Who Am I?

My name is George Chadderdon. My full name is George Lewis Chadderdon III, with the 3rd present at times as a way to distinguish my identity from my father's. I could put a Dr. in front of my name, also, since I have a Ph.D., but I generally omit this, unless maybe I'm being included in a grant proposal. I was born in January of 1971 and raised in the American Midwestern town of Galesburg, Illinois. Galesburg is a railroad town which is the county seat of Knox County, which is about an hour away from both Peoria and the Quad Cities and three hours from Chicago. Apparently, during World War II it actually made Japan's target list because of the two major railway lines crossing there. It is also the birthplace of Carl Sandburg. There is a community college there named after the poet, in fact. I didn't discover Sandburg until after my years in San Diego, but he is one of the American poets that has influenced my own style. (Here is one of my favorite works of his.)

After attending various schools in Galesburg, I finished up my high school at the Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy which was a three-year boarding school located in Aurora, Illinois. I was in the Class of 1989, which happened to be the charter class. By then, I recognized that I was interested in a career that had something to do with computers. So, I attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, finishing in 1993 with a B.S. in Computer Engineering.

I had chosen computer engineering because I wasn't really sure how much hardware vs. how much software work I was interested in doing. I had some idea that artificial intelligence (AI) was interesting to me, but I didn't know enough to recognize that the "action" in AI was in software. Having figured this out soon before finishing my B.S., I decided to go for a Masters in Computer Science.

So, I enrolled at the University of California in San Diego. It was a big step and one of my most decisive and deciding moments in life. I chose UCSD because I was interested in doing work involving neural networks and I knew UCSD to be a center for connectionist research. I was not disappointed and, after two years, came away with the sought after M.S. degree in Computer Science. The year was 1995.

I then spent almost seven years working in industry. My first four years were spent at a small software company in San Diego called ORINCON Corporation. While there, I did a great deal of work involving algorithm design and implementation for signal processing, pattern recognition, and intelligent systems. I also joined the public speaking organization Toastmasters while I was there (something I highly recommend for anyone who's interested in learning to present anything to an audience, whether it be a technical talk or a dramatic reading).

After leaving ORINCON, I worked for six months at Sony Electronics in Rancho-Bernardo near San Diego. Our team was working on speech recognition and natural language understanding for consumer electronics products. While there, however, I decided that my interests lay elsewhere: either in academic research or in some software position that would allow me more artistic space.

After my days at Sony, I left San Diego and returned to Galesburg to go through the process of applying for graduate schools without distractions of work. While in Galesburg, however, I found there was a small computer gaming company in nearby Monmouth that was looking to hire. So I ended up joining Magic Lantern Playware and working for them for about a year and a half as an AI programmer. My proudest achievement there was my work on the enemy AI of our 3D remake (for InfoGrames) of Atari Combat.

(When 9/11 happened in 2001, I was at home before my workday at Magic Lantern was to begin, and got a call from my parents telling me to turn the TV on. My boss had us come to work, but we just basically discussed a little what was happening and he sent us home. I remember one of my coworkers who was a paramedic had tears in his eyes. This poem I wrote at the time is repesentative of what my reaction was.)

In 2002, I left industry and returned to academia to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology and Cognitive Science in the psychology department at Indiana University in Bloomington. While at IU, I published two journal articles related to my research, as well as completing my dissertation on the dopaminergic mechanisms involved in task learning and performance. In March 31, 2009, I earned my Ph.D., and then spent the next year "funemployed," during which time, however, I finished the first draft of the (now published) fantasy novel I started in 2007. Then in May of 2010, I started a postdoctoral position for State University New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center doing computational neuroscience work for brain-machine interfaces. My main effort there involved work on an "in silico brain" model of primary motor cortex to serve as a part of a reinforcment learning-based controller for a robotic arm.

In the Fall of 2013, I left the academic world again and, soon after, found an industry position doing data analysis and modeling at a small company in Orlando, Florida called Design Interactive, Inc. There I worked on projects involving the analysis of physiological signals such as heart rate and skin conductance on applications such as physiological and psychological stress detection, and I coauthored my first winning SBIR Phase I proposal, as well as being first author on my first patent.

In 2016, I moved back to Galesburg and am now working remotely as a web applications (full-stack) developer and data analyst for an Australian company based out of the University of Melbourne called the Optima Consortium for Decision Science. Optima creates web-based applications that allow government health officials to optimize financial allocation among global health intervention and service programs. We have an active site for HIV and are developing new sites for malnutrition and tuberculosis. Our sponsors include the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

I have recently (December 27, 2017) published my debut fantasy novel on Amazon KDP. It is entitled Lady of the Morning Star, and it is Volume One of what is to be my Emancipation series. Emancipation is a romantic psychological fantasy story with some Greek mythological, musical, and erotic themes. I am presently working on Volume Two which, tentatively, will be the concluding book of the series, though it is possible the story could end up expanding to a trilogy.

My roads have been strange and restless ones indeed, thanks to the ups and downs of the economy and my wildy divergent interests. Throughout my educational / occupational odyssey, I have cultivated and sought to express myself in many sundry hobbies and interests. I am still single. (If I have one complaint in life, it's that I've not yet found a soul-mate; or if I have, she has not declared herself yet.) I am an honest person with others and, I believe, with myself, and in living—though perhaps not always in art—prefer truth over illusion. There is a great deal of artist, philosopher, and engineer in me. I like to analyze things to death, but I also like to be creative and expressive.