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Who Am I?

Hello.

My name is Dr. M(arin||i)a von Steinkirch.

I am a physicist, a computer scientist, an entrepreneur, and a utopian.

This is my story.


Life as a Nerdy Kid

I am an Italian citizen (my family is originally from Treviso and Veneto), but I grew up in Brazil (in a European immigrant town in the south, called Curitiba). The other half of my family is from the south of Germany (back from Cuno von Uechtritz und Steinkirch time).

I started playing with computer terminals when I was around five or six, in my Uncle's 386. Science, Hacking, AI, and the Mysteries of the Universe have been a favorite subject of mine since then.

In 6th grade, I started my first company, selling magic blood. It wasn't real blood, but a chemical reaction, which I just learned about (see what happens when you mix Ammonia and Phenolphthalein). I sold several bottles in my school (until I got caught by the nums: I was in catholic school!).

My second company, in 7th grade, was a magazine subscription about a certain famous actor (I can't tell who, it's embarrassing). This was back when the internet wasn't really a thing, and subscribers would monthly mail me money to see the stories.

I started being very interested in coding & how computers work by that time, so I wrote my first website, http://fly.to/bytegirl:

It was made in Macromedia Flash, and it's funny how some of my interests are still the same, such as AI and expert systems. Well, but not MP3 :).


Life as a Physicist

I went for my Ph.D. & M.Sc. degrees in Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University, New York, and for a B.Sc. in Engineering & Physics at the University of Sao Paulo.

During college, I was an undergraduate researcher at the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological, where I studied Cosmology (more specifically, the equations of dark matter and dark energy), under the supervision of Prof. Elcio Abdalla.

In the last year of college, I had the chance to spend a summer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, as an undergraduate researcher, where I studied the Physics of Active Galactic Nuclei, with Prof. Steve Kraemer.

As a Ph.D. student, I had a scholarship as a graduate researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Institute for Advanced Computational Science, where I developed Monte Carlo simulations and data analysis to find the Physics of Neutron Stars, with Prof. Christopher Lee Fryer, Prof. Alan Calder, and Prof. James M. Lattimer.

I also had a chance to work for a year at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where I researched the Physics of Quark-Gluon Plasmas in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), with Prof. Barbara Jacak.

During that time, I had the honor of being awarded scholarships to attend events such as American Astronomical Society, HPC Xsede Summer School '13, CERN Winter School '09, and the well-regarded NYC programmer retreat Recurse Center'14 (formerly Hacker School).

I open-sourced a book on Group Theory, which seems to be popular among graduate students at CALTECH (at least, that's what Prof. Maria Spiropulu told me).

I have some scientific articles published in Nuclear, Astrophysics, and Cosmology. I have some whitepapers, tutorials, and open-source projects on Quantum Computing, Quantum Topological Field Theory, Machine Learning, among others. You can check them out on my graduate website.

I returned to computer science due to the influence of the hacking community. I presented a talk on hacking quantum cryptography at DEF CON's cryptovillage once.

Curiee is a project on quantum computing that should make sense some day.


Life as a Software Engineer

When I was still in my Ph.D., I played several CTF competitions. I played for Joel Eriksson's team, HackingForSoju (23th in 2014), and with a Polish team named Snatch The Root (29th in 2014).

At that time, I open-sourced a book on Python and Algorithms. In 2015, Hanbit Media, Inc. gave me money so that they would have it translated to Korean 🤷🏻‍♀️.

My first job outside the academy was as a security software engineer at Yelp. There I created an in-house machine learning software for DNS/Web endpoint data analysis. I also worked on several infrastructure and security tasks.

I was a senior software engineer at the Core OS (security) team at Apple for a year, under Ivan Krstić's supervision, where I developed software to help with Apple's internal security and incident response, I researched iOS Security hardening, and I helped writing Apple's Deep Learning toolkit for richer data augmentation for image recognition.

I was a senior infrastructure software engineer at Etsy for a year and a half, where I developed an incident response infrastructure for Etsy's fleet, with OSQuery. I wrote a security suite for GCP, that identifies and alerts on security flaws and misconfigurations.

I spent a summer hanging out with the folks from Surfline, where I helped building an end-to-end pipeline & software for surfers to retrieve clips of the waves they caught (from over 500+ cameras worldwide), and I learned how they maintain a worldwide camera infrastructure.

I spent a winter helping out the folks at the Quantum Gravity Research Institute, working together with Klee Irwin and his team to simulate a quantum gravitational theory on quasicrystals. I also taught Agile and DevOps practices for a team of 10+ scientists.

I spent some time helping out at Sara Hicks's awesome startup, Reaction Commerce, helping to develop full-stack & infrastructure e-commerce solutions.


Life in-between

Check out TripDrop, a company founded to help nomads and extreme sport enthusiasts to find and get the right gear.

I am working with the folks of Unitary Fund to develop software technology for quantum computing.

When on vacation, I like to travel the world, searching for nice surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding spots.

Sometimes I write about Quantum Computing, Python, and the Nomad Life.

At home, I like to drink exotic teas, read classic books, play the piano && make new beats (so that Patrick Justice can rap).

My favorite motto is Impossible is a state of mind. From extreme sports, I like to think about this: Once we control our emotional response to events, time will move much slower. Here are some quotes and artistic elements that I regard.

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