Wednesday, July 02, 2008


Professional Development

My career has hit a pothole again. As an independent contractor, I took a gig that was supposed to be a long-term project involving design and implementation of the next generation of an important system. Unfortunately, that project got canceled during a re-org, and so now my job involves patching holes in an old codebase. The working conditions are good, and they pay me well, so I'm going to stick with it for the rest of the year, but it's time to find a new direction.

What direction? When I originally got interested in computers as a teenager, simulation was something that appealed to me, and lately my interest has been rekindled. Constructing abstract models of the world has always been what I like about being a software developer. Unfortunately, I haven't had a lot of experience with simulation, but I do want to head in that direction.

I discovered that Georgia Tech offers a distance-learning graduate program for "Modeling and Simulation." I'm not sure yet that I want to (or even can) commit to a couple of years of graduate work, but I have a few months to work that out if I want to start in Fall 2009. So, I'm going to take the GRE and do other things in preparation for that.

I've finally done something I've wanted to do for twenty years: I've joined the ACM and IEEE. I'm going to try to thoroughly study a couple of journal articles each week.

I've been learning Erlang. I gave it a try a few years ago, but at that time the functional-programming features confused me. Now, after some experience with OCaml and Haskell, that aspect is familiar and so I can concentrate on the concurrency and fault-tolerance features. The language fits in well with my ideas of how simulations should be implemented, so I hope to have a chance to use this language someday.

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