Hiebeler's Personal Page
I grew up in a small house in a forest in upstate NY (between Chatham and Red Rock, about 30 miles outside of Albany). The nearest neighbor was about a mile away, so it was very peaceful and beautiful around my home, with many trees and animals. As a result, I really enjoy the countryside. I lived in cities for about 9 years (Troy NY, Boston MA, and Santa Fe NM), but never really got used to it. I loved the seven years I spent living in the countryside near Cornell, with forests and wildlife and many trails nearby, and miss the area terribly, especially the many small but beautiful trails. While hiking there, I saw deer quite often, plus sometimes pheasants, wild turkeys, ducks, porcupines, geese, hawks, mice, and many other animals (and their footprints), in addition to the beautiful plants and scenery. Some people may call it "Corn-hell", but I loved it at Cornell. If you are interested in hiking in NY State, you should consider becoming a member of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference, or possibly buying some of their trail maps.
I went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) as an undergraduate, from 1986-90. I got my B.S. in Computer Science there in December of 1990. During that time, I became very interested in cellular automata, although I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with them, or how to really understand what they were doing. But their ability to produce complex behavior from simple rules captivated me. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I went to work for Thinking Machines Corporation for about a year and a half. They were the makers of the Connection Machine series of parallel supercomputers (I was there during the days of the CM-2 and CM-5 models). Then Chris Langton invited me back to the Santa Fe Institute to work with him on the Swarm project. I'd worked with Chris at Los Alamos National Lab for a couple of summers when I was an undergrad, developing the "Cellsim" cellular automata simulator which ran under the SunView windowing system (if anyone reading this is old enough to remember SunView). I worked on Swarm for about 9 months before going off to school at Harvard to get my PhD in applied math. But after a year there, I realized it wasn't the right place for me. I stayed for one more year and got my Master's degree in June 1995, and then transferred to Cornell University in the fall of 1995 to finish my PhD, which I finally did in 2001. I got my PhD at the Center for Applied Math at Cornell, and mainly worked with people in the Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. My dissertation title was "Populations and the Evolution of Dispersal on Spatially Structured Heterogeneous Landscapes". As a student, I was supported for three years by a US Environmental Protection Agency STAR graduate fellowship, and for two years before that, by an NSF training grant in "The Dynamics of Heterogeneous Ecological and Evolutionary Systems". I loved it at Cornell, not only the school, but also the living environment, as mentioned above.
Before coming to Maine, I worked for two years (2000-2002) as a visiting lecturer in the Dept. of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology (formerly known as the Dept. of Biometrics) in the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences at Cornell. Yes, I was one of those people who got a job before finishing my degree, but fortunately it all worked out in the end.
Back when I had spare time, I studied some Chinese (Mandarin, and the simplified jian3 ti3 zi4 characters used in mainland China). Two children's stories that I wrote, "小猴子历险记" ("Xiao3 Hou2 Zi3 Li4 Xian3 Ji4", "The Little Monkey's Adventure"), and "鹿为什么踏地?" ("Lu4 Wei4 Shen2 Me Ta4 Di4?", "Why Did The Deer Stomp His Foot?") were published in 《小朋友》杂志 ("Xiao Peng You") magazine in China, in September 1996 and June 1998 respectively. You can see both stories (in various Chinese encoded formats or in PostScript), over on my Chinese stories page. So far, I have visited China seven times; I have been to Tianjin, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xi'an, and Suzhou. I really like Hangzhou, mainly for the beautiful scenery outside of the city, such as Yu4 Huang2 Shan1, Nan2 Gao1 Feng1, Jiu3 Xi1, etc.
One of the things that made me interested in learning Chinese was all the great Chinese folk stories / fairy tales. I love such stories as Madame White Snake (Bai2 She2 Zhuan4), the story of the monkey king Sun Wu Kong (Journey To The West, Xi1 You2 Ji4), many of the Liao2 Zhai1 Zhi4 Yi4 ghost stories and strange tales, etc.