I’m a World-Class Nerd

An Optimist at the Helm of IBM Research

In the last few years, we’ve seen an unprecedented surge in the number of great minds from the world of computing, ranging from entrepreneurs to the leading researchers to the inventors of the newest and greatest computer technologies. I’m proud to count myself amongst them.

I’ve been a computing enthusiast and practitioner my whole life. In fact, I’m one of the original members of the C&C Computers of Great Britain computer club back in the early 1980s. Now, I work with IBM Research as a member of the IBM Research Division.

And I’m not just a nerd, but a world-class nerd. As a high school student preparing for my first semester at Westfield High School in the fall of 1976, I joined an IBM Model 100 computers club to learn how to program a mainframe computer. This year, in 2017, I’m part of the world’s smallest, hottest, and fastest supercomputer — the IBM System x5 — that’s used to solve some of the best mathematical problems in the world.

As a kid, I would sit in front of the IBM Selectric typewriter, my father’s word processor, and my IBM 360/65s typewriter to write my high school math, English, and science papers, and to create my first programs to run on my IBM Model 100. And when I was around 13, I decided to use my dad’s word processor to write my college papers on the back of a floppy disk, because he was so old-fashioned that he did not even have CDs.

Later, I used a Commodore computer, like the one my brother used when he was in high school in the 1980s. I also used a mainframe computer as a teenager to help solve some of my school math homework. I would get an A in math class. I can remember my freshman year of high school, we had to do several assignments that were way beyond the scope of our school assignment. The mainframe computer

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