PC Forum 2002. I just received the printed proceedings from this year's PC Forum back in March in Scottsdale, Arizona. The picture of me between two other attendees - Gert Birnbacher from the Danish eBusiness Association and Andreas Kemi from Fathom Technology - is from the conference book. It's one of the very few events that I cannot miss. Hopefully, my conference allowances permits my to go next year again.
M/Y Skat. Last night (20 July 2002) Jeanne and I spend a fantastic evening at the M/Y Skat celebrating its maiden voyage. M/Y Skat is a huge yacht (73 meters) owned by Charles Simonyi who is chief architect at Microsoft. He joined Microsoft in 1981 to start the development of microcomputer application programs. He hired and managed teams who developed Microsoft Excel, Multiplan, Word, and other applications. In 1991, he moved on to Microsoft Research where he focused on Intentional Programming, an "ecology for abstractions" which strives for maximal reuse of components by separating high level intentions from implementation detail. Before coming to Microsoft, Simonyi worked at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center developing Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Simonyi holds a BS degree in engineering mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford (cited from the Edge interview).
(The first time in more than 2 years that I have been wearing a tie. M/Y Skat is the huge vessel in the background)
Charles Simonyi actually spend almost two years at Regnecentralen after he escaped communist Hungary in the mid-sixties and before he went to Berkeley to study. The party last night was held in Copenhagen for Charles Simonyi to catch up with his old friends here from the days at Regnecentralen. Jeanne and I together with some other non-Regnecentralen people were invited as members of the general IT-crowd here in Denmark.
(Friends at the helicopter deck. From the right: Tor Nørretranders, Nikolaj Nyholm, Sebastiab Buettrich, Line Toftsø Nyholm, Anna Buettrich and Jeanne.)
The entrance to the party was kind of strange. In the invitation, guest were asked to wear nautical or black tie and that is how people showed up. However, before entering the yacht everybody was asked to take off their shoes in order to protect the wooden floors and the carpets onboard the ship. So here you had a lot of dressed up people in kind of a formal attire walking around in their stockings or with bare feet. Not that I mind walking with my feet bare. I like being casual. But why not then in the first place just ask the guests in the invitation to dress casual. Anyway, it was lots of fun to experience such a splendid yacht, to enjoy some good food and drinks, to talk to friends and to watch the surprise of the evening: A very impressive display of fireworks from Kvæsthusbroen. The yacht was moored just next to Amaliehaven.
(In the late evening, warming our feet in the hot Jacuzzi. In the picture is also Thomas Mygdal-Madsen.)
M/Y Skat is truly impressive though not very beautiful. I was told that the price tag on the yacht had read almost 50 mill. USD. As as Dane it is hard to fathom that someone can have such wealth that he can pay that kind of money for a ship that he only plans to spend about 10 days a year on. Charles Simonyi, however, also does good deeds with his money. He is the benefactor of two chairs: The Charles Simonyi Professorship For The Understanding Of Science at Oxford University which is held by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins; and the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.