About Jim . . .

Jim, April 1998Jim Weigang (pronounced WHY-gang) hadn't touched a computer in his life when he started college. He learned Fortran uneventfully in his freshman year, but when he learned APL in a math course at the University of Massachu- setts in 1977, something clicked and he knew that programming was his future. Encouraged by fellow student Jeff Chilton (of chilton.com), he joined the team of APLers working on IDAP, an interactive data analysis package for CDC mainframe computers. Along with Jeff, the team included Clark Wiedmann as lead programmer and Mike Sutherland, a statistics professor at Hampshire College. Jim's official major (astronomy) faded away as the sun rose on his programming career, and he's worked as an APL programmer and instructor ever since.
Jim has taught APL for UMass, Hampshire College, and the APL company formerly known as STSC. His book APL Notes, an introduction to APL that comes with everything you need to learn the language (including an interpreter), has been used in courses at UMass, Utah State University, Marywood College, and various businesses.
He worked with Clark Wiedmann again on STSC's APL compiler, the first (and possibly only) true APL compiler to be released for commercial use. During that time Jim started writing assembly language programs for use in the APL environment. This led to the FASTFNS collection of about 100 superfast utility functions, some of which are distributed by APL2000 in their ASMFNS workspace.
While writing the compiler, Clark kept his utility programs in a file and set up error trapping so he could run them from any workspace using statements that began with a right bracket (e.g., ]WSLOC). He encouraged Jim to develop this into a general-purpose facility: the User Command Processor, which was first implemented for STSC's mainframe APL*PLUS system. Jim later ported the system to the APL*PLUS/PC and /386 systems, where it has become the standard way of distributing programmer utilities.
Other creations of Jim's include the APL Newsreader, the APLASCII transliteration software, and the StepView debugger. In the more distant past, Jim has written graphics packages, text editors, and pre-Internet e-mail systems. He developed image processing and cluster analysis systems for Melvin F. Janowitz of UMass, worked on the PC-based ADAPS data analysis package for Mike Sutherland (who is now director of the Statistical Consulting Center at UMass), and revamped a profitability modeling package for Citicorp/Diner's Club.
Jim started this website in 1995 as a way of archiving postings he had written for the comp.lang.apl newsgroup. (Back in text-mode days, when the two browsers you checked your pages with were Netscape and Lynx!) The site was included as part of the APL97 Conference CD and has been described by the British APL journal Vector as "the definitive APL home pages."

Nathan and Matthew, December 1998 Jim is 42 years old and single. When he's not banging on a keyboard, he spends most of his time raising his sons, Matthew and Nathan, who are 10 and 8. He also enjoys astronomy, photography and their intersection (astrophotography), reading, writing, friendly games of volleyball, and collecting music into sampler tapes (lately on CDs). He lives in Northampton, MA.
Nathan with Cave 8'' f/4.5 on Losmandy G-11 mount Comet Hale-Bopp, April 4, 1997

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