The peculiar biography below is my way of explaining what I am trying to do now.
My very first home computer was a PDP-11/04 with dual 8″ floppy disk drives and a teletype machine complete with attached paper tape reader. My dad bought it for me. I was still in grade school but had fallen in love with computers after a Mindstorms summer program in Logo using Apple II microcomputers. I still love computers today as much as I did then. No, I love them more.
My second home computer was an Atari 800. I spent one summer learning to program in BASIC. The next summer, I took a summer class writing Atari 800 video games using Synassembler. This was an awesomely fast assembler, perhaps 10x to 100x faster than Atari’s unbelievably slow macro assembler. Synapse Software never released Synassembler. I recall the instructor said that it had a major design flaw – it overwrites itself. However, we had Synassembler on bootable ROM cartridges which were immune to this.
My first college course was elementary algebra when I was ten years old. San Francisco State still sends alumni material to my parents’ house. The next year, I had permission to take geometry and trigonometry classes (concurrently) at the local high school up the street from my middle school. This placed me five grade levels ahead of my peers in mathematics. In hindsight, this also meant I was far behind in many other areas.
After that came a few years of confusion and aimlessness.
That ended when I found out about calculus in my last year of high school. Wow! This eventually led to changing majors from computer engineering to applied mathematics as an upperclassman in university. At the time, I wanted to know how to build an AI and felt the answer required mathematics. I still don’t know if this is true, false or undecidable.
I had a weird postgraduate education. It ended up that I dropped out of two PhD programs, one at Stanford and the other at NC State. Now I see how bad this was and how many people I let down. The final result of so much aborted education was only a deep attachment to linear and matrix algebra. This is my second love after computers.
After a normal career writing applications software, I had this super-weird job as a quantitative software development engineer. By the time I left, the team was mostly PhDs specializing in statistics, machine learning and economics. The world changed.
What I am doing now is an attempt to address this.
Etymology of fastkor: Forecasting Analysis Systems Team + BellKor … This is a kind of joke on my part.