A commentary about software in, from, about or somehow remotely connected to the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Introducing Pioneer Valley Software

The Pioneer Valley Software blog brings together two themes that have pervaded much of my adult life -- software and the Pioneer Valley.

My fascination with software began in the early seventies when, to fulfill a course assignDigital Equipment Corporation PDP-10, 1969ment I developed a BASIC program that calculated the score of an arbitrary cribbage hand. The computational power of Bowdoin College's DEC PDP-10 which I was time-sharing was inspiring.

Continuing on to grad school in the UMass COINS (Computer & Information Science) department I was introduced to concepts such as artificial intelligence and multi-processing operating systems, and smart new programming languages like APL and LISP, and began gaining an appreciation for how computers can be used to solve problems that we meet in our everyday lives.

Now, with the experience of several generations of hardware and software behind me, I continue to find the task of taming computers fresh and challenging, sometimes frustrating, always exciting.

My university stint also enlightened me to another attraction. I found myself living in a place that offers the best of many worlds. Rural splendorAn early tribute to the Valley's beauty -- Thomas Cole's View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm (The Oxbow), 1836, cultural diversity, intellectual vitality and political engagement are all strong traits of the Pioneer Valley -- the three Western Massachusetts counties enclosing the Connecticut River. I've been privileged to make my home here, first in Sunderland, then Northampton and today in Amherst.

So in these writings I intend to treat that place where the Pioneer Valley and software intersect. I hope to pass on lessons I've learned about building software solutions before a backdrop of the history, the people, the businesses and the beauty of the Pioneer Valley.

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