Claus D. Volko - Biographical Notes

I was born in October 1983 in Vienna, the son of a teacher and an engineer. Vienna has always been the center of my life: I grew up here, attended school, studied, and now I work in Vienna. For the first eleven years of my life I lived in Baumgarten in the 14th district before we moved to Inzersdorf in the 23rd district. When I was little, we often traveled on vacation, with trips taking us to places like the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, we spent our vacations mainly with relatives of my father in Slovakia near Altsohl (Zvolen). This gave me an early impression of the poor conditions under which people had to live under socialism, and from this I developed a basic economic liberal attitude.

I never had any difficulties at school. Mainly I owe this to my good eye for spelling and my talent for mathematics. Anno 1997 I took part in the "7th Viennese Mathematics and Thinking Contest" and reached the second place of 149 participants - only one participant had all tasks correctly, I had unfortunately miscalculated with an example, although my solution approach had been correct. My math teacher considered me "gifted" from that time on. I later had this diagnosis verified by an intelligence test. My IQ is probably around percentile 99.7, which means that out of a thousand randomly selected people, only three are as intelligent as I am or even more intelligent. However, pure learning of texts was not one of my strengths. Since the tests at school were not as strict as later at university, I did not experience any disadvantage due to my "weakness in memorization" at school. I was really weak only in gymnastics. But there again, generosity was shown in the performance assessment, and so I was always a top student from the first grade of elementary school to the eighth grade of high school. I passed the Matura with a grade point average of 1.0; I also got straight A's in my eighth grade report card.

Shortly before I started school, my father noticed that I liked playing with pocket computers and decided without further ado to buy me a computer. So I got my Commodore 64 a week before school started. My activities were not limited to playing games. I also read computer magazines and thought up my own games, sketching them out on paper. When I was eight years old, I wanted to start implementing my ideas. With this motivation I taught myself programming in BASIC by reading magazine articles and books. I was purely self-taught and had no mentor. Nobody helped me or gave me tips. I learned everything from scratch. I was supported by my father only in mathematics: Already in the elementary school time I solved tasks from the material of the grammar school, and as an eight-year-old I already mastered the differential calculation thanks to my father.

When I was eleven, my father brought home an issue of the magazine "Der PC-Heimwerker", which was designed by the readers themselves. Since I liked to write, from then on I actively participated in this magazine and subsequently made pen pals with other authors. We exchanged floppy disks with self-written programs and free software by mail. One of my pen pals had contacts to the demoscene, and so I received my first demos and intros. I was most fascinated by diskmags - electronic magazines with graphical user interfaces programmed by editorial staff members themselves. I remember well my first issues of Blackmail, Platinum, Skyline, HotMag, MicroCode and Suicide. These mags were not thematically focused on the demoscene, but covered a broader range of topics, up to and including politics. I believe that the opinions expressed in these magazines have influenced my thinking to this day. In the mags of the demoscene, like Imphobia, Scenial or Daskmig, I found the graphic design very impressive, as well as the musical background, but the content was still relatively monotonous.

Due to my work for PC-Heimwerker it happened that I got mail from a boy from Halle an der Saale who wanted to make his own diskmag and was looking for someone who could program a graphical user interface for him. I gladly did him this favor, and as a thank you he appointed me as co-editor of the new diskmag. Thus the Hugendubelexpress was born, later simply called Hugi. I published this magazine for a total of eighteen years, having the greatest success with it in the years 1998 to 2001, when there was a vacuum in the demoscene due to the discontinuation of Imphobia, which I was able to fill with Hugi. Unfortunately, the work on Hugi was very time-consuming, and so I hardly got to program at first - I had become a "Diskmag Editor". Many people know me from this time as a pure type person and don't know that I can also program. Yet I took first place in a programming contest organized by diskmag Pain in April 1998, and then organized 29 similar contests myself, the "Hugi Size Coding Competitions".

After graduating from high school, I had a brief period of uncertainty and didn't know what I wanted out of life. My father took advantage of this to get me to enroll in medical school. From my previous background, you certainly can't see any sign that I was interested in medicine. In fact, at first I thought I wouldn't make it through medical school anyway, because you have to learn so much by heart, which I'm not good at. As time went by, however, it became apparent that I was better than I had thought. I passed the first three sub-rigoroses - chemistry, physics and biology - with the highest grade ("very good"). I only had difficulties in anatomy and later in pathology, where you had to remember everything in detail. In the further course of my studies, my grades were not as good as at the beginning. Nevertheless, I made good progress, even though there were fellow students who were much faster, and one with whom I was good friends even got his doctorate after only seven semesters. However, since I realized that as a general practitioner after graduation, one is judged primarily by one's manual dexterity in drawing blood, and that was a weak point of mine, I enrolled in medical informatics as a second degree program at the beginning of the fourth year. After completing the bachelor's degree, I went on to complete the master's degree in computational intelligence because it gave me the opportunity to specialize in what really interested me about computer science - namely algorithms, logic, and theoretical computer science. I ended up completing the master's program around the same time as medical school.

During my studies, I created a few computer games, including "Adok's Magic Cube" and "Adok's Number Maze". I took half a year off from my studies to work on a remake of the battle engine from Shining Force 2. Based on this engine I then developed my own tactical role-playing game "Mega Force". I also tried my hand as a democoder and took part in a demo party in Germany with the 256 byte intro "Indian Summer". Several successors of "Indian Summer" appeared in the following years. I processed another graphic effect to the demo "Ruky hore, gate dole", which I released at a demo party in Slovakia.

While I was starting to earn my living as a software developer, I met regularly with Dr. Uwe Rohr, who has now sadly passed away, to do some scientific work together. This resulted, among other things, in the publication "Model approach for stress induced steroidal hormone cascade changes in severe mental diseases". Later, I generalized Dr. Rohr's approach of converting cancer cells into functional tissue by exposure to hormones and developed the "Symbiont Conversion Theory". I am also particularly proud of the 2018 essay "The Synthesis of Metaphysics and Jungian Personality Theory", in which I argue conclusively why, in addition to the physical world we can perceive with our sense organs, there is also a world of dreams, thoughts, and ideas.

I spent five years of my professional life at the Kornicki company, where I was responsible, among other things, for the further development of the AnTherm thermal bridge program. I implemented a simplified way to enter slopes and curves, as well as an algorithm that scans the surface of a room to show the progression of surface temperatures, and a mesh voxelizer for importing three-dimensional objects created with CAD programs. Also, in my current professional position, I use Visual C# to develop software. On the other hand, I no longer need the medical knowledge I painstakingly acquired during my studies, and I keep blaming myself for being so compliant with my father back then and letting him talk me into studying medicine.

Contact

For any questions feel free to contact Claus D. Volko at cdvolko (at) gmail (dot) com.

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