Welcome to another Developer Spotlight!
Today we (virtually) sat down with 9-year-old Belgium-based wunderkind Simon Tiger and his mom, Sophia.
Simon came to our attention after he shared a repl of a neural network he’d built.
Without further ado, here’s our interview:
@katyadee : If you could sum yourself up in one sentence, how would you do it?
@simontiger: This would sound a bit circular, but I would say: "To sum me up in one sentence: You can't sum me up in one sentence.”
@katyadee : I think that actually says a lot! You’re really well spoken—are you really 9 years old?
@simontiger: Turning 10 soon.
@katyadee : Wow. So, are you in school?
@simontiger: No, I’m homeschooled. We even had to move to Belgium to be able to homeschool, because school is mandatory in the Netherlands (where I'm from), and it didn't fit well with me.
@katyadee : That’s really cool that you guys find a way to make it work. I really like your mom’s site. It says you’re a mathematician… I’m wondering, what does that mean to you? Are you doing research?
@simontiger: Well, that's a difficult question. I see patterns in the world wherever I look. I just love doing math, I'm doing math loads of time every day. Like I'm writing a short book about knot theory and experimenting with knots. Or I want to use Penrose's Illumination Problem in my coding. And I make math videos. Ron Graham said he liked my video about the Graham Scan Algorithm!
@katyadee : I’m blown away. Ron Graham - that’s no joke! Speaking of coding, how’d you start?
@simontiger: With Arduino and Sparkfun. And I discovered Arduino through littleBits. Arduino was how I discovered Processing, and how I discovered Coding Train by Daniel Shiffman. He always watches my videos and has become my friend. And I participate in Coding Train Live Sessions in Slack, too.
@katyadee : Wow! Where’d you go from there, after Arduino? What was your first language?
@SimonTiger: Surprisingly, not English! It’s not my native language. I taught myself English by watching coding videos, mainly. My actual native languages are Dutch and Russian.
@katyadee : Oh, I meant programming language! I’m sorry.
@SimonTiger: After C, with Arduino, I started using all sorts of languages for a while but now I have settled on JS, Java, Python, and sometimes Haskell. And sometimes even the Wolfram language!
@katyadee : What brought you to Repl.it?
@SimonTiger: I was first just looking for an online Python editor, because my computer memory was (and still is!) almost full. I first found onlinegdb.com, but then, after a while, my code disappeared! And then I started using Repl.it. And now I even no longer only use Python on Repl.it, but also JS. I one time tried to use Haskell on Repl.it, but that didn't really work for my purpose, because the browser runs on JS which is a strict language, and Haskell is a lazy language.
@katyadee : What’s your favorite thing you’re building on Repl.it?
@SimonTiger: Pretty much all of my repls are a work-in-progress. Here are two:
@katyadee : One last question for ya. What are your plans for the future? Your present is pretty darn cool.
@SimonTiger: Depends on what you mean. More coding, math, and physics—if that counts.
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