I’m a senior engineer at GitHub. I work on the Semantic Code team, where I work on distributed systems, static analysis, and programming language theory.
I was born in Limerick, Ireland. My parents immigrated to the United States when I was very young. I’ve lived in seven different states, but New York City is my home. I’ve been programming since I was ten years old, and I’ve been a professional programmer since I was eighteen. (It’s the only job I’ve ever had.) I started my career at Apple, where I worked on macOS (10.5 through 10.7) and the iWork suite; I left in 2014 to work for a series of startups.
I’m passionate about a great many things in life. Here is an inexhaustive list thereof:
- Programming languages. Programming languages lie at the intersection between the binary, deterministic, silicon world of computers and the inexact, chaotic, organic world of human consciousness and communication. I believe that all programming languages, no matter how strange or quirky, are worthy expressions of human creativity and expression. I am driven to understand the history and historical impact of programming languages, the capabilities of the languages I use for work and play, and modern developments in programming language theory that will determine the course of future languages.
- Functional programming. FP is an inexact concept, one that means many things to many people. To me, functional programming is the practice of applying mathematical formalisms to real-world programming problems. My experience in industry has convinced me that a declarative, rather than imperative, approach to program design makes it easier to deliver reliable, predictable software artifacts to the world at large. I use the functional programming language Haskell to provide me with an elegant and powerful vocabulary for expression functional programs.
- Open source. I contribute to several open-source projects, the most notable of which are
fused-effects, an effect system for Haskell. I also work on a bunch of other projects. Though I don’t think that an open-source license makes a piece of software a priori good, I think that open-source can and should be used to marshal against the effects of capitalism. I care about the evolution of ethical software licenses.
- Emacs. I think that Emacs, for all its flaws, is one of the great achievements in all software. I spend all day inside Emacs and have spent more than a decade fine-tuning my setup.
- Mental health advocacy. I live with type-1 bipolar disorder. Mine is well-managed, but I believe it’s a moral imperative to provide free, universally-accessible mental health (and physical health) treatment to everyone who needs it.
- Rap. I owe much of who I am to the visionaries and luminaries who’ve used their music to give me a window into their world.
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