I’m currently pursuing a PhD in Computer Science at MIT. I’m working on making programming more accessible by designing new languages and development tools. One of my main inspirations is the spreadsheet: an accessible programming system that combines a language with a rich visual environment.
Before that, I was an early engineer at Panorama Education (YC S13), a startup helping K-12 educators use data to better understand their students and schools. Over five years I helped grow Panorama into a leading education platform used by over 9 million students.
I grew up in Tokyo and played in an all-cello rock band in college.
Topics I’m interested in
Here are some things I’m thinking about right now:
Making programming more accessible: (aka end-user programming, no-code development): how can we open up the full power of computing to more people, without the current barriers of programming? What does the world look like when people can flexibly modify and create their own software?
Spreadsheets are a major success story in this arena. Can we pinpoint the underlying reasons why they succeeded, and extend those lessons to other domains?
Another angle I’m pondering is how to make software amenable to being extended with plugins.
Futuristic programming languages, environments, debuggers: Much of the way that experts do programming is shockingly similar to how it was done decades ago.
How can we co-design languages and environments that give programmers more feedback and visibility into what they’re doing, going far beyond typical debuggers? My Margin Notes project explored one way to use runtime traces to help programmers understand the data flowing through their programs.
I’m also interested in programming environments that break out of plaintext through structured editing or visual metaphors.
Tools for thought: Computers have massive potential to serve as a new medium that levels up our ability to think, just as writing and mass literacy has enabled humans to think in far more sophisticated ways. How can we design tools that leverage computers to level up our thinking?
Here’s a very incomplete list of people whose work I’ve found inspirational. If you’re like me, maybe you will too.