|Hi! I'm Sean A Corfield and this is my site.
This page is about me - the rest of the site is about stuff that may be more interesting to you. Or not.
You can cut straight to my resumé if you want. Or you can read on to find out how I got dragged into the fascinating world of computers...
I was born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland in 1962 while my family was making cameras there. My family moved back to England in 1967 - when the IRA started to threaten British businesses in Northern Ireland. After another brief visit to Northern Ireland during my grandfather's terminal cancer, we settled in Loxwood, West Sussex where I completed my primary education.
Then I went to Collyer's Grammar School in Horsham, West Sussex, achieving reasonable grades against stiff competition and was introduced to programming by the enthusiastic Mr Simons who, when he wasn't firing up his students about Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity, taught me mathematics for four years. This led naturally to reading mathematics and computer science at Surrey University in Guildford, Surrey from whence I graduated in 1983 with a 1st class honours degree. After my final year project to develop an APL interpreter, and without realising there was money to be made in compilers, I stayed on to conduct research into functional language design and implementation techniques - languages like Miranda and ML were flavour of the month back then.
During my research, I did some contract work writing database software and a dual-language word processor in C. I also worked on and off at an insurance company writing motor insurance software in COBOL and then more database software in assembler(!).
Through the University I met Derek Jones who had just set up his own company, Knowledge Software, in Farnborough, Hants. They specialised in compiler technology. So did I. It was a natural career move. During my four years there, Derek and I designed and built, along with Gavin Halliday, one of the first ANSI validated C compilers.
I left to 'further my career' writing actuarial software at Bacon & Woodrow in Epsom, Surrey. I ended up writing a compiler for them! From actuarial formulae to parallel C code for farms of Inmos transputers. Despite the appealing prospect of heading up their Prolog specialist team, I was soon to move both forward and backward.
Programming Research had licenced the C compiler I had written and wanted to turn it into a C source code analysis tool. I was head hunted - a forward step - to work on that very familiar code - a backward step! I took control of the software development group and instigated various quality procedures that enabled the company to improve its software reliability far beyond the industry average. The C compiler became the successful product QA C and I pushed for a transition to C++ and an equivalent tool for that language. QA C++ was designed and brought to market in a very short period, accruing functionality quickly and tracking the emerging ISO C++ standard.
During my time at Programming Research, I got involved with the Association of C & C++ Users - an organisation of programmers for programmers - and edited their C++ Journal Overload for two years. I also got involved with the ISO C++ Committee (in '92) - an involvement that lasted eight years! That did a lot for my world travels too as the committee met in America twice a year and elsewhere in the world for the third meeting each year!
Early in 1995, I decided it was time to move on and so I founded Object Consultancy Services to capitalise on the experience I had gained in C++ through the standardisation process and also to revisit the work I did early on in comms and database development. I got involved with some exciting telecoms projects, transitioned my language of choice from C++ to Java and spent three years as secretary of the ANSI C++ committee J16.
One contract, with IS Solutions plc, gave me the opportunity to move to California where I currently live. Once I'd been working there for a while, I married the woman of my dreams and changed jobs, moving to Macromedia - now Adobe, Inc. as Director of Architecture.
Over the years, I've been lucky enough to get to do quite a bit of traveling (and I plan to do a lot more when I'm retired!).