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M Edward (Ed) Borasky 23 September 2009

Ed @znmeb Borasky

Thought Follower, Sit-Down Comic, Mathematician and Linux Geek

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky is, in order of appearance, a boy genius, computer programmer, applied mathematician, folk singer, actor, professional graduate student, armchair astronaut, algorithmic composer, supercomputer programmer, performance engineer, Linux geek, solution in search of a problem and Social Media Analytics Researcher. His hobby is collecting hobbies.

Ed is a Thought Follower, Social Media Analytics Researcher, Sit-Down Comic, Former Boy Genius, Linux Capacity Planner, R Hacker, openSUSE Ambassador and Mathematician.

The origins of his handle, “znmeb”, are lost in the mists of time. Legend has it that the “meb” part is his initials, and the “z” and “n” are the initials of his two boyhood heroes, Zorro and Captain Nemo. However, this seems unlikely, since Captain Nemo was in fact the villain.

What are you up to?

I am up to no good in general. ;-) More specifically, though, I am working on two main projects. The first is research into performance metrics on open source operating systems, especially Linux, Xen, VirtualBox and KVM. The second is a social media analytics research toolkit called “SMART@znmeb”. SMART@znmeb is an appliance that features a complete Linux desktop, a database and a statistical and data visualization framework.

What are you into?

I’m into music of all kinds, especially classical, jazz and folk. I’m not exactly the rugged outdoors type, but I do enjoy hiking in Tryon Creek State Park. And of course I’m into applied mathematics, computers and open source software.

What do you like most about Portland?

Portland is my adopted home. What I like most about Portland is the confluence of reasonable weather, outstanding cultural activities and an open source software development environment. The people here are friendlier than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. And the food’s pretty good too, especially seafood, cheese, beer and wine.

What do you want to do next?

In addition to my current research in operating system performance metrics and social media analytics, I’m planning to get back into algorithmic composition. I’ve experimented with it on and off over the years, but never really sat down and created some of the music that I’ve wanted to create. A word of warning, though — the kind of music I create is unusual in many ways.

First of all, it’s entirely composed and performed by computers. There’s a certain amount of human guidance that goes into the algorithms, but most of the “creativity” comes from algorithms. There are no “conventional” musical instruments involved.

Second, the tonal systems used in my music are unconventional. They are microtonal — more than twelve tones in an octave — and xentonal — musical timbres that don’t exist in physical instruments. My main musical inspirations are Iannis Xenakis, David Cope, Harry Partch and William Sethares.

What’s your spiritual center?

A long time ago, someone asked me, “What do you stand in awe of?” My answer is, “The great works of Man, and the men and women who created them and continue to create them.” Beethoven, Rubens, Shostakovich, John Huston, Hildegarde von Bingen, Ella Fitzgerald, Emily Dickinson … the list is probably infinite, because I’m discovering new ones every day.


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