Geek of the Week – Matt Buland (Senior, Computer Science)

It is a new semester and a new roster in the never-ending parade of geeks here at the Oredigger. This year, the first geek who consented to an interview is a senior in the Computer Science department who goes by many names, though his friends know him by the moniker of Matt Buland.

[Oredigger]: Why Computer Science?
[Buland]: I chose Computer Science because my dad has had an interest in electronics for a long time and that got imbued into me. [Also,] as seen more prominently now, video games are a part of literally everyone’s lives, so being a game¬†programmer [was] an immediate response. So starting with that, I decided to go into Computer Science where I learned how to not be a game programmer but how to do other, more useful, industrial things.

What has been your favorite class and why?
Elements of Computing Systems with Yong Bakos. The latter is the most important part. I love Bakos.

Are you a geek and why?
I’m a geek because I get extremely excited about things I love and the extreme excitement sometimes comes off as crazy.

What do you do with whatever spare time you can find?
I have a choice now between “Minecraft,” attempting things I will never finish such as writing JIF in Haskell, or periodically storming the galaxy with some buddies of mine in a “Firefly” RPG.

What is your favorite thing about Mines?
The consolidation of a group of people that are excited about similar topics.

If given the chance, which would you rather explore: the untouched frontier of another planet or the unexplored depths of the ocean?
Another planet, easy. If you are under the ocean, you have to be surrounded by water [and] there is a limit to the things you can do. If you are on another planet, there is a chance of air. You might be able to run around and do stuff. And, I’m pretty sure you can’t talk to sea creatures, though Aquaman would contest that.

If you could be dropped into any fictional universe, what would it be and why?
Traditionally, I would say [the] “Star Wars” [universe because of] the variety of species, the possibilities, and the wealth of technological possibilities.

What is your best nerd moment story?
One of my earlier nerd moments would have been when me and my friends realized it was 4 A.M. and we had been playing “Minecraft” for way too long. It was a collective realization.

What are your greatest accomplishments?
I’ve had an internship since after freshman year, I’m on time to graduate, and I’m turning a blind pilot character into a Force-using version of the Doctor [in my RPG].

Which would you rather have: the ability to psychically know test questions in advance or the ability to finish any homework assignment in under an hour?
The ability to finish any homework assignment in under an hour because some of my homework assignments are, “make a large program that would normally take a week” and finishing in under an hour would be god-like. Also, it would hopefully bleed out into real-world ability where test questions would only be applicable at school.

Do you have any plans for the future?
Get Bachelor’s, get Master’s, find a good job at an exciting company. Finding an exciting company is non-transferrable.

Do you have any advice for fellow geeks and Mines students?
Accept failure. There’s a lot you can learn from it, but also don’t look for failure because then you’ll be a failure. And don’t try and understand Xorg. It’s just not gonna happen.

Do you have a favorite quote?
“You’re a blind pilot?!?” – the other players in my RPG

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