My name is Alan and this is my personal site. I do software for a living. My background is in computational mathematics, but I’m not especially active in research. I have a wife and two boys, and a neutral evil cat (but I repeat myself).
My training, along with most of my short list of publications, is in numerical algebraic geometry.
I find classical algebraic geometry to be beautiful but almost completely opaque.
My interests have always
lay (lain? lie? lien?) been on the computational side, so I emphasize the numerical part.
I’ve just begun to take a closer look at approximation theory with Trefethen’s Approximation Theory and Approximation Practice alongside Rivlin’s An Introduction to the Approximation of Functions.
Trefethen uses Chebfun for the examples in his book, but I don’t have a Matlab license anymore, so I’m trying to use ApproxFun.
I like Linux. My personal daily driver is a System76 Serval WS, which, aside from some hiccups involving the NVIDIA GPU (mostly on Fedora, but I’ve since reverted to System76’s Pop!_OS and had no issues), and the camera hardware, has been an absolute pleasure to use. At work I use Ubuntu 18.04 on an Origin which has the same mobo as the Serval, and that’s been pretty nice to work with too.
I usually listen to classical music or jazz at home. If I really want to concentrate I might put on something more atmospheric, even doomy. I also like band like Ladytron and Massive Attack, and the absolute classics like Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, or Rush, and I dig stoner metal as a style.
I don’t get to play much anymore, but at one point I was the bassist for the 1st Marine Division band, and I still have many instruments, most of them stringed, now mostly gathering dust. When my kids get older, maybe I’ll play some more.
I mostly like to read science fiction. Right now I’m reading Blue Mars in audiobook form.
I write the occasional book review here. I put off writing a review for Red Mars and took a long time to read Green Mars, but I’m plowing through Blue Mars. I really don’t want to let it all go unreviewed, so my next review will be of the entire trilogy.
I play a lot of chess. It’s probably the one thing I do most on my phone. I have an account on lichess.org and one on chess.com. For some reason, my Elo ratings are much different between sites. You should add me and challenge me to a game!
In late 2019 and early 2020 (before the pandemic), I ran a couple of 5Ks. Here’s me running a 5K last January, just before the pandemic:
I quite enjoy racing, even if my times are only about average for my age group. I’d registered for a few more races in spring 2020, but they were all cancelled (unfortunately, but obviously the correct thing to do). With no races, I lost the motivation to run and have only done it sporadically since. The hope is that by mid-fall things will be back to normal, so, inshallah, my next race will be a turkey trot.
Not having run much lately means I have to start from square one: 3 miles a week. I have a tendency to go too hard in my training and end up hurting myself, so in the next year I plan to add no more than half a mile per week on average, with frequent rest periods. “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
My 2021 goals are (modified from their original values after a reality check):
730435 miles (Beeminder goal). (See the running page for a log.)
2500030000 XP in Chinese on Duolingo (Beeminder goal).
5240 or more posts to the blog (Beeminder goal).
- Use a Raspberry Pi to power an autonomous robot that can avoid obstacles and perform SLAM in an indoor environment.
There are some stretch goals, but I’m keeping them back.
The sweet theme is (slightly) modified from Chip Zoller’s Hugo Clarity. Many thanks, Chip. 🙏
Send me email:
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