My name is Ryan Johnson.

I am an undergraduate computer science student at the University of Memphis. In my free time I research computer science, programming languages, user experience (UX) design, information theory, cognitive science, social science, and psychology.

I started programming in middle school or early high school on a Texas Instruments TI-83+ Silver Edition calculator, using a structured language called TI-BASIC. I have a background in physics and mathematics and earned a perfect score on the physics subject test for the SAT in 2007. I also earned a 33 composite score on the ACT (out of 36) and a 2000 composite on the SAT (out of 2400). My best ACT sections were Mathematics (34) and Science (35).

Vision

I have noticed that the complexity of the programming profession has exploded over the years. As developers, we go to great lengths to learn and memorize tools, which end up changing underneath our feet. We create programs, which only survive by hijacking the end-user’s reward pathway in the brain; and we collect their usage habits to sell the data to businesses that want to control our minds to reap massive profits. I think it is time we put an end to this. We need to scrap the current way software is marketed and created, and we need to create software that is compatible with basic human psychology and respectful of our attention and memory spans. The most valuable resource in computer science is the programmer’s time and creativity, not the computer’s processing time.

This is why I ask, are we programming the computers, or are they programming us?

To achieve this goal, I am developing a file system to replace the hierarchical file system paradigm used on every computer since the 1970s. I am also developing a human-computer interface to replace and extend the mouse and keyboard, which have kept the desktop experience from moving forward for nearly 50 years. I am working hard to move the desktop computing experience forward, breaking it out of the confines of tradition and integrating the full potential of advances in technology into the desktop experience.

Inspirations

I would rather be free in my mind, and be locked up in a prison cell, than to be a coward and not be able to say what I want.

Bobby Fischer
Bobby Fischer
Chess Grandmaster

Psychologically, you have to have confidence in yourself and this confidence should be based on fact.

Bobby Fischer

The mind is like a parachute: it only works when it’s open.

Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Musician

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter Drucker
Peter Drucker
Management consultant, educator and author

Being really good at C++ is like being really good at using rocks to sharpen sticks.

Thant Tessman

When your hammer is C++, everything begins to look like a thumb.

Steve Hoflich on compl.lang.c++
Freddie Mercury
Lead singer of Queen

Let’s build something together!