More than you need to know

Here I am near the top of Wolverine Peak just to the east of Anchorage Alaska on August 11 2006. I made my first trip up this mountain with my cross country running team in 1977 when I was a freshman in high school.

Also in high school I worked for the now-defunct Anchorage Times, first in their darkroom and then as a photographer for one summer. I had a lot of fun trying to emulate Jim Lavrakas who worked at the Times then but doesn't seem to want to admit it on his resume now.

After high school I attended the University of Missouri as a journalism student, then transferred to Oregon State University where I earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering and discovered computers. While at OSU I also met Lex Runciman, who introduced me to the writing of Richard Hugo and kindly encouraged me to write even though I wasn't really very good at it.

After an aimless year I found myself at the University of Texas, where in spite of spending most of my time drinking beer, listening to live music, and playing with computers, I ended up with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering (thanks in no small part to the guidance I received from Jim Rawlings).

In 1992, post-Ph.D. and still working for Jim, I started the Octave Project, which is named after one of my professors at OSU.

In 1995, I followed Jim north to Madison Wisconsin where I continued working on Octave and also started working part time on Polyred with Harmon Ray and his students. A year later I moved to Champaign Illinois, claiming the need to spend more time with my family. But unlike fat cat CEOs and government officials who make this claim when they are forced to resign, I kept my job, working for UW remotely. In 2004, we moved to western PA when Missa became an assistant professor at the Shenango campus of Penn State University. In 2008, I left my job with UW, but I still work on Octave as an independent consultant.

When I'm not working on or around my house, you will probably find me working on Octave or maybe running in the park.

You can contact me at jwe at degreesofgray dot org.