfortunately, I've never had the the opportunity to immerse myself in the French language, so although I consider my reading fluency to be at a high level, my speaking and writing abilities are more modest.
As a child, my interests ranged from model rocketry to super 8mm filmmaking, deciphering the unsolved Beale letters through computer search techniques, Number theory, Prime number theory, the Riemann Hypothesis, and Fermat's Last Theorem.
My interest in languages did not stop with French and I have studied Egyptian Hieroglyphs (Gardiner's work Egyptian Grammar is fascinating), Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Arabic. I have always had a deep interest in computer languages as well, beginning with Basic and 6502 Assembly on an Apple IIe when I was 16.
An intense interest in Pi resulted after a promise by my high school trigonometry teacher to award an extra credit point for every digit of the number that could be memorized. I was able to recite 100 digits then, and later extended that to 900 digits, although a lack of practice has degraded my memory to the first 200 or so digits now. I proudly participated in my high school's Academic Olympics team where we placed 2nd in the state of Nevada for the 1984 school year.
In 1984, I first read Douglas Hofstadter's Pulitzer prizing winning book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid which forever altered my view of the Universe. Professor Hofstadter's literary works are beyond their time, and he will be remembered as the Albert Einstein of his generation.
I started with National Data Corporation in 1984, first in management, then in IT. I developed a terminal emulator in x86 Assembly language, and wrote a manpower scheduling system that was used to automatically schedule over 4,900 service agents in 7 call centers around the country by applying my interests in programming and Mathematics (specifically queuing theory and Poisson distribution).
A Games Magazine contest drove me to develop a computer solution to a topological mathematics problem through brute force exhaustion of the search space, for which I tied for 1st place. My interest in investing became a passion when I helped form a very profitable stock club partnership in 1992, which I served as Treasure of until it was retired in 2007.
My introduction to distributed computing started with the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. I later joined the seti@home project in 1999, and have strongly supported this highly effective, low cost search for extra-terrestrial intelligence financially for several years now. I recently began participating in the rosetta@home distributed computing search to understand the folding structure of protein molecules which may ultimately lead to cures for some major human diseases.
This year, I continued my philosophy of financially supporting causes for which I am passionate about by joining the SETI Institute, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and the Lifeboat Foundation. The SIAI's mission: "In the coming decades, humanity will likely create a powerful artificial intelligence. The Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SIAI) exists to confront this urgent challenge, both the opportunity and the risk."
I work today for McKesson Corporation as a UNIX system support manager in the Atlanta area and have 23 years of industry experience.
My Top 3 "Top ?" lists (all listed in no special order):
Top 9 Singularity Heroes (influence, ideas and style)
Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Douglas Hofstadter, Ray Kurzweil, Ben Goertzel, Eliezer Yudkowsky, Tyler Emerson, Bruce Klein, Michael Anissimov
Top 3 Books
Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Godel Braid, The Mind's I, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
Top 5 Films
Donnie Darko, The Matrix, Groundhog Day, 12 Monkeys, eXistenZ