Richard Loxley (formerly Gibbs)
What are you doing now?
Career-wise, I’ve finally fulfilled my graduation wish by starting my own company and working for myself. I split my time between making iPhone and iPad apps, running a word-games website, and having lots of time off! I make cool stuff for consumers, rather than working on contracts for other people, which makes me happy.
Working for myself gives me lots of time to do cool stuff I enjoy. I’m a keen unicycle hockey player, I also juggle socially, dabble in art, have tried various types of dance, and am always tinkering with technology.
I’ve changed my name since St Andrews, so if anyone wants to get in touch, look me up under my new name: Richard Loxley.
What is your favourite memory from your time studying Computer Science in St Andrews?
Everything was a happy memory, it’s really hard to choose!
I do remember the department sending a team to compete in a BCS competition over in Dundee. We only heard about it the day before, but were up for a challenge. There were three components: computer games, a quiz, and a programming challenge. I remember someone (possibly Dave Munro?) telling us that if we only won the games section, there would be trouble!
We started well, by taking the trophy for the games competition. I did feel we’d never live it down if that was all we got. Thankfully we also won the quiz. Sadly we didn’t win the programming challenge (simulating intelligent actions of multiple lifts in a high rise building) only having one day to complete it when the rest of the teams had had weeks. But what was particularly sad was that our entry had the best functionality and was elegantly extensible, but the winner was the one with the prettiest graphics. That was an early wake-up call to the importance of presentation when delivering a project!
What was your favourite module, and why?
Again, I loved pretty much all of it. I loved that St Andrews focused on computation, not just computers, so the likes of lambda calculus (not to everyone’s taste!) were great.
But one of the highlights was learning about microcode. Throughout my education I had gradually worked down the technology stack from high-level languages, to low-level languages, to assembler, to machine code, and the decomposition of the opcodes in their binary representation. And I’d also worked up from physics, to electrons, to transistors, to logic gates, to complex circuits and modules. But the day we covered microcode was a eureka moment, the final missing jigsaw piece that let me understand everything about a computer from the electrons up. Absolutely magic.
Alumni Profile added: Mar 2016