Farewell to a friend
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- Subject: [mg130653] Farewell to a friend
- From: John Fultz <jfultz at wolfram.com>
- Date: Mon, 29 Apr 2013 01:13:30 -0400 (EDT)
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Some of you may be familiar with WRI software developer Chris Hill. He
has posted occasionally on this forum, and has been a long-time regular
presence at the Wolfram Technology Conferences. I am very sorry to
relay the news that Chris died last week.
For those who don't know or maybe don't quite remember Chris, here's a
bit of background. Chris is difficult to forget if you've met him in
person, as he stood at 6'10". I hired him in July, 2000, for a position
in the User Interface group. He began by taking over my old position as
the principle Windows developer for a few years. However, he later
showed interest and aptitude for 3D graphics, so Theo Gray and I decided
to put him in charge of the new interactive 3D graphics rendering system
which we were in the process of developing for the front end. After
taking the system over from another developer, Chris single-handedly
whipped it into shape in time for the version 6 release in 2007. He
continued to work on the 3D rendering system, including adding support
for textures and modernizing graphics hardware support, up until shortly
before his death.
Chris had a passion for quality and correctness, and he was exceedingly
knowledgeable. He is the only person to date that I've ever hired who
fixed a bug on his very first day of employment. Sometimes, he and I
would wrestle a bit with some ideas he was working on because he never
wanted to show me anything that wasn't complete, correct, and working.
And to his credit, that was a goal he achieved remarkably often. He
also kept a watchful eye on quality issues in many other parts of the
source code. We in the User Interface Group are always looking at each
others' work, but Chris, more so than others, was likely to be sending
an email based upon a watchful eye catching an error from carelessness,
human foible, or ignorance.
Chris was a somewhat introverted fellow, so he might not have caught
your attention as a standout personality at a tech conference or on
MathGroup, but he was also really interested in being helpful and
understanding hard problems, so you'll probably remember if you did
interact with him.
Last year, Chris went to a doctor after experiencing abdominal pain,
which began a months-long struggle with colon cancer. About 2 months
ago, Chris let me know in his final communication with me that his last,
best hope at treatment had failed. He spent his final weeks in hospice
under the care of his mother.
Chris left many friends at WRI, and I'm sure more than a few in the
extended Mathematica community, who are deeply sad at his passing.
jfultz at wolfram.com
User Interface Group
Wolfram Research, Inc.
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