Tom 4

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18 years, 29 days

My title is Chief Evangelist for Maplesoft. I interpret that as “the guy who’s been around forever”. I started my professional Maplesoft career in 1989 as a contractor trying to earn money to feed my grad student habits, like eating and visiting my parents. Before that I was introduced to what was then referred to as the Maple programming language and to my surprise, Maple immediately helped me figure things out in my courses and more importantly it made me look smarter in front of potential grad supervisors. That’s how the love affair began.

Since then I’ve held various senior positions including Vice President of Marketing and Market Development. I’ve witnessed the transformation of this company from a start-up doing something strange called “computer algebra” to a well-recognized, leading solutions company with a growing and ever diversifying user community. I’m even more thrilled at the fact that so much of our new achievements are in the world of engineering modeling and simulation which was my specialization in University.

I did my degrees at the University of Waterloo. My Bachelor and Master’s degrees were in Systems Design Engineering and my PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in surface modeling for CAD systems. Along the way, I dabbled in control systems, physical systems modeling, and computer-assisted education. I still stay connected to the academic world through my position as Adjunct Professor in Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo, and as a member of the Board of Governors, Renison College affiliated with the University of Waterloo.

I was born in Seoul South Korea but raised in Toronto, Canada. I moved to Waterloo, Canada to attend university and never left. I tell the Maplesoft people that it’s because of the company but it’s because I met my wonderful wife Dr. Sharon here :-)

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These are Posts that have been published by Tom 4

This week, I had the pleasure of attending a rock concert with my son Eric who is now about to turn 15 and who has turned out to possess non-trivial interests and talents in music. The concert was by the band Rush who, to the uninitiated, would be yet another big, loud, over-produced rock band. But to a generation of technocrats (e.g. yours truly) educated from the late 1970’s and on, they are the band of choice due to an intriguing mix of musicianship, technological...

The term “from months to days” is a favorite slogan of mine and I have relied on it religiously for over two decades to illustrate the fundamental benefit of symbolic computation. Whether it’s the efficient development of complex physical models using MapleSim, or exploration of parametric design surface equations (my dissertation) using good old fashioned Maple V Release 2, the punch that symbolic computation provided was to automate the algebraic mechanics...

My wife will testify that I am horrible when it comes to keeping things organized and tidy. My colleagues who have seen my office can attest to this as well. My usual defence is that a messy environment is an indication of how busy you are (consequently how productive you are) and basic creativity. But every once in a while, usually when I hit a mental block, I launch into clean up mode to do something completely different hoping that when I’m done, my mental block will be gone. I just went through one of these moments. This time, my cleansing took me to the bottom of one of my office desk drawers to a pile of photos that I had stashed in there ten years ago. Glancing through these, four immediately jumped out and helped me flash back to some key moments in my life. Yes, my 15 minute sabbatical digging through my desk was one of the most productive quarter hours I’ve had in a long time. Here, then, are these four photos that respectively offer a compelling reason to reflect a bit on the past ...

I have to thank my friend John Wass, an editor from Scientific Computing magazine who began a recent article with the clear warning “Attention Engineers! The developers at Maplesoft rarely sit still for very long.”  This was a comment on the thrilling speed that enhancements are flowing from the MapleSim pipeline. Although his quote refers to a MapleSim 3 article he wrote, I chuckled as the sentiment still rings true as my colleagues and I catch our breaths after the recent release of MapleSim 4.  Yes, the engineering community has definitely taken notice that MapleSim, in such a short amount of time, is already making a big difference in the way we do and think about modeling.

After years of dreaming, planning, scheming, and hoping, my family, as a single entity, finally made it to Asia for a holiday. In our region, school children typically enjoy a mid March “Break”. This usually means families packing up their minivans and driving to Florida or other warm places to help them forget the bleakness of the Canadian winter.  This year, however, the spring winds took my family to Asia – Japan and Korea to be specific. I was born in Korea but moved to Canada in 1971 when I was 7 years old. And those of you who have glanced at my past posts know that I’ve been a frequent business visitor to Japan many times over the years. But a family trip to these dynamic places is a completely different experience. There is something remarkable about the discovery experience you get as a pure tourist where issues of punctuality and protocol disappear and you’re left with the experience in its most raw and engaging forms.

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