Jaehyun Park: Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at Stanford University

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Jaehyun Park is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at Stanford University. He started algorithmic problem solving at the age of 12. Since then, he has won awards in numerous national- and international-level programming competitions, including two medals at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), and the North America Championship at the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC). He coached the Stanford programming teams since 2010, and also worked as a problem setter for various contests. His research focuses on convex optimization, combinatorial algorithms, and solving computationally challenging problems using mathematical techniques.

What do you do best?

Abstraction through analytic thinking. Abstraction is a skill of dissecting a complicated system into simpler components. It is about understanding the rules governing a system, whether that system is a machine, computer program, human society, or the nature itself. It's the power of abstraction that allows one to see directly through the core of a matter, without getting distracted by minor details.

What makes you the best?

The most important thing, of course, is to practice and dedicate time, and everyone knows this. What seems to be less emphasized is how to spend time in the most efficient way possible. There are many ways of achieving this, and my personal favorite way is to have some fun every once in a while and regain my mental energy and focus.

How will you stay the best?

The world is full of learning opportunities, and I think utilizing them well is the key to staying in shape. Such opportunities don't have to come from somewhere far; having a conversation with someone who works in a different field, in fact, is a perfect chance to learn new things. I am genuinely excited about the future opportunities to connect with people with different backgrounds, passions, and goals.

What are your aspirations: business & personal?

Personal: To be able to keep up with my piano skills so that I can hold a small concert for my future wife and children every once in a while.

Business: To stay on top of everything in my field (however small that might be), and discover/invent new things that broadens the horizon of human knowledge.

What fascinates you?

The way we think, i.e., the mechanism of human brains. I also enjoy any kind of manifestation of great intelligence, such as paintings of van Gogh, Rachmaninoff's piano concerti, high level chess and StarCraft tournaments.

Favorite Motto?

"Simplicity is the highest goal." - Frederic Chopin

Favorite People?

Donald Knuth, Leonardo da Vinci, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Napoleon Bonaparte, Cao Cao, Daigo Umehara.

Favorite Places?

Coffee shops, museums, San Francisco, Seoul.

Favorite Products?

Any piece of software or hardware that implements new ideas in a solid way, e.g., Tesla cars, Powermat wireless chargers.

Current Passions?

Music of Chopin, rock climbing, photography, Street Fighter (yes, the video game).