welcome to my virtual home! It is permanently under construction, which you should excuse me for, but as a true to the stereotype scientist I hardly find time (and willpower) to tidy up and put things in order. The disorder only grew bigger after I forked my web presence to make both parts of my split personality contempt, went through several iterations of different CMS systems, then decided again to merge the forks into a static multilingual site. As a result, the maximum entropy principle came in full power and the place became a total mess.
But allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hristo Iliev though my friends tend to call me iCaci (a symmetrised pun on both my former appreciation of Apple and a common short version of my name). Somewhere there should also be a Dr/PhD since I hold a doctoral degree in Atomic and Molecular Physics from the University of Sofia (the capital of my home country). I deal with all kinds of science-related things, mostly computer simulations in fields like molecular physics, engineering, and data analysis, and, as you’ve probably already guessed from the name of this site, am a little obsessed with computers, especially the kind with the super- prefix. I like complexity and poking around hard to understand things. Dealing with High-Performance Computing (HPC) is a constant swing between obfuscated FORTRAN codes and cryptic commands in unforgiving Unix environments, which is a lot more fun than it sounds, really. At the end of 2011, the universe conspired against me and several months later I found myself working at the IT Center (former Rechen- und Kommunikationszentrum) of RWTH Aachen University. Aachen is the westernmost city in Germany, situated right at the triple border with Belgium and the Netherlands, and was once a residence to Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. The IT Center is home to some of the most powerful academic supercomputer systems in Germany (site information in TOP500) and is where I’m still working. Back home I built and still spend significant chunks of free time helping to maintain several compute clusters, among them the 222-core PHYSON (Bulgarian-only site) at the Faculty of Physics of my Alma mater and the newly acquired system of the Laboratory for High-Performance Computing of Sofia Tech Park. I believe in the value of freely sharing knowledge and used to have ideas about bringing obscure topics like HPC to light in the Bulgarian IT community, but those stalled due to lack of time and remained mostly an academic endeavour. The single accomplishment to date remains a talk on how we did HPC on the cheap at the University of Sofia using off-the-shelf components and open-source software, which I gave at OpenFest 2011 in Sofia (a video recording is available here), closely followed by the annual MPI tutorial that I give as part of our free-for-all PPCES event in Aachen each March.
Unfortunately, being a scientist in Bulgaria does not quite pay off, so I also used to take additional IT jobs in writing commercial software and therefore am no stranger to silly languages like C# and even PHP. My Stack Overflow activity probably speaks better. When it comes to bragging, this page used to be a neat professional CV, but the social era came and now I have this verbosity and a LinkedIn profile instead.
I blog occasionally since 2004, mostly in Bulgarian. Fortunately, no one reads it, for most of it is brain dumps, rants, and trivial observations over life (though things were going to change at some point…). The database of the original blog went missing for good long ago (“Yesterday, all those backups seemed a waste of pay…” , hehe), but, if you happen to understand Bulgarian, the third reincarnation is in the Bulgarian section. Again, the social era has made blogging mostly irrelevant, with short bursts of quickly scratched high-dopamine posts displacing the longer sessions of laying out one’s thoughts, trashing it, then starting anew.
Some time ago, a friend of mine, an exceptional photographer himself, mentioned that I have an eye for composition but lack proper equipment. Not sure if he wasn’t just trying to sell me on his favourite brand, but I bought a DSLR camera and started filling up entire disks with huge files. They say that a monkey with a good camera is still just a monkey with a camera, no matter how good the good is. Judge for yourself in the Entangled Pixels gallery.
But enough line noise. Enjoy your stay and do drop me a page or two at hristo at this domain. Take your time — I enjoy reading longer e-mails. And since I adore cats (who doesn’t?), do not hesitate to include a link or two to funny cat videos and photos. If you rather feel like stalking people than talking to them, I also dwell on Facebook (chances are, I most likely won’t accept your friend request unless you first introduce yourself, you creep!) and on Twitter (free to stalk; contains a subset of the Facebook posts as both accounts are linked together).