I am a software engineer from Australia. I have lived in San Francisco for most of the last three years. I'm interested in data structures and effective altruism.
I work at Triplebyte.
I make fun music like this.
I grew up in Townsville, Australia. After high school, I studied computer science and physics at the Australian National University for two years. At the end of 2013, I moved to San Francisco for App Academy. After the nine week course, App Academy offered me a job as a TA. I worked there until returning to Australia for university in June. You can read an interview I did about App Academy here. Somehow I managed to convince ANU that App Academy counted as a semester abroad, so I graduated with just one more semester of university.
After graduating, I moved back to SF; I worked for PayPal in Scala for most of a year, then left to work at Triplebyte.
Within computer science, my main interests are advanced data structures, programming language implementation, and functional programming.
I wrote a search engine for data structures and presented on it at Scala By The Bay 2016; you can read about it here. I presented on a similar project at Scala By The Bay 2015; you can see a video here.
I recently tried to exhaustively catalogue solutions to problems of the form “given a set of data structures, find the th smallest item in their union”. I love data structures which can be used to solve a wide variety of problems, such as augmented binary search trees. I hate interview questions like this one which use pseudo-algorithmic problems as an excuse to ask people useless brainteasers. I like thinking about algorithmic problems which result from taking simple games like Connect-4 and seeing what happens when you make them much larger. Occasionally my interest in polyamory crosses over with my interest in algorithms, with amusing results.
I recently worked with Michael Dickens on a quantitative model for cause prioritization. You can try the model here. This project started out entirely motivated by desire to estimate cost-effectiveness of different non-profits, and somehow ended up as the most interesting algorithm design problem which I’ve ever needed to solve for a practical purpose.
I write songs and used to play them with my band Buck et al in Canberra.
I’m a utilitarian and care a lot about making the world better.
Currently, I’m mostly trying to do good by earning to give. I don’t think that earning to give makes as much sense as I used to. I chose my current job partially because I’d have the opportunity to learn about lots of non-programming skills which will be useful after I finish up my earning-to-give programming career.
I’m involved with the effective altruism movement, which has sprung up in recent years around organizations like Giving What We Can (of which I am a member), GiveWell, and the Center for Effective Altruism. I regularly attend the Stanford effective altruism meetups.
In 2015, I was on a panel at EA Global in Mountain View. In 2016, I ran a workshop on advanced career planning for EA software engineers.
I wrote about the biggest effective altruism mistakes I made in 2014 and 2015 here.