Hi, I'm Stephen Vance

I started programming when I was 12 on a DEC PDP-11. Even though I programmed and did other work with computers all the way through college and won science fair awards for programming projects (including one using natural language parsing to solve a class of logic problem), I never consider it as more than a hobby. I graduated in Linguistics, then took my first computer classes and realized it could be a career.

Early in my career as a developer, I worked in 3D simulation of manufacturing robots. The product implemented real and generic robotic programming languages in its environment. With my Linguistics background and seeming to fix bugs in the language interpreters well, I quickly became the “compiler guy” despite never having taken a compiler course. I made up for that with some intensive self-study and have gravitated toward DSL solutions ever since. Most recently, I created the DSL for recording and executing tests for a “codeless” web application testing platform.

I’m now a software consultant at Test Double. I’m glad to be part of this community.


Hi Stephen,
Working on the project on parsing natural language must have felt awesome :smiley:
It is interesting this mix of linguistics and software. I tried to do the path in the opposite direction: I am always been a software guy but I eentually got fascinated by linguistics.
Funny enough yesterday I received an email by a linguist, who was looking for an algorithm to obtain the plot out of all books, in order to compare them and understand which story was inspired by which other story. I am very interested in these possible intersections, even if I was not able to help in this case.

Most recently, I created the DSL for recording and executing tests for a “codeless” web application testing platform.

I would love to hear more about this, if you can share it

Welcome in this community, it is a pleasure to have you here!

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The path was a little more complicated than that. I started my undergraduate in Math and Physics. After deciding not to continue, I switched to Linguistics as a way to get a degree, but without much forethought about career. To the extent you can specialize in an undergraduate degree, I gravitated to typological discourse analysis, at a the time a nascent subdiscipline that used statistics to derive insight across larger bodies of text.

Wow! Plot lines would be quite a challenging problem!

When I get some time, I’ll start another topic on the testing DSL.


This should be interesting. :slight_smile: