Retrospection 2006

Inspired by other bloggers on Planet Haskell, I thought I'd just sit down and write a retrospection post, reviewing the past year - primarily from angles such as mathematics, computers and my generic life situation.

It divides neatly into two different sections: the months as a commercial programmer and the months as PhD student and academic careerist.

The year began still working for Teleca Systems, and with security consulting for Stockholm-based firms and frequent trips back home.

Then as the year went on and my PhD applications grew more and more, I started getting results. I got invited to Bonn for an interview with the Homology and Homotopy graduate school program - which was in the end turned down because I was more of a homological algebraist than a topologist. And the week after that, I was invited to Jena for an interview for a position doing PhD work on computational homological algebra. The interview went well, the potential advisor was nice (and a once-roleplaying gamer to sweeten the deal more) and I got the position just a few days later.

While in Switzerland.


On a weeklong luxurious conference in operad theory at a skiing resort in the western part of the swiss alps. Lots of skiing, fantastic food, lots of REALLY COOL people (I'm looking at you, pozorvlak, among others) and lots of fascinating mathematics.

As I returned there, it was time to wrap up my position with Teleca, disengage from all my duties, document everything I had done, train everyone else in my stuff, and get out of there. Preferably before the summer term started. Oh, and get through the bureaucracy involved in getting hired at a German university. It's a fascinating experience, I can tell you. Especially when you get asked whether you were involved with the Stasi during communist east Germany.

Freshly hired, I had a week to get my affairs in order, and then got thrown on my first bunch of students. Teaching and reading up on cooooool mathematics for several months, leaving a little bit for visits to Sweden, and then hitting the vacation hard with a long relaxing visit to Sweden, and a marriage proposal.

The summer also saw the Pirate Bay raid, my heightened interest in the politics of privacy, and membership in the Pirate Party, the election, and following the election results explicitly with attention to the Pirate Party results.

After the vacation came conference summer, stretching August through September, with between 2 and 4 conferences depending on how you count them, and a little bit of research. At the end of this, a new term started and with that a new direction for my PhD research. This was, at the same time, the period when I got enamoured with Haskell, read up on it, grew more and more interested, fascinated, captivated.

During the time in Jena, I got involved in a roleplaying troupe, in a mathematical magazine (with two articles published by now!), in a group organizing math camps (participating in one camp), and getting hold, slowly, of a decently sized social circle.

And then the end of the year hit before I knew what happened. It ends tomorrow - and I have things hanging in idle loops swarming my head like angry bees and waiting to be channeled through my consciousness out on paper and code, and get me running with my research.

That's my year in review. How was your?