Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dr. Dro

Finally. As of about 9:00am on Tuesday, September 22nd, my doctoral thesis was deposited at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I am now officially Dr. DeRose.

I look forward to having a life again.

I won't bother with the details of the thesis, but I did want to share my Acknowledgments. They are below.

This dissertation is like the final exam of a long class. And, like many finals, it is cumulative; paraphrasing Prof. Jeff Erickson, "the final will cover everything you have ever learned in your entire life, with a focus on what you learn here". In this context, I have innumerable people to thank, so the ones below are but a few highlights.

First, to my parents: thanks for staying in the United States, despite the personal sacrifice. Thanks for teaching me that C's are unacceptable because I can do better. And thanks for always supporting me, and wanting what's best for me, especially when times got tough.

To my father, special thanks for sparking my interest in programming. I don't remember how young I was when he gave me the Commodore 64. I know I was 11 when, as I started to play computer games, he handed me "The C Programming Language" and told me to stop playing and start making. To him I owe the epiphany of "so that's why pointers are useful!" If not for these things, I don't know where I'd be now.

Thanks also to Joseph Smarr and Steve Severinghaus. They turned a coding hobby into a love of computers and computer science. They taught me, through practice, example, and critique ("line after line of ugly, ugly code"), that software can solve real problems.

Many thanks to Phil Bohannon for teaching me that people live in different worlds. He showed me that so much of collaboration is discovering the benefits of other people's worlds, and sometimes leaving yours to live in theirs.

Finally, I'd like to thank my advisors, AnHai Doan and Raghu Ramakrishnan. They imparted to me their passion for data management. They also put up with me long enough to teach me immeasurably about how to think and how to communicate. These lessons will be priceless anywhere I go from here.