|Alma mater||Texas A&M|
Contributions to Life
He created hlife, a Life simulator implementing Gosper's HashLife algorithm, and used it to simulate metacatacryst for 2^130 generations and track its population, providing strong empirical evidence that metacatacryst grows quadratically. He incorporated his hlife algorithm into Golly along with a 256-state generalisation thereof.
He ran some preliminary experiments to find almost knightships using incremental SAT solvers. In this manner, he discovered four new almost knightships, one of which contained a partial which was later extended by ikpx to form the first genuine elementary knightship, Sir Robin.
Software and programming
During his time at Stanford, Rokicki worked with Donald Knuth on the TeX project, writing the AmigaTeX and dvips programs. The former was accomplished semi-automatically by firstly writing a transpiler, web2c, to convert Knuth's WEB literate programming system (based on Pascal) into C.
He later founded a startup, Instantis, which was subsequently sold to Oracle (where he continued to work until April 2017).
More recreationally, Rokicki is prolific on the competitive programming scene, being sextuple winner of Al Zimmermann's Programming Contests and one of only 14 (at the time of writing) people to have solved every problem on Project Euler.
Using Hashlife algorithms, he has successfully determined the long-term behaviour of previously unsolved species of Paterson's Worms (collaboratively with Ben Chaffin), leaving just one super-chaotic worm remaining. He also used an exhaustive computer search to prove that every state of the Rubik's cube can be returned to the solved state in 20 or fewer moves. This was based on his earlier record of 25 moves, but with more computational power. He has also proven that this is possible with 29 or fewer quarter-turns (the above figure includes half-turns).