This week we welcome Oliver Schoenborn as our PyDev of the Week. He is the author of the PyPubSub project, a version of which is included with wxPython. He has been an active contributor on the wxPython mailing list where I have always appreciated his insights. You might find his Dr. Dobbs article interesting as well, even though it’s a bit old. Let’s spend a few moments getting to know him better!
Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):
I’m a Senior Consultant at CAE Inc in Ottawa, where I engineer simulation systems for a variety of applications.
I started programming on an Apple IIe in 1982 when I was 13 years old. I bought it used, with my own money that I had saved for a few years for “some day when I would want something really big”. I discovered Assembly programming on that machine, with peeks and pokes and interrupts and registers, and was hooked. I moved on to Basic and Pascal and Prolog. I created my first simulation in my last year of high-school for a programming course project. Discovering C++ in the mid-90’s was a revelation, I found the object-oriented approach so intuitive, and I’m still a stickler for clean interfaces and refactoring. During my high-school years I thought that Physics was my passion and I received my Physics PhD in 1998 from University of Toronto, but I came to realize that programming was my real passion and have made that the focus of my professional career.
I haven’t worked in Physics since my degree, but during my PhD I developed many valuable skills such as problem solving, bug finding, testing, approximations, process modeling, and Unix development. As such, I have been fortunate to work on some very fun and challenging industrial projects, including: crane operation trainer in a fully immersive virtual environment (with a real crane cab and controls, and surround display etc);a Search and Rescue trainer which allows an instructor to challenge a student to spot and alert against threats on a military aircraft; an Avionics maintenance trainer that allows a classroom of students to each troubleshoot defects on a modern aircraft using virtual tools and virtual cockpit and work areas and a Human Resources planner that allows an Operational Research department to conduct “what-if” analyses of 100,000 employees evolving over the span of 20-30 years in the future.
Other than an obsession for programming, I love snowboarding, and playing the harmonica (blues and folk, although I don’t have much time anymore to learn anything new). If you are middle-aged and want to learn how to snowboard without breaking your rear-end, let me know and I’ll share the tricks that allowed me to enjoy this wonderful sport.