Hi there! As mentioned on the home page, my name is Brandon Wu, and I work as a program analysis engineer at a company called Semgrep, to profoundly improve the future of software security.
I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2022 with a degree in computer science and a concentration in programming languages, and my interests include functional programming and things related to functional programming.
When I'm not working or teaching (which is not terribly often), I like playing guitar, listening to musical theater, and consuming content from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Academically, I am interested in programming languages, type theory, compilers, and functional programming. I enjoy elegant and beautiful code, and I believe that functional programming allows you to express ideas in terse, clear, and aesthetically pleasing ways. At one point in my life I thought about doing a Ph.D., but I never really enjoyed research or reading papers, so I went to the industry instead.
My favorite languages include OCaml and Standard ML, and that's pretty much it. I have a middling understanding of other languages, but for any problem that I am interested in solving, I would rather do it in OCaml than really any other alternative, at this point in my career. I have long-term ambitions to one day actually pick up Haskell and Scala for some reason, but as of now I have not done so.
I think that there is nothing cooler or more interesting than writing code which works on programs. Compilers, static analysis, and developer tooling are all use cases that I am very interested in, and I intend to take advantage of the full employment theorem for the rest of my life.
I also think that writing parsers is fun, contrary to the popular belief of many of my peers. It's like a nice, relaxing sudoku puzzle.
I listen to a lot of musical theatre, which is not a fact I am normally proud to disclose, but if anything's to go on the personal website, this is it. I tend to enjoy more contemporary musicals that are in recent pop culture, so a list of my top three would probably be:
- Come From Away
but honorable mentions include Hamilton, Book of Mormon, and the Lightning Thief Musical. I used to be a lot more into Dear Evan Hansen, but I think I've outgrown it, for the most part.
Since I graduated college, I've been gradually transitioning away from musical theatre, and now I listen to more varied stuff, though mostly pop music. I am a big fan of an indie band called Bug Hunter, Bo Burnham, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift, and myriad other random singles.
I tend to enjoy re-reading things, and the activation energy to start something new is rather high. Here's some books and other works that I've enjoyed quite a bit though, in no particular order:
- Worm, by Wildbow
- Ra, by qntm
- The Mistborn Trilogy, by Brandon Sanderson
- Relatedly, The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson
- Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, by Douglas Hofstadter
- This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race, by Nicole Perlroth
Hopefully this list will expand in the near future.
I used to play far too many video games when I was younger, and now I don't really play them at all. Here's some I enjoyed a lot, though:
- League of Legends - I played this game for about four years, and the maximum rank I ever attained was Diamond V. When I was in high school, I used to run an organization called Ascension eSports, which organized tournaments for amateur competitive play, which is where I first started teaching, as a team coach.
- Final Fantasy XV - I went through a phase where I consumed all media related to Final Fantasy XV for a period of about a year, when I was in high school. I think it's a fantastic tragedy and a beautiful game, executed very stylishly, and to an amazing soundtrack.
- Bioshock Infinite - This one has a similar story, for me, as Final Fantasy XV, though a few years later. I fully believe in video games as an art form, and I think the story of Bioshock Infinite is emotionally charged, philosophically compelling, and ultimately a masterpiece of storytelling through gaming.
- Darkest Dungeon - I have a fair amount of fondness for roguelikes, and Darkest Dungeon is one of my favorites. I think it hits the jackpot for how its aesthetics synthesize with its gameplay, to create an immersively brutal campaign with a satisfying (if enraging) gameplay loop. I have never once in many hours of playing this game beat the Darkest Dungeon.
The list of games that I want to play grows ever larger with every passing year, and although I tell myself eventually I will get around to it, the list of things I need to accomplish in other domains of my life also grows ever larger.