The Origins of Geneorama
Geneorama is my first website, and still my main personal website. I started geneorama in 2000 and wrote the original HTML in notepad. These days WordPress makes administration a lot easier!
Thanks to the high-tech promise of genetics it wasn’t very easy to find a website name that showcased my name: “gene”. So, the name geneorama name is basically gene + “o-rama”, sort of like a swap-o-rama or whatever-o-rama.
ToDo: An archive of past geneorama versions is in the works.
The Current Geneorama
One of the goals of this iteration of Geneorama is to talk about some of my current interest in data analysis, and about R in particular. I have been using R (the open source statistical programming language) heavily since 2007, and it’s been very influential for me.
Before using R, I used Excel for everything. Using R has opened my eyes to an entirely different way of performing data analysis that is far more organized, rigorous, powerful, flexible, modular, and reproducible.
Because R is also open source and widely adopted by the most cutting edge researchers, it’s also given me easy access to the newest ideas and tools. It’s far more than just statistical research; R links to big data tools, can produce elegant and powerful visualizations, it’s super fast, and it’s easy to compile code and make faster.
The best part? It’s FREE. When I see something new and cool on r-bloggers that I want to try, I just download it and try it. Using R has let me test drive tools that I would have never had access to otherwise.
Also R has been a gateway language for me to learn more advanced technology and programming techniques. I’ve been able (and sometimes forced!) to learn the ins and outs of different operating systems, software platforms, productivity tools, other programming languages, and language grammars. It’s always been easy for me to read basic logical structures, but it takes a lot more to understand how software can do things like tackle big data.
Finally, another thing I hope to get to in this iteration of geneorama: the Arduino. I got an Arduino for Christmas 2011, and I’m hoping to post some projects as I get them working.
About Me (Personally)
When I think about how to describe myself, the “Dr Worm” song by They Might Be Giants often comes to mind. He says, “I’m interested in things. I’m not a real doctor, but I am a real worm.”.
Like Dr Worm, I am also interested in things. It’s not just technology; I love eating food, cooking food, art, philosophy, photography, animals, nature, hiking, bike riding… you know? things.
Also (like Dr Worm) I am not a real doctor. I do have a Master’s degree though.
Unlike Dr Worm, I am not a real worm. I will point out that I do have a genuine respect for worms. We compost in our apartment, and I’m always amazed by those little guys. Humans could never do what worms can do.
I don’t know if Dr Worm is married, but I am. My wife is Kindy Kruller, and she’s super-duper. She doesn’t have a website, but she’s more prolific than me on Facebook, so she probably doesn’t need one.
Some More Facts:
- I’m from the Midwest, and I’ve lived in Chicago for a long time.
- I currently live in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago with my awesome wife Kindy Kruller, my brother Joe, and my dog Pluto.
- I’m very concerned about the environment, biodiversity, and the climate.
- I’m very concerned about animal welfare (humans included).
- I like to get past small talk.
- I can be a little neurotic about organization.
About Me (Professionally)
I studied Math and Statistics at DePaul University, and I have my MBA from the University of Chicago.
I’ve worked as a consultant for most of my professional life, and I’ve had experience working for a very wide variety of clients / project types.
Some things I’ve done:
- Price termite contracts. They had limited and lifetime guarantees on their products that they sold across the country. This was interesting because lifetime could mean “lifetime of the house”, which meant that I used over 50 years of data for millions of customers.
- I developed the original pricing to establish the Ohio State University’s physician medical malpractice program.
- I used to price warranties, which was sometimes interesting, like the time I worked on a toilet bowl valve recall.
- I’ve had the pleasure of working for dozens of non-profit entities to help them price complex liabilities for their balance sheets. This work was rewarding because we would actually find solutions that helped these small entities cut costs.
- I’ve created an untold amount of spreadsheets.
- I’ve written an untold amount of VBA code.
- I’ve developed fully automated trading systems that did things like “pairs trade” and “scalp gamma” (if that means anything to you and you care, I could go into more detail offline)
- I’ve designed and written GUI interfaces for underwriters, traders, and for internal R&D demonstrations. I think that design (layout, font, color, and interaction) is often the most important part of any technical work.
- Most recently, I developed a method to identify a “replicating portfolio” of options that has the same risk characteristics as guarantees of Variable Annuities. (If you’re ever having trouble sleeping, we can talk about this offline too.)