Brussels / 31 January & 1 February 2015


Tom Van Baak

Photo of Tom Van Baak

Tom Van Baak is a software engineer by profession but now spends his time playing with Time. He shares his home with wife and kids along with hundreds of quartz oscillators, GPS receivers, frequency comparators, time interval counters, and atomic clocks.

Although educated in physics and mathematics he turned to the dark side and ended up with a 30-year career as an operating system developer; from mainframes (GCOS), to Silicon Valley (UNIX), to the valley obscured by clouds, Redmond, Washington (Windows NT). His first high-level language was B; his current high level language is C. He looks forward to learning D.

His early work with computing pi and Mersenne primes, over exposure to low-level operating system waste, and listening to the first leap second on a summer afternoon in 1972 contributed to his catching "the time bug". At the beginning of the internet surplus electronics market, he began collecting scientific instruments related to precise time. In 1999 he started to document his experiments, and then created the time-nuts mailing list to share his passion with other like-minded persons around with world who also had the time disease. They are a sick lot: eating nanoseconds for breakfast, comparing clocks at dinner, drinking with frequency, and generally having a good time.



Title Day Room Track Start End
Precise time: from CPU clocks to hacking the Universe
Adventures of a time nut
Sunday K.1.105 (La Fontaine) Time 12:00 12:50