About Me

General

July 2016:

As of February 2016 I began working as a developer with Computercentric. Here I look after line of business applications for our clients using VB, SQL Server, PHP, Javascript - in fact whatever language the projects are in!

Hence updating of this site has stalled out whilst I focus on working!

In addition to the above, I'm currently engaged in learning category theory, analysis and proofs. The aim is to end up with sufficient mathematical background to take my interest in machine learning much further in the coming years. These won't be the only areas of maths I'm interested in, however I've come to the conclusion I may not get as far as I want without the latter two topics. At a later stage, I may list the books for those that are interested in the autodidact route for this subject.

End update

I'm a self taught developer with experience in SQL, .Net languages, R and more recently HTML5/Javascript

In addition to these, I've spent some time over the last year learning how to model in 3D using Blender - an open source 3D modelling/animation package

This site is two things to me: a direct demonstration of the web skills I'm learning and a place to blog and store content.

A little history

I started with Care Management Systems with little to no coding experience. The role was a combination of content research, client support and training, sales and many other things a small business needs.

However, with each site having a SQL server installed, it became very useful to learn basic SQL skills. Later, it became even more useful to learn enough VB to get into trouble. Then out of it.

Over the following years, whilst I was there, I taught myself OOP and, of course, tried to swallow several books on the general subject. This led to the usual "read a book" mania that experienced developers love to put up with!

During that time however, I learnt enough F# to appreciate the difference and have it affect how I wrote code as a whole. Some of the work I did was released in the company's product as a result

After this, I took time out before starting with Nisbets where I really learnt much more in depth SQL as well as commercial standard code practices - mainly relating to exception handling, events and source control. It was around this time I began to use Github and learnt enough Git to get by

In the last months, since leaving Nisbets, I spent a lot of time learning a variety of related areas and have become active in the F# community as a whole.

Prior to all this, I'd a few years experience in general IT but I spent a lot of time learning completely different fields: neuroscience and hypnotherapy to name a couple.

In February 2015 I began teaching myself to model in Blender - a fantastic piece of open source software. This is where the strange looking ship/creatures on my pages come from.

Machine learning and AI fascinates me - this is an area I plan to delve deeply into over the next decade or more.

Woven throughout the last 18 months or more has been the task of learning some higher mathematics. My starting point was a GCSE education, so there was (still is) a leap from basics to the higher level conceptualisation required to tackle this area. However, to really understand how AI works, I feel it's an area I'll be constantly coming back to for decades. At time of writing, I do see it as a science of patterns of relationships.

My formal education stopped at 16 - however since then I've spent much of my time as an auto didact; with the modern internet, I believe hard smart work can replace spending thousands on formal education in many circumstances.

The writing and the starships:

Their world is an idea I had in November 2014 and began with sketches of the characters first. I tried to plot a story arc with them, nearly killed the whole thing for me. I'm an extrapolator more than a planner, at least with creative pursuits and have since realised their story will grow over time rather than be rushed out to fill a plot. The ships are described more fully on their website, though at time of writing I need to rebuild the site with a more experience eye to design!

January 2016:

And yes, at time of writing, I'm actively seeking employment in the Midlands area. I tend to adapt to roles, rather than having the ideal "unicorn" ticklist already on my CV. The entries on my site and my repositories should offer some idea of the experience I've had.

I'm no fan of having a fixed "plan for my life" in place, however despite that, I do have some plans for this year and somewhat rougher plans for the following years

These relate to things I wish to learn about even more than areas I'd like to work in. As I've found it easy to gain new interests, this is subject to considerable expansion.

The sections below cover some of these plans and interests

Programming

Machine learning and AI

An exploding field that I find fascinating as a whole. Eventually I'd like to work my way up to working with self driving cars and contribute to the development of general AI

The plan here is learn by wheel reinvention before then going onto to using established libraries.

Why?

Just as student programmers learn to implement basic sorting/searching code to learn their craft properly, I feel that understanding the nuts, bolts, mechanics and maths of how basic ML algorithms are implemented is a valueable skillset

So rather than follow a few tutorials and produce results quickly, my plan is as follows:

A list like this is necessarily incomplete at best - for example I'm interested in working with IBM's True North neuromorphic chip or perhaps learning how to emulate it with an FPGA (meaning I'll need to learn VHDL and so on).

Maths

My interest in maths didn't start until I was 35 where it became interesting in relation to programming as a whole. However, over time I learnt enough basic calculus and matrix algebra to follow some of the machine learning courses on Coursera. The list below is a combination of areas I've started looking into via Khan Academy/other sources or plan to. The focus is on where it helps me with machine learning or other aspects of programming including graphics.