Jason Hutchens: about me

Jason Hutchens: about me

My name is Jason Hutchens and I was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, on the 22nd of January 1972. I have two brothers, Darren and Brendan, and a niece named Lily. My parents are Barbara and Glen.

When I was young, I lived at 11 Davies Crescent, Kardinya. I attended Kardinya Primary School from 1978 to 1984. One thing I can remember from that time is "duck and cover" practice. NASA's SkyLab space station re-entered the atmosphere and bits of it fell all over my state, but fortunately way to the south, far away from Perth, the capital city. If you wonder how a space station could fall onto my state and not hurt anyone, it's because Western Australia covers an area of one million square miles (four times the size of Texas), yet has a population of under two million people (one tenth the population of Texas), most of whom live in Perth, the capital city. Perth is the most isolated city in the world, and is closer to Singapore than it is to Sydney. If you're from the United States, know that Sydney is NOT the capital of Australia---Canberra is. Perth may be likened to San Diego without all the bad bits.

From 1985 to 1989 I attended North Lake Senior High School, where my education was stifled completely. Being smart was just not cool. I barely scraped through my exams, managing to make it into the Engineering course at the University of Western Australia, but missing out on the Information Technology course. More about that later.

After school I thought I'd take a year off to see what it's like working in the real world. During summer I worked for eight weeks in a factory, manufacturing these special little devices which can remove the tyre off a wheel rim in seconds. My boss, who lives opposite my parent's house in North Lake, demonstrated this product on Quantum, a national science TV show, by removing the tyre from a Cessna aeroplane. Basically you screw the device onto the wheel rim and hit it with a sledgehammer, possibly destroying it in the process. They had an order for thousands of the things (from the Israeli army, I think). The work was tiring: I woke up early, did physical work all day, and found I was so knackered in the evening that sleep was the only option. After eight weeks I'd saved enough to buy myself an Amiga 500 computer (until then I'd only owned a Commodore 64). As soon as I got the Amiga, I left!

In 1990 I worked for the CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. I was with the Rock Mechanics Research Centre. As a research assistant, I helped set up tests. Most of these involved crushing rocks. I had a lot of spare time, and spent it working on my computer, writing silly programs in Basic. I remember the Gulf War happened while I was there, and I couldn't help thinking whether the devices I'd manufactured for removing tyres from wheel rims fitted were somehow involved.

From 1991 to 1994 I was an engineering student at UWA. I was lucky enough to get into the IT course which I'd failed to qualify for. Two people dropped it after first year, so I got in, along with Danny Goodman. Danny and myself teamed up with Bruce Cooper, and entered CIIPS, the Centre for Intelligent Information Processing Systems, in 1992. We were interested in Virtual Reality, and had built ourselves a complete VR system from a bicycle helmet, two video camera viewfinders, a couple of potentiometers, and two Amiga computers, one for each eye, synchronised via a serial link. The heat-sink for the viewfinders was positioned such that it would burn the user's nose after five minutes. Electrocution was also a very real danger. I completed honours with CIIPS in 1994, along with Danny, Bruce and Paul Williams. We never worked so hard, before or since.

Bruce, Paul and myself continued with CIIPS as PhD students, while Danny moved to Israel, where he married and begat. We all had a lot of fun following various hobbies and generally avoiding our research and supervisor. Incredibly we learned a hell of a lot during this time: I wrote a few natural language conversation simulators which became fairly well known and won me a few prizes and jobs. At the end of 1999 I submitted my PhD thesis, which was returned six months later requiring heavy modification. The story continues.

In mid-1999 Paul and myself worked as contract web programmers as a result of an interesting project falling into our laps. We later decided to team up with Bruce, Daniel Harvey, Sonny Tham and Adrian Yau to form Amristar.

In December 1999, after submitting my doomed PhD thesis, I headed for London where I joined my wonderful girlfriend D., who had been living and working there for the previous six months. I managed to get a job in the computer games industry, and, apart from being extremely fun, it provided a disposable income to fund our extravagent lifestyle.

While in London I was offered a job as Chief Scientist with an Israeli company whose quest is to develop true Artificial Intelligence. So now I find myself in a rather science fiction setting. It's interesting and strange.

If you'd like to get in touch with me, my contact details are listed below.

Snail MailPO Box 2499, Savyon 56430, ISRAEL

There's some more pictures of me here.

You'll find a whole lot more information about me, expanding on almost everything I've written about on this page, if you return to my home page and follow the other links. You can do that by clicking my name at the top of this page, or by using your browser to move back (if you got here from my home page, that is).