Five years ago I (it’s me Dave Bacon former supposed pseudo-professor and one time quantum pontiff) jumped off the academic ship, swam to shore, and put on a new set of clothes as a software developer for Google. Can it really have been five years? Well I should probably update this blog so my mom knows what I’ve been up to.
- I helped build and launch Google Domains. From quantum physics professor to builder of domain name registrar. I bet you wouldn’t have predicted that one! Along the way I was lucky to be surrounded by a team of software engineers who were gracious enough to tell me when I was doing silly things, and show me the craft that is a modern software development. I may now, in fact, be a real software developer. Though this just means that I know how much I still need to master.
- We built a cabin! Well, we worked with wonderful architects and buiders to construct “New Caelifera” over in the Methow Valley (about 4 hours east of Seattle).
I have to say that this was one of the funnest things I’ve done in my life. Who knew a dumpy software engineer could also be an aesthete. Even cooler, the end result is an awesome weekend place that you have to drive through a National Park to get to. I’ve been super spoiled.
- Lost: my sister, Catherine Bacon, and my dog, the Test Dog. Life is precious and we should cherish it!
- Gained: a new puppy, Imma Dog Bacon. Imma dog? You’re a dog! Imma Dog!
- Hobbies. arXiv:1605.03266. The difference between being a hobby scientist and a professional scientist is that when you’re a professional it’s “Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Fail. Success!” and when you’re a hobbiest it’s “Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Fffffffaaaaaiiiiiillllll. Success?” Yes I’m that guy that reads your quantum computing papers at night after work for fun.
So maybe I’ll write another blog post in five years? Or maybe I should resurrect the Pontiff. I saw the Optimizer the other day, and he suggested that since it’s hard for me to blog about quantum computing stuff what with Google involved as it is, I could blog about stuff from the past. But I’m more of a promethean than a pastoralist. It didn’t occur to me until later that there is an alternative solution, one that is particularly appealing to a quantum dude like myself: maybe I should start blogging about an alternative universe? I’ve always liked Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.
I am so sorry to read about your loss …
ps: I liked Tloen,… too, but afaik it is not an alternative universe.
pps: Your cabin looks really cool!
Great update, you certainly have a great life. Sometimes I think that I should resurrect my old blog, Masteroftheuniverse. Nah:)
You should definitely resurrect the Pontiff. I’ve missed reading it -a lot-.
I’m with Joe Fitzsimons!
Thanks for the life update. I had assumed Google snatched you to work on their quantum computing venture. How did the switch to non-quantum software developer come about?
My understanding is that Google lets people work on their own pet projects part-time. Maybe you’re also doing something else there?
Oops — now I realize I was making a naive assumption about omniscient Google seeking you out for quantum computing. And I can see my first question was already answered here:
Your software development skills are obviously top-drawer (SciRate, for example), but I still don’t see why Google would let your quantum expertise go to waste. Do you spend any time with that part of the company?