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Programming with Style

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I am from California, so throughout my life I have picked up a few habits of the region, among them snowboarding, piano, and computer programming. Doing these allows me to have a sense of balance and perspective. Beyond that, snowboarding has influenced my coding and future interests in ways I never expected. I try to code like a musician, with style and confidence.

Now, some may ask, “Programming with style? Since when did programmers have any flair?” The majority of coders do! Snowboarding or not, computer scientists are engaging and passionate people — they are poets whose words have the value to unveil a thousand pictures.

In a programmers eyes, each line of code is not only a cog in a vast and elegant machine, but a brush stroke in a painting that never dries. The intention of a program is not only to efficiently solve a present problem, but its structure must be expandable to accommodate future problems as well. This solution is worth every moment of brainwork and endless all-nighters it takes to find it. This dedication, and aestheticism describes the first world that I come from.

The close second is snowboarding. Snowboarding also demands intense focus, but its excitement and appeal are more immediate. Going off a jump is like riding a rollercoaster that you are in control of. The snow and grayness of the skies, the constructs of society quickly become transient allowing your thoughts to branch out. If you become stumped with a programming problem, it often melts away in the snow. Furthermore, being immersed in nature provides inspiration.

I once had to develop a microchip that could quickly find the shortest route between two points. The algorithm I used was inspired by the patterns made by the rivulets of water on my snowboard which mirrored signals in the network I was using. The traditional approach would have been much slower than the resulting algorithm, but this thought process allowed me to derive a solution to an even more difficult computational problem.

So what does this all mean for my future? Had I never snowboarded, I likely still would have loved to program. But because I do snowboard, I harbor a fascination with alternative computing paradigms inspired by nature. I tend to think outside the box. Refusing to accept the obvious explanation, and refusing to settle for a superficial understanding. I believe that thinking outside the box, is a unique tool to have not only in the classroom, but a tool that is useful in all aspects of my life.

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