Bonjour! My name is Jan-Philip Gehrcke. This is my personal website.
About me: I am curious. I like to understand what surrounds me and what’s within me. I prefer to think slowly. Photography and music mean a lot to me. I hold a PhD in physics and follow my passion for software engineering. I think that knowledge is power, and that knowing when you don’t know enough can be even more powerful. I believe in the scientific method, in collaboration, and in open source initiatives.
I have shared thoughts here on my website for the last ~15 years. Nowadays, I am not always proud of some of the content published by my past self. However, I am grateful that I overcame my fear of exposure. I learned a lot by doing so. Today, I feel like I would like to continue sharing some of my thoughts here. I want to write for myself.
In the following paragraphs I try to describe my earlier trajectory through the science-technology space.
Between 2005 and 2010 I got my physics education at University Würzburg. My M.Sc. research focus was on Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI), in one of the pioneering research groups. In 2008, I started collaborating with the ATLAS (LHC/CERN) people to explore how infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing can be used in particle physics — this was a highly influential software engineering deep-dive for me, also leading to my Google Summer of Code project.
In 2011 to 2015 I did my PhD work in the field of computational biophysics, as part of the Dresden International PhD Program, supported by the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes with a doctoral scholarship. I used high-performance computing and developed novel in-silico methods to help better understand how certain proteins interact with certain sugar molecules. My desk was my lab. Molecular dynamics simulations were my most important tool. After all, I contributed tiny tiny puzzle pieces towards better therapy for auto-immune diseases, and I am proud of that. If you’d like to read on, maybe peak into our article titled Identification and characterization of a glycosaminoglycan binding site on interleukin-10 via molecular simulation methods. In these years, I was mentored by and collaborated with so many wonderful people — thanks!
After defending my PhD, I was eager to do software engineering full-time. So I spent four years working at D2iQ (formerly Mesosphere). We did pioneering work in the field of container orchestration: our product DC/OS was the first to enable organizations to run containerized production workloads at scale, securely. Our customers included Fortune 50 companies and government agencies. This was a wild ride. I led the implementation and maintenance of core software components, and had the honor to grow and lead our security engineering team. I contributed creative solutions for landing and securing big contracts, and learned so much in the space of security and distributed systems. I helped with larger initiatives around quality assurance, developer productivity, and release notes. I also took on responsibilities as people manager, product owner, and as founding member of what we called ‘technical architecture group’. I got to meet and work with so many kind and talented people. Some of those connections grew to be strong bonds, and I am incredibly grateful for that.
After leaving D2iQ in 2019, I joined Opstrace as founding engineer. We had a cute octopus in our company branding 🐙 and built a novel type of product — a secure-by-default cloud-native observability platform. We launched with success and got acquired by the fine people at GitLab by the end of 2021.
In 2022, I decided to join Voltron Data‘s mission. I am joining an incredible team doing engineering work on software that is at the heart of big data exchange — for faster, more efficient information transfer between system components. Somewhere at the peak of the technology pyramid, affecting a plethora of downstream systems in the data science ecosystem.
Some social media profiles: