Joachim Breitner


Published 2021-06-19 in sections English.

Last Thursday was my last working day at DFINITY. There are various reasons why I felt that after almost three years the DFINITY Foundation isn’t quite the right place for me anymore, and this plan has been in the making for a while. Primarily, there are personal pull factors that strongly suggest that I’ll take a break from full time employment, so I decided to see the launch of the Internet Computer through and then leave.

DFINITY has hired some amazing people, and it was a great pleasure to work with them. I learned a lot (some Rust, a lot of Nix, and just how merciless Conway’s law is), and I dare say I had the opportunity to do some good work, contributing my part to make the Internet Computer a reality.

I am especially proud of the Interface Specification and the specification-driven design principles behind it. It even comes with a model reference implementation and acceptance test suite, and although we didn’t quite get to do formalization, those familiar with the DeepSpec project will recognize some influence of their concept of “deep specifications”.

Besides that, there is of course my work on the Motoko programming language, where I build the backend,a the Candid interoperability layer, where I helped with the formalism, formulated the a generic soundness criterion for Interface Description Languages in a higher order settings and formally verified that in Coq. Fortunately, all of this work is now Free Software or at least Open Source.

With so much work poured into this project, I continue to care about it, and you’ll see me post on the the developer forum and hack on Motoko. As the Internet Computer becomes gradually more open, I hope I can be gradually more involved again. But even without me contributing full-time I am sure that DFINITY and the Internet Computer will do well; when I left there were still plenty of smart, capable and enthusiastic people forging ahead.

So what’s next?

So far, I have rushed every professional transition in my life: When starting my PhD, when starting my postdoc, when starting my job at DFINITY, and every time I regretted it. So this time, I will take a proper break and will explore the world a bit (as far as that is possible given the pandemic). I will stresslessly contribute to various open source projects. I also hope to do more public outreach and teaching, writing more blog posts again, recording screencasts and giving talks and lectures. If you want to invite me to your user group/seminar/company/workshop, please let me know! Also, I might be up for small interesting projects in a while.

Beyond these, I have no concrete plans and am looking forward to the inspiration I might get from hiking through the Scandinavian wilderness. If you happen to stumble across my tent, please stop for a tea.


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