1. Undergraduate research
In my fourth year of undergrad, I decided to try and do something that I considered “really hard,” so I signed up for an undergraduate thesis to do research into simulating quantum annealing computers. I invested myself very heavily in it, taught myself monte carlo simulation methods and implemented multiple solvers from scratch. This grew into a funded summer research position.
My work over the summer involved simulating a quantum annealing computer solving a quadratic unconstrained binary optimization problem, which was actually representative of another type of quantum computing device doing some trivial logic.
2. Arduino Based Sunrise Lamp
What started out as teaching my partner Lise some basic electronics over the summer grew into a really fun project. We put together a pretty awesome sunrise emulating headboard lamp. Once we had a working prototype, I got an itch to simplify the hardware, remove jumpered connections and generally clean up all of the unintended “features” that crept in. The final version is actually pretty!
3. This website!
I had always been intimidated by web programming, since I had zero formal instruction in the area. Then again, it’s not like I had formal instruction in scientific computing, embedded systems, virtual networking, or PCB design, and I’ve actually been paid to do all those things.
This site was built from the ground up using Jekyll and sass to replace my old Wordpress site which was mostly good at sending me emails about update requests or brute force attacks on the admin page.
I had a great time producing this site was as little code repetition as I could manage. Jekyll was a pleasure to use and being able to place conditional statements inside my DOM was awesome as it allowed me to create fairly flexible layouts. I also really enjoyed being able to version control my site and deploy it from the command line using only RSync.
To wrap things up, I built a Jekyll theme called “Ezora” from the site and it is now available through GitHub.