Akim is joining our team

We haven't talked much about our team and the seven people composing it over the last few months, so here is our effort trying to be a little more transparent about it.

Akim started working with us on our storage platform a couple of months ago. He has now joined Docker to officially take part in our 7-people team!

Let's introduce Akim with a small biography.

PhD years

Everything started when Akim was a PhD student.

He was sitting next to the printer, where he could see all the different ways that people wasted paper: single-sided printing, large fonts for plain text, print PostScript source instead of rendered PostScript, etc.

So he decided to help out by writing scripts named after the printers. These scripts made it easy to print double-sided, to print several "virtual minipages" on single physical pages, etc.

At some point, he also used a small C program to convert plain text files into decent PostScript: a2ps.

Over the years he added several features to a2ps which eventually integrated all the features from the original shell-scripts, including pretty-printing for more programming languages, reordering pages to print duplex booklets, and many, many other features. This new a2ps became very successful (eventually it was dubbed GNU a2ps), so he started to get reports about portability issues.

GNU logo

That’s how he ended up using Autoconf, and then Automake. To provide extensible pretty-printing features, he implemented a description language using Bison and Flex. And he used regular expressions heavily. Eventually, he contributed a lot to Bison, Autoconf, Automake and many other open source projects. He even became the official maintainer of Bison and Autoconf for a while.

Teaching at EPITA

Right after his PhD defense, he was hired at EPITA, a French private university for computer science, by Thierry Géraud, founder of LRDE, EPITA's R&D lab. He spent almost eighteen years there, teaching courses such as Formal Languages, Compiler Construction, C++, Formal Logic, Object-Oriented Design, etc.

The legend has it that he was the teacher of Julien & Quentin (former CEO & CTO of Infinit respectively) for a few years.

He was also involved in several projects:

  • Vaucanson, a C++ platform dedicated to automata and rational expressions;
  • Transformers, a source-to-source workbench for C++ programs;
  • Tiger, a compiler written in C++ based on Andrew Appel's brilliant "Modern Compiler Implementation" books which is used at EPITA to teach long-term software development.

Robotics at Gostai

For six years, starting in 2006, he was a part-time employee of Gostai, a French start-up working on robotics. With Quentin Hocquet, Matthieu Nottale, and Antony Méchin (who was still an intern back then). They worked on the Urbi platform, in particular the urbiscript programming language.

Then, when he went back full time to EPITA, he spent most of his research time on the Vcsn project (GitLab link), a reboot of the Vaucanson project. Its core is a C++14 templated library, on top of which sits a "regular" and easy to use C++ library, thanks to type erasure and run-time code generation. Python and IPython bindings for it provide a very pleasant interactive graphical user experience. Don't tell anyone but he's quite proud of what Vcsn has become :)

Time for a new adventure

After 6494 days spent at EPITA with its great team and passionate students, he's now part of the Infinit team at Docker, working on the distributed storage platform. Here, he will indulge himself in some of his passions: modern C++, frisbee, and coffee.

Akim will be working on the platform backend alongside Matthieu and Quentin. You can find him on our Slack channel at @akim.

Welcome Akim!


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Gaëtan Rochel

designer / web dev @ docker (infinit crew)

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