My book Hex, the full story --- written with Bjarne Toft --- will be published in 2019 by AK Peters/CRC Press/Taylor-Francis.


I am a computing science professor at UAlberta in Edmonton, where it sometimes snows.

I was raised in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Lethbridge, started university at UBC, spent a year in Grenoble and finished a BSc (honours math '81) and an MSc (math '82) at Queen's (Kingston) supervised by Peter Taylor and Selim Akl. I finished a PhD in computer science from McGill in 1987 supervised by Vašek Chvátal. Together with Vašek and fellow students Bruce Reed and Chính Hoàng, I visited Claude Berge --- who taught me how to play Hex --- in Paris for four months at the start of 1984.

I have had many inspiring teachers, including Bill Oleksy, Mr. Hori, Mr. Kosaka, Norm Forshaw, Walter Gage, Jim Verner, Dan Norman, Jon Davis, David Gregory, Peter, Selim and Vašek.

I worked in a recycling paper plant in Vancouver for a few summers before NSERC undergraduate scholarships started my university employment. I was an assistant prof at Rutgers (86-88/9), an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Institute for Discrete Math in Bonn (89/90), an assistant prof at Queen's (90-91/2), and an assistant and then associate prof at Lethbridge (92-99). I joined UAlberta in 1999 and was promoted to professor in 2004.

Since 2008 I've taught an undergraduate course on cryptography based on "The Code Book" by Simon Singh.

Since 2016 I've taught an undergraduate course on games, puzzles and algorithms inspired by the success of AlphaGo.

I've supervised 13 graduate and more than 30 undergraduate students. Some became professors, others worked at companies that include Google and DeepMind.

My phd and early work was on graph algorithms. Lately I'm interested in algorithms for two-player games such as Hex and Go. Some of my students and post-docs (including Yngvi Bjornsson, Michael Johanson, Broderick Arneson, Philip Henderson, Jakub Pawlewicz, Chao Gao, and Aja Huang --- later lead programmer of AlphaGo) built the world's strongest computer-Hex player, and solved two 1-move 10x10 Hex openings and all smaller-board openings.

I like to get around by bike. In May 1978 I rode solo from Vancouver to Lethbridge. These days I commute year-round on one of my recumbent bikes.