Alex Schaap received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in the Netherlands in 2013. After returning to Canada he continued his studies, doing a Master’s degree in Software Engineering at McMaster University. He is currently part of Leadership in Automotive Powertrain (LEAP) project. His research interests include the application of generative programming techniques and functional programming languages, but also proper software engineering as a whole.
Born in the Netherlands, Alex developed interest in technology in his elementary school years, stimulated by his father who is a civil engineer. Once settled in Canada, he picked up interest in computers and software. He built his first operational website at the age of twelve and participated in the Canada-Wide Science Fair in 2005 in Vancouver BC with a solar energy optimization application. He took programming classes and became acquainted with Linux while attending high school. Based on his Montessori education he was able to develop himself rapidly, learning about both computer hardware and software. He finished his Bachelor’s degree (BSc) in Computer Science in 2013, writing a thesis on aspects of the popular Internet anonymity software TOR (The Onion Router) related to its message routing mechanism.
Alex continued with a Master’s of Applied Science (MASc) Software Engineering at McMaster University in 2014, participating in the Leadership in Automotive Powertrain (LEAP) research project under the McMaster Centre for Software Certification (McSCert). This enabled Alex to use his computer skills and knowledge of alternative software and programming languages, applied in a more practical way. The collaboration with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) through the LEAP project has provided the unique opportunity to gain invaluable insight into the automobile industry. For his Master’s thesis he applies generative programming techniques in order to optimize the performance of both software and programmers. Alex aspires to start a PhD in Software Engineering in 2016, participating in the same research project. His target is to obtain this degree in the next four years and to grow into a research position in an academic environment.
When not working on his research project Alex plays classical piano, does some drawing and develops 3D models. He has become a knowledgeable user of the Linux operating system. He also has a keen interest in the Chinese culture and language, he practices Tai-Chi and spent seven months in Taiwan studying Mandarin Chinese in Taipei in 2011, learning the basics of the language and becoming an able calligrapher.