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Hello!

I am M. von Steinkirch, a Quantum Platform Engineer at Zapata Computing.

Previously, I was a senior software engineer at Apple, Etsy, and Surfline; a software engineer at Yelp; an undergrad researcher at NASA Goddard Space; and a graduate researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Below is my bio as a human who humbly loves to learn about our Universe and our beautiful planet.

"This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play." - Alan Watts


Life as a Kid in South America

🖤 In the Beginning... Was the Command Line

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

🖤 Science & Computers

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, from Sao Paulo to New York

🖤 School

I went for my Ph.D. & M.Sc. degrees in Theoretical Physics at Stony Brook University, New York (with a full-tuition scholarship), 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.

🖤National Laboratories

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).

🖤 Long nights at my student office

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) and other universities.

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.


Life as a Software Engineer in California

🖤 Hacking the planet

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.

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. bought my book so that they would have it translated to Korean 💁🏻‍♀️. I maintain a repository for penetration testing that has 1k+ stars. I open-sourced a tool to make GCP security easier.

🖤 Working at Yelp

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.

🖤 Working at Apple

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.

🖤 Working at Etsy

I was a senior infrastructure software engineer at Etsy for a year and a half, at Will Rogers's and Ben Hughes's team. There, 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.

🖤 Startups & Back to Quantum

I spent a summer hanging out with the folks from Surfline, where I helped build 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 worked with the folks from Unitary Fund to create NISQ Algorithm Zoo.

I founded Curiee, a non-profit language-agnostic destination for hackers to learn, play, and publish quantum computing research. Later on, I sold it to my friends, and I am now a contributor emeritus.

🖤 My Dream Job at Zapata

All the dots are now joined at my dream job. 😌


Life is This Very Moment

🖤 Counterculture, entrepreneurism, extreme sports, the nomadic life, the meaning of life, the death of the self

  • Some time ago, I took a sabbatical year to travel, learn transcendental meditation, and become better at my three favorite sports: snowboarding, skateboarding, and surfing. I did a lot of droning at that time, and I made some art.
  • Having been a nomad since I left home when I was 16, these are the places I lived in for at least a few months: New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Malibu, Oahu, Maui, San Diego, Washington DC, Long Island, Santiago, and Sao Paulo. Every city is an entirely new world, but in the end, we are all humans living our human lives.
  • I maintain a curated repository on resources on becoming a digital nomad and a curated repository on resources on entrepreneurism.
  • If you are into statements in your tees, please check my friends' nihil.city. It comes with a pretentious medium pub.
  • 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 I regard.
  • Want to chat with me? Send me a message through Keybase. Topics of interest are everything you read in this gist + ideas to make the World better (disclaimer: I might take a week or more to get back to you, but I respond every message I get. Ah, and I am not looking for any job at the moment).
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