About

Hi, my name is Grace.

I am a software engineer at Riot Games, and have been there since January 2020. I studied computer science with a minor in mathematical sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, and graduated December 2019. Hopefully out to do good in this world.

Why does this place exist?

This is taken from Manuel Blum’s Advice to a Beginning Graduate Student:

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.

And here is a quote from John Shaw Billings that he shares:

First have something to say,

Second say it,

Third stop when you have said it, and

Finally give it an accurate title.”

I’ve always loved writing. So there’s a very personal reason why this place exists, which is for my own enjoyment. But there’s also some things that I like to believe I have to say, and perhaps some people out there who might find it mildly valuable. And while I still have that feeling, I’ll keep this place alive.

Interests

  • Gaming (StarCraft, League of Legends, VALORANT?)
  • Functional programming
  • Machine learning
  • Computer systems
  • Piano
  • Drawing (sketching, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal)
  • Singing
  • Cooking
  • Water rights and the environment (read The Ripple Effect by Alex Prud’Homme)
  • Reading (book reviews incoming, hopefully)
  • Biology
  • Writing
  • Saving the web
  • Trying to become an informed citizen of the world

Current Goals (and Progress)

  • Complete the 100 Days of Code challenge
  • Read 12 books
    • Finished: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (sometime in October 2019). Picked this up after my library had a collection of books that had been banned at schools, which intrigued me in that immature, defiant manner – you know, the: “You told me not to do this? Fine, I’ll go and do it now just because you said not to!”. I didn’t read anything about it going in, but I’m pretty sure it was banned just because of some obscenities that are a circus’s normalcy – it’s a circus, after all.
    • Finished: The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin (sometime in November 2019). The background set in the Cultural Revolution and the Red Guard had some personal ties to me. I enjoyed it. I also have been meaning to read more Chinese literature. I used to always say I’d kill myself in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but this book convinced me to try a bit more. What does it take to defy your entire biological race? Not sure. But I felt a bit ashamed after reading it for giving up so easily on humanity just because it would be pretty stressful and frightening to exist during a zombie apocalypse.
    • Finished: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (11/28/2019). I’ve heard of this book for a while. Never actually picked it up because the name made me feel like it was a sappy teenage romance novel, which I genuinely enjoy honestly, but I’m Much Too Old For That (tm) and Grown Up to be reading teenage romance novels, so I always skipped over it. Oh my. It’s a lot more than that. Pretty interesting book.
  • Exercise regularly
    • Started rock climbing. I can do some crimpy V4s? Slopers? Ha. Not a chance. Working on it.
    • Weight lifting. Have not been good about doing this consistently as of December 2019, and have been plateauing at around 100 lbs for squats, 125 lbs for deadlifts, 55 lbs for benches.
  • Hit Platinum this season
    • I’m Gold III! (or was – darn it the season started)

Current Projects

  • Instagram
    • Currently trying to use Instagram to post images of drawings, videos of piano bits, and other attempts for me to revisit my childhood hobbies. They won’t be good at first, but I think it’d be fun to (one day) look back at the progress.
  • 100 Days of Code
    • Progress is on Github

Images

The image used as an icon is my Chinese name painted by my grandmother before she passed away. She did Chinese calligraphy, and I asked her to write my name. This was before her illness worsened, but you can already see the tremors seeping into her strokes.

The image used in the homepage jumbotron is made by David Jin, a very talented friend of mine.

“just a thermodynamic miracle”

The tagline from my page is from Watchmen by Alan Moore. It’s from a quote by Dr. Manhattan that I love and has been dear to me through tough times.

It’s a scene where Dr. Manhattan tells Laurie that he doesn’t think her life is meaningless while they are on Mars. It goes:

Dr. Manhattan: Thermodynamic miracles… events with odds so astronomical they’re effectively impossible, like oxygen spontaneously becoming gold. I long to observe such a thing. And yet, in each human coupling, a thousand million sperm vie for a single egg. Multiple those odds by countless generations, against the odds of your ancestors being alive; meeting; siring this precise son; that exact daughter…

…Until your mother loves a man she has every reason to hate, and of that union, of the thousand million children competing for fertilization, it was you, only you, that emerged.

To distill so specific a form from that chaos of improbability, like turning air to gold… that is the crowning unlikelihood.

The thermodynamic miracle.

Laurie: But… if me, my birth, if that’s a thermodynamic miracle… I mean, you could say that about anybody in the world.

Dr. Manhattan: Yes. Anybody in the world. But the world is so full of people, so crowded with these miracles that they become commonplace and we forget.

I forget.

We gaze continuously at the world and it grows dull in our perceptions. Yet seen from another’s vantage point, as if new, it may still take the breath away.

Come… Dry your eyes, for you are life, rare than a quark and unpredictable beyond the dreams of Heisenberg; the clay in which the forces that shape all things leave their fingerprints most clearly.

Dry your eyes… and let’s go home.