Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens.
-- Duke Leto Atreides, Dune
This past week, after nine and a half years with CSAIL and its predecessor, LCS, I announced my resignation. I prefer, however, the term "graduation." I've been with CSAIL for its entire history, and for my entire professional career. I started work at LCS in 2000, while still an undergrad at Northeastern. When the need to build an infrastructure from scratch presented itself with the formation of CSAIL, my group merged with its counterpart from the AI Lab to form TIG, and we set to work. With what I believe were very limited resources, particularly on the personnel front, we accomplished what I believe was a small miracle when we coordinated the new Lab's move to the Stata Center while also redefining how computers would be used and managed at the Lab in the coming years. In the time since then, I have worked on numerous projects within TIG, ranging from email service to GNU/Linux installation systems.
Preparing the Lab for life after my departure has been interesting. It's not the sort of thing I have any experience with. Every once in a while, when talking about long-term plans for some service or system, it will occur to me that I won't be here to see those plans to fruition. When interviewing candidates for the two open positions within TIG, I'll occasionally have to stop and remind myself that the candidates won't end up being my coworkers, but rather my successors. It's hard to come to grips with the thought of leaving behind a lot of things that I've built and maintained for years, to say nothing of the relationships that I've (slowly) cultivated with my coworkers and other CSAIL members.
It's been observed countless times over the years that one never really leaves CSAIL. Once the Lab gets its hooks into you, it doesn't let go easily. Whatever that means for me personally remains to be seen, but no matter what happens, you'll never be able to get all of me out of the Lab, or all of the Lab out of me.
My first day at LCS was August 14, 2000. My last day at CSAIL will be January 29, 2010. Next stop, sunny California.