I was born and grew up in Vienna. When I was 13 I took part in the "7. Wiener Mathematik- und Denksportwettbewerb" (a math contest) and obtained the second place out of 149 contestants. That was when my math teacher said that I was "gifted". This diagnosis was confirmed at adult age when I scored IQ 150 - 160 (99.9th percentile) on several intelligence tests.
I studied medicine, medical informatics and computational intelligence at university. A lifelong interest of mine is also computer game development and I am proud of having created Mega Force and its sequel. I edited Hugi Magazine in the years 1996 to 2014 and 21st Century Headlines in the years 2015 to 2019. Currently I am working in the IT industry as a software engineer.
My approach to epistemology is that we are unable to know anything. If somebody says he knows something, this is a sloppy expression. In reality he or she only believes to know something. Our memory may be deceived.
Despite not following a religion, I am not an atheist. Atheists sometimes claim they are rational, but it would only be justified to say atheism is rational and theism is irrational if it were possible to disprove the existence of God. In my opinion it is perfectly legitimate to believe in God. It is your choice as an individual what to believe in and what not.
Life as such does not have a meaning but we can assign meaning to it within the bounds of the socio-economic system we live in. My personal priority is creative work. I do not feel good when a day has passed without me having made any creative accomplishment.
I also believe that there is a world of thoughts, ideas and dreams which exists independently of the physical world we can access with our five senses and that the brain is the interface between these two worlds. I wrote about this in my essay "The Synthesis of Metaphysics and Jungian Personality Theory".
The first game I played was called "Spider" and it was for the Commodore 64. Games that made a lasting impression on me include the Super Mario saga, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Legend of Zelda - A Link to the Past, the Shining Force series, Landstalker, Terranigma, and Civilization. I like complex games with evolving characters and an interesting storyline. My absolute favourite game is Shining Force 2 for the Sega Mega Drive. I especially like that you can use items to change the direction into which your characters develop. The Sega Mega Drive is also my favourite video gaming console. With its elegant design, it is superior to most of the modern consoles.
I became a regular writer for the commercial papermag PC-Heimwerker after discovering it in 1995. This magazine also contained advertisements for some diskmags and so I got to know the world of diskmags. At the beginning I wanted to only support existing diskmags with articles instead of founding my own one. But when I got contacted by Kaktus who wanted to make his own diskmag and I coded a graphical user interface for him, I was made co-editor of a diskmag, which was called Hugendubelexpress or short Hugi. In total I spent 18 years making the Hugi diskmag. It was a very focused period in my life, especially when I was still attending high school. I thought of nothing but the work on my diskmag. The work on my diskmag was the content of my life.
Politics is also an area that fascinated me for some time. Basically Austria has made a transition from a monarchy over various forms of dictatorship to a democratic republic. The same goes for many other countries. While in a monarchy the royal family is the owner of the country, in a republic politics is a "public thing" and everybody is allowed to run for elections. In times of peace life is dominated by business. My view of capitalism is that it is not a system but the natural state of things. While liberal parties want to leave the natural state of things as it is, other parties want to exert influence on the economy in order to tame it and move it into a direction. Ordinary citizens have no other choice than to adapt to the socio-economic system we are living in and make the best of the situation.
The first computer game I developed was called "The Bad Bat". I made it in 1993 and it was an action game written in Quick Basic. The game featured two modes: You either played a bat and had to evade the shooters' attempts to kill you or you played a shooter. The graphics were in text-mode.
After a few minor projects I implemented the adventure games "Tyrwago in Astrein World" and "Die Reise zum Mond". The former even had VGA graphics. I distributed these games among my fellow students at school.
From 1996 on I was making the Hugi Magazine and focused on writing and editing. My personal standards of quality were high and the games I had made so far did not match these standards, so I did not waste time making more games in those days. I resumed game development in 2008 when I coded a remake of the battle engine of Shining Force 2 using Visual C# and XNA Game Studio. This was the basis of Mega Force and Mega Force 2; I spent eight months working on it. Afterwards I made a couple of smaller games including Adok's Magic Cube and Adok's Number Maze using Visual C++ and OpenGL.
The first serious intelligence test I took was the Mensa admission test. Without having prepared for the test I scored high enough to be allowed to join Mensa. After that I took many tests on the Internet as I wanted to find out into what range my IQ falls. My top performance was in the "Equally Normed Numerical Derivation Test" where I was the third best participant in the beta session of the test and my IQ score was estimated to be 172. In most intelligence tests I reached slightly lower scores, mostly in the IQ 150 - 160 range. That means that I belong to the top 0.1 percent of the population. Despite that my thinking is not perfect and I make far too many mistakes to be happy about it.
IQ Tests where I scored in the IQ 150 - 160 range:
I was a math prodigy, mastering calculus at age eight. In addition I was good at learning languages and writing essays. These two talents overshadowed the fact that I am not good at memorizing texts, which did not play a big role at school but later at university when studying medicine. My way of studying is: I read a text, understand the concepts and memorize the facts that have caught my interest. The rest I forget. With this strategy I managed to complete medical school but not with very good grades while I graduated with distinction from computer science school. A notable fact is also that I had a straight-A record in the last year of high school.
The first programming language I used was BASIC 2.0 on the Commodore 64. I started teaching myself Basic when I was eight years old. When I switched to PC I used QBasic, Quick Basic and Power Basic. At age eleven I started learning C and x86 Assembler. When I was fourteen years old I won first place at an x86 Assembler size-optimizing contest.
Afterwards I learned PHP, C++, C#, Java, and Scala. Nowadays I mostly program using C#.
After completing my medical degree I was a member of the late Dr. Uwe Rohr's research group. We investigated the role of steroidal hormones in severe mental disorders, infectious diseases and cancer. My ambition was to obtain a Habilitation degree. Unfortunately, Dr. Rohr died in 2016 and so I had to stop my scientific work. In 2018 I published a follow-up paper on the Internet, called Symbiont Conversion Theory.
As a software engineer I spent five years at the company Kornicki where I continued the development of the thermal bridge calculation software AnTherm. I enjoyed working at Kornicki very much since I was confronted with intellectually challenging tasks every day. Nowadays I am working at TeDaLoS, which is also a nice place to work at.
For any questions feel free to contact Claus D. Volko at cdvolko (at) gmail (dot) com.
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