Do you want to know what I do now? Check out my now page!
Who is this guy?
This guy is Han. Han was born in Groningen in 1992, and he will stop writing in third person now.
At some point, I moved to Friesland, where I finished my primary and secondary education. During this time I picked up playing the guitar, and appreciating music in general. As many teenagers do, I liked video games, and spent many hours playing games like Rollercoaster Tycoon, RuneScape, A2 Racer, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and others.
After finishing secondary school in Leeuwarden, I moved to Groningen to study Physics. Physics is cool, because it aims to understand everything that exists in the universe.
So, naturally, I embarked expecting to solve the ultimate mysteries of life, the universe, and everything. (Not really, but I was hopeful and inspired. Today I am also realistic.) Unfortunately, I didn't develop a theory of everything (yet!). But I did develop skills in analytic problem solving, learned a lot of interesting stuff, and even got published in an academic journal as a result of my bachelor thesis on spectroscopy simulations!
Computer simulations intrigue me, and that pushed me to follow a master programme in Computing Science1. I really enjoyed this, as software allows me to easily build things that are interesting and useful (but mostly interesting). In the later stages of the programme I focused on data visualisation. My master thesis on graph drawing also led to a publication.
I spent more time doing research on data visualisation in Groningen, and did a 3-month internship at VMware in Palo Alto, California, working on Hillview, a big data spreadsheet with a web front-end.
At some point, I shifted gears to do work in industry. For about a year I worked as a Data Scientist / Developer at Belsimpel, in their office that is beautifully located in the heart of Groningen. There, I worked on the in-house A/B testing system, visual business analytics, and other things.
After doing work in industry for a year, I decided it was time to go back to research and I applied for a PhD position at Utrecht University to work on automated question-answering in geographical information systems. Fortunately, I was hired, and this is what I do now.
Note that the programme in Groningen is called Computing Science, as opposed to the more prevalent Computer Science. Computing Science implies that it focuses on how things can be computed, whereas Computer Science implies that the goal is to study computers.