What he does:
- After graduating from College, Bjorn started working in research labs at Rockefeller University and New York University before starting his own music software company, XO Audio LLC in 2004. With his experience in research, he was able to find a part-time consulting position at Emory University to provide an income while he develops his software.
Bjorn's software, called XO Wave, can be used for music recording, editing, mixing and CD Mastering, and is slated for release in late 2005. Bjorn works on all aspects of the software, which he started writing as a hobby.
At Emory, he is involved in research using fMRI and PET imaging. Bjorn performs statistical and image analysis in addition to writing and editing.
Math on the job:
- While many researchers receive training in statistics, they typically need help with the more complex problems -- especially those involving large data sets. This has provided a great opportunity for Bjorn: "many researchers are interested in reproducing someone else's methods, extending their own methods to larger data sets or just analyzing their data in a slightly different way. While I rarely know how to do what they want when they first describe the problem, I can usually do a bit of research and find out."
While programming music software, Bjorn has found that mathematics plays a different role: "I use my intuition about math, sound and computer programming to decide how to try tackling a problem. After drawing a few diagrams, and making notes, most of the work becomes programming work, and then listening carefully to make sure it sounds right."
- Bjorn has a BA in Mathematics from Swarthmore College. He finds the skills he learned in statistics, analysis, and linear algebra to be invaluable. Just as important, however, have been classes outside of Math, such as Music, Engineering and Computer Science as well as work experience: "People almost automatically respect you when they find out you majored in math, but if you want them to hire you as a consultant, you need to have experience in their field."
Bjorn's advice to students:
- Math combines well with other fields, and it is great preparation for just about anything, so taking classes and getting summer jobs outside the math world can really open up a lot of doors.
Don't be afraid of trying things! I never expected to be running my own business, and now it's something I really love.