About me

Well, a modern blog, is nothing without a narcissist bit about its author, isn’t it ?

My name is Hadrien and I was born and currently live in France (been to Grenoble, now back in the Paris region). As far as academic characterization goes, I hold a PhD in Physics and am a self-taught software developer, with a strong focus on high-performance computing and low-level software development. You can contact me using this blog’s comments.

My interests include optics, solid state physics, high-performance computing, low-level software development, GUI design, programming languages, information security, and as little system administration as I can get away with. I’m also interested in human languages (esp. Japanese) and various fields of applied psychology, including ergonomics, design, manipulation, and some areas of clinical psychology. Non-academic interests include sound engineering, whoever wants to share my bed on cold winter nights, archery, bikes, trains, feminism, singing, environmental issues including the current energy crisis, and summer sausage sandwiches. I also have a relatively sharp tongue, and love to troll argue about subjects I like.

I’ve been programming since I was a kid, but around 18 I realized that if I solely focused on CS in my studies, I would end up programming the kind of software I dislike (websites, accounting ERPs…), using programming languages that I despise (Java, VB.Net). So instead, I set out to expand my academic interests and focus more on Physics in my studies, instead keeping programming as a side activity and a hobby.

Today (11/2015), I am painfully reaching the end of a PhD in solid-state physics, focusing on the electronic and magnetic properties of superconductors, and I have decided to direct my career in a more computing-oriented direction by joining the Laboratoire de l’Accélérateur Linéaire (Linac Lab, LAL)  in the continued fight of scarce computing resources against the huge data sets that are produced daily by particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

This does not mean, however, that I gave up on my interest on more fundamental computing subjects, as I think this project best attests. Faithful to my way of thinking, the OS|periment project started by trolling (“modern desktop OSs suck”), then gradually evolved into most complex thoughts on what personal computing should, in my opinion, be like. The project has been in a hard time during the end of my PhD, and it is too early to tell if my next job will give me enough spare time to focus more on it. But I still believe that there is a lot of work to be done in the area of desktop OS development, and that such an endeavour is worth pursuing.


4 thoughts on “About me

  1. Ivan March 1, 2012 / 4:52 pm

    Hi Hadrien!

    I’ve been accompanying your blog for quite some time now. I’m a OSnews reader, we’ve probably met there.

    I didn’t know you studied physics! I’m about to join college, and I’ve been thinking of studying physics myself, leaving computers (a little) to the side for a change, but I’m not sure.

    Even though I haven’t formally studied it, I have a very strong computer science background.

    So how was is to you? Still believe you made the right choice choosing physics over CS?

  2. Hadrien March 1, 2012 / 5:37 pm

    Yes, reaching the end of my Master’s degree in physics, I’d say that it definitely was a good choice, and probably was the best.

    I will never know for sure, since I have not chosen the CS path, but it still seems to me that it is difficult these days to find a job in CS which doesn’t revolve around a/Spitting/refactoring code under impossible time constraints or b/Servicing broken computers and networks all day. I still believe that physics has more fun job opportunities to offer for those who like it.

    Besides, knowing about two big fields of knowledge instead of one doesn’t hurt. As an example, in an internship that starts on Monday, I will mix solid state physics and programming in a single experimental project. Said project aims at scanning the surface of a new variety of superconductors (iron pnictides) with a micrometric magnetic field sensor. I will work on both the software controlling the sensor, the sensor itself, and the physics of the superconducting materials that are being observed. Best of both worlds, I guess ! :)

  3. Ivan March 1, 2012 / 9:32 pm

    Thank you for your answer, Hadrien!

    Well, I used to develop software for a living, but fortunately I got out of it, and now I work as a SQL Server DBA. From my experience, I tend to agree with you: it’s too hard to find jobs related to software development nowadays that are interesting, scientific programming. Besides OSes, I’d say language design, compilers and virtual machines are the interesting areas left for CS (for me), but not much else. To make matters worse, if you’re not in US, it’d be even harder to find a job related to one of these.

    I just got too tired of developing software that I didn’t really care about, so I chose to change my career, and now I develop software only as a hobby, although I’d have a hard time telling myself I’m not a programer inside :)

    I don’t know about France, but here where I’m living, Brasilia, Brazil, there are both Physics and Computational physics courses. I’ve been thinking about joining Computational physics and, like you said, enjoy the best of both worlds.

    Off topic, I’ve been studying French, and it’s such a nice language! Hope I can visit your country someday soon!

    If you want to contact me, feel free to reach me at the e-mail on the details!

    Good luck with your projects, wish you the best!

  4. Hadrien March 2, 2012 / 8:57 am

    Indeed, Computational Physics may be a good choice if you like programming, and in particular dealing with high-performance software (with its highly parallel algorithms, low-level languages, and ridiculously powerful machines). I don’t think I saw a lot of courses on that subject around Paris, so I believe teachers here expects curious Physics and CS students to take a look at each other’s courses, or for the most determined ones to take a degree in both.

    If you don’t know what to choose, I would spontaneously suggest that you try to learn more about both options : meet students of both courses and find out what they like and don’t like, take an in-depth look at the programmes, see where alumni end up, and so on. From what I can tell on my side, there sure is a large market for people who are into theoretical Physics and HPC around here.

    Off topic, I’ve been studying French, and it’s such a nice language! Hope I can visit your country someday soon!

    This must be the first time I hear something unilaterally nice about my language ! :) It may be that the close bonds between our two languages make it easier for you to learn French than for people speaking other languages. After all, I can generally guess what a text written in Portuguese, Spanish or Italian is about without having learned either of them.

    Anyway, should you visit France, I would be happy to meet you and show you around ! I currently live in Grenoble (one of the most prestigious places of this country for CS and Electronics, and not a bad place to do physics either), and should stay here for a PhD after my internship unless something unexpected happens.

    Good luck with your studies and personal projects too !

    PS : Oh, and lucky you to live in a country where bananas grow on trees ! :P

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