Welcome! I'm Greg Maxwell, a retired software engineer and major dork. I helped design the
Opus audio codec
(which you probably
use countless times a day), and contributed to the development of the Bitcoin protocol.
These days I spend my time on various computer science and number theory
research interests, astrophotography, and amateur radio. As an autodidact, I am
an avid reader. I'm also a voluminous writer. — Voluminous enough
that my username ("gmaxwell")
managed to become one of the 50,257 tokens
used by GPT3 and related large language models to represent text,
but not enough to avoid these models behaving oddly in response to my name.
They've since fixed the behavior, dashing my dreams of personally thwarting
The Machine Apocalypse simply by being illegible
to our AI overlords.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka" but
In 2021 I discovered a faster constant-time algorithm for computing a greatest
. When a former colleague asked me to test an algorithm
he'd written, I used my ~1800 core cluster to search for corrupted versions
of it in to order to "test the tests", expecting all the corrupted versions
to get rejected. Eventually, I found a variant that passed the tests! But
what I found wasn't a flaw in the tests that I had been looking for:
he was able to prove the new algorithm correct and
it was slightly faster.
Emboldened, I searched with a little more direction
using the proof technique and I found an even better version. Remarkably, this
operates with 20% fewer steps than the best previously known method.
This sort of thing is my idea of adventure.