Who is your role model and/or inspiration?
Nothing in particular because it was really everything in general – some systematically, some stochastically. A set of subtle nudges and pushes — by my environment, other people, things I’ve observed, etc. — parameterized a space that represents all the vanishingly small decisions I have made over time. Assuming the necessary conditions to do calculus on this space are satisfied, the integral (continuous summation of all my decisions over time) of this space yields who I am now as a result of these decisions. The partial derivatives represent where I was at a given moment in time and/or space, parameterized by the relevant external influences. Short answer: my friends and my mom.
What does your future look like? What do you plan to do?
I want to do something at the intersection of music and data science. Not sure what that is yet, but I’m already on the path to find out. Also, eventually, I would like to run a joint lobster farm and microbrewery just outside Gloucester, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine (where we’ll optimize everything using advanced data science and machine learning techniques).
What is the best piece of advice you have received that has helped you to be successful?
One of the best insights I’ve learned in my career path is to (1) not fear researching things that aren’t in/having nothing to do with your field and (2) to have a talent “portfolio”, where you set up and optimize your entire portfolio by selecting a tasteful and diverse subset of your interests, experience, skills, etc. such that you can signal just how uniquely valuable you are among all the noise. Can’t guarantee the results, but it’s definitely worth considering.
What motivates you?
Knowing that the work I’m doing is not only addressing some of the biggest roadblocks I’ve encountered in the last few years both in school and in my career, but also the roadblocks that many others deal with (in particular, those who haven’t yet encountered them, but inevitably will as a result of their background and life experiences). Also, my anxiety.
What do you do in your free time?
Play with synthesizers and write music. Just recently started doing deep dives into mathematical/geometric analyses of famous art pieces, so we’ve been going to a lot of art exhibits at the Boston MFA. Look into unorthodox applications of mathematics and machine learning. Spend hours researching things that pique my interest in that moment. Try out new beers. Jake Mitchell and I are starting a new podcast soon which is exciting.
If you could know the absolute truth to one question, what would you ask?
If I have an efficient way to check solutions to a problem, is there an efficient way to actually find those solutions?
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
M-F: Work REMIX (feat A$AP Rocky, French Montana, Trinidad James, Schoolboy Q)
Sat-Sun: WIN (Jay Rock)
In your opinion, who do you think is the most impressive person in the world right now, and why?
It’s really impressive just how successful Jeff Bezos became by solving some of the least sexy and uninteresting and nonetheless critical technological and infrastructural issues in our society.
What advice do you have for fellow or younger students?
It’s okay to take your time in college, starting your career, and in life generally. It’s your life after all. Few people have everything perfectly figured out by the time they’re in their thirties, and trivially few who have everything figured out when they’re young.