Jake Zimmerman

I delight in making, creating, and exploring.

Why is programming fun? What delights may its practitioner expect as his reward?

Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man-Month

Between school, hackathons, and my free time, I always find myself gravitating towards programming. I absolutely love working on projects, whether alone or with others. Over time I’ve accumulated a portfolio of projects that I’m particularly proud of.

This collection of projects only scratches the surface; some of my “smaller” projects are actually the most interesting. I’ve created or contributed to a number of Vim and LaTeX repos, done a fair bit of shell scripting for my dotfiles and personal bin/ repos, and worked on some really cool Carnegie Mellon-specific projects. I also enjoy giving back to open source projects I use.

I believe strongly in education.

Open the encyclopedia. Open the dictionary. Open your mind.

Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Sharing my talents and knowledge with others thrills me. I’ve been a teaching assistant every semester except freshman year, TA’ing the classes 15-150 Functional Programming, 15-210 Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms, and 15-131 Great Practical Ideas for CS. The degree to which CMU embraces undergraduate TAs means that I’ve been able to actively participate and give real feedback to help make these courses all the more valuable to students.

Other than being a TA, one of my favorite ways to engage and connect with the tech community at CMU is by leading talks and workshops. Two of my more popular talks have been Vim as an IDE, a talk to introduce people to Vim plugins and help them embrace their editing environment, and JavaScript Fundamentals, a workshop introducing the fundamentals of JavaScript by writing a full-fledged web game.

I’m also a part of ScottyLabs, a student organization at CMU dedicated to improving the campus tech community through hosting educational events and developing useful services. Our biggest attraction is TartanHacks, a 400-person undergraduate hackathon held yearly. Organizing and mentoring at a hackathon is by far one of the most exciting and action-packed events I’ve experienced.

Teaching has always been a passion of mine, and I get to live it out every day.

I reflect on what I’ve learned.

You are all computer scientists.
You know what FINITE AUTOMATA can do.
You know what TURING MACHINES can do.
For example, Finite Automata can add but not multiply.
Turing Machines can compute any computable function.
Turing machines are incredibly more powerful than Finite Automata.
Yet the only difference between a FA and a TM is that
the TM, unlike the FA, has paper and pencil.
Think about it.
It tells you something about the power of writing.
Without writing, you are reduced to a finite automaton.
With writing you have the extraordinary power of a Turing machine.

Manuel Blum, Advice to a Beginning Graduate Student

Writing is a way for me to collect my thoughts, distill my knowledge, and share my discoveries with others. I publish my writings at Bits, Bytes, and Words, my personal blog, and occasionally at the Autolab Development Blog. For the curious, here’s a sampling of my posts.

I mix work and passion.

… but I like what is in the work—the chance to find yourself. Your own reality—for yourself

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

My heart is in the work.

Andrew Carnegie

I’ve had three wonderful opportunities for summer software engineering internships. Through them, I’ve been able to discover my talents and preferences, meet new friends, and enjoy myself.

Having lived in both New York and San Francisco, I’m still undecided on where I’d like to move when I graduate college in 2017. I’m a Midwesterner at heart, but I enjoy being close to my college and intern friends on the coasts. Regardless of where I work, though, I hope to find somewhere I can live out my passions.