Created 1996-04           Species Confidential - For Human Use Only           Updated 2007-04-25
 Holtz for Congress -

Brian Holtz
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Holtz For Congress
Human Knowledge: Foundations and Limits
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At Work

In April 2002 I joined Yahoo! to work on Yahoo! Personals, the leader in on-line matchmaking.  Before Yahoo I was with Sun Microsystems for eleven years. On my last project at Sun Microsystems I led a team that built a document and folder synchronization service between the SunONE Webtop and clients for PalmOS and Java. From 1996 to 1999 my team added to the Solaris desktop new features like PC Launcher, Java media player, address mgr, process mgr, and file finder. From 1993 to 1996 I designed the integration of ToolTalk into CDE (the Sun/HP/IBM standard Unix desktop). From 1990 to 1993 I helped develop ToolTalk: Sun's C++-based cross-platform middleware for IPC among persistent distributed objects.

In The Past

I received an M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1990 and a B.S. from the University of Southern Mississippi Honors College in 1987. I graduated from Ocean Springs High School in 1983 after we settled there in 1978 to complete my father's career as an anesthetist in the Air Force.  Before that we lived in Japan, Arkansas, Ohio, Canada, Michigan, Washington, and Texas (where I was born in 1965).  My ancestors were German and Irish farmers who immigrated to northeastern Iowa in the middle of the 19th century.  We are of species sapiens, genus Homo, family Hominidae, superfamily Hominoidea, infraorder Catarrhini, order Primates, subclass Eutheria, class Mammalia, superclass Vertebrata, subphylum Craniata, phylum Chordata, kingdom Metazoa, domain Eukaryotae, bioclade Ribonucleica.

In Thought

These are some of the questions addressed in my book:
My book asserts a synthesis of metaphysical naturalism, ontological materialism, epistemological empiricism and positivism, mental functionalism, theological atheism, axiological extropianism, political libertarianism, economic capitalism, constitutional federalism, biological evolutionism, evolutionary psychology, and technological optimism.

The writers that have influenced and persuaded me most are Robert Nozick, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Milton Friedman, Julian Simon, Jared Diamond, Desmond Morris, and George Gilder. Influential -- but not necessarily as persuasive -- have been Carl Sagan, Mortimer Adler, Bertrand Russell, Karl Marx, Henry George, and Arthur Clarke. Lately I've been reading and admiring the work of Robin Hanson, Nick Bostrom, Max Tegmark, David Friedman, Michael Martin, Quentin Smith, Richard Carrier, Steven Pinker, Richard Posner, Virginia Postrel, and Brad DeLong.

Here is a library of interesting documents and images I've collected on the web.

In Search

Ours is likely to be the first generation of humanity to make contact with non-human intelligence.  Our first contact may be the receipt of a message similar to this one broadcast from Earth on November 16, 1974:

In The Lab

Vita is a tty-based artificial life simulator I wrote in 1993. In Vita, simulated creatures compete, reproduce, and evolve while their behavior is controlled by mutating programs expressed in a Turing-complete programming language called VitaL.

On Court

I captained the Sun tennis team to the championship of the Bay Area Industrial Tennis League in 2001, 2000, 1999 and 1997, and was ranked 29th among 5.0-rated players in Northern California in 1997.  The USTA team I used to captain made it to the 2001 playoffs in the Mid-Peninsula 5.0 division.

In Print

My book ToolTalk and Open Protocols describes the design and architecture of Sun's ToolTalk inter-application messaging standard, and shows how to design and implement an open messaging protocol.

At CSMIL in grad school, Dan O'Leary, Martin Sonntag and I designed and implemented a groupware editor called ShrEdit, which later inspired Sun's CoEd ToolTalk demo.