In 1999, which now feels like a very long time ago, I finished my PhD thesis at MIT. I had started working on it following my general exams in 1996 but promptly got very busy co-founding a company (the now defunct W3Health — a story for another day). Running a startup during the week, working on a dissertation on weekends and commuting between Boston and New York is not something I would recommend to anybody. In fact, the acknowledgments to my thesis conclude with:
Most of all, I would like to thank my wife Susan Danziger who is an inspiration for everything I do and whose patience finally ran out and made me finish this thesis.
There were many times when I thought I should simply call it quits on the thesis, but the German in me couldn’t let go. And thanks to Susan giving me a big push it got done. Thanks again!
In retrospect I have been happy to have finished my thesis, which takes the form of three separate papers. My only regret has been that I didn’t have the time to polish the papers sufficiently to submit them for publication. As a result they have been rotting in the archives at MIT. A while back I finally decided to get a scan and then paid a firm to convert them to HTML.
So now many years later I have published my thesis online. Over the next few weeks I will re-read each paper and publish a brief summary as a blog post. If you are curious you can go ahead and start reading now.
P.S. I have already discovered and fixed some conversion errors but surely there are more.