Jeff Newmiller

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Work Information

What I Do

I am a "Principal Engineer" with DNVGL, an engineering consulting firm based in Oslo, Norway, and I work in their Oakland, California office on projects involving photovoltaic power (solar electric power systems). DNVGL acquired BEW Engineering in 2010 in order to build their knowledge base in solar power. Before that I worked for Endecon Engineering as a "Research Engineer", working on performance measurement and analysis tasks. and a long time ago I used to work for the Aerojet Propulsion Division of Gencorp in Sacramento as a "Design Engineer" designing digital (computerized) rocket engine controllers.

My Educational Background

My parents moved a lot during my elementary school years, and I ended up going to around thirteen different elementary schools, with a couple years of home-schooling in there as well. I skipped high school (attending a continuation school for six months) and went to Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa, California when I was 17. That was where I first encountered a microcomputer (Apple II+) and quickly started learning how to make it do what I wanted with Basic, Pascal and assembly language. I had decided I wanted to be a Solar Engineer when I was 12, but ended up settling for Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Davis. I received my BS in 1986, and went for my MS on a project to build a belt-pack data acquisition computer for bio-mechanical studies (bicycling and skiing). I finally graduated in December of 1989.

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Contact Information

My personal email address , and my work email address .

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Current Projects

Identification of capacity degradation in historical PV power plant data

PV power plant operating data includes many operational deviations not related to plant capacity, but prospective plant owners are very interested in knowing how plant capacity can be expected to change over time. I have been working on analytical methods to extract long-term plant capacity trends.

Independent Engineering

I also comment on designs and work with other engineers to identify key energy production modelling assumptions for institutional investors in solar power generation facilities.

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Personal Interests

Juggling

My ex-wife Katje started juggling when she was in high school. For years I watched her juggle, but I could not get the hang of it and never really thought I would be able to (I can only see out of one eye). Then, in November 1996 I saw the Karamazov Brothers perform a show on Juggling and Music and was amazed. Also, about that time I saw a PBS documentary on Michael Moschen, and was inspired to try harder. Since success in juggling simply involves throwing reasonably accurately, I overcame my vision problem through repetition. Since then, I have learned various three-ball patterns (Mill's Mess, Burke's Barrage) and three-club juggling (working on Mills Mess), and various club passing patterns. Performing is not my purpose in this hobby... I am just continually amazed that I can do it at all, and am thrilled when I get a chance to teach it to someone else. I would like to thank Mike Brown and Monica Buck for their support and encouragement. They are both great jugglers, and Mike has a rare talent for breaking motions down until even I can understand them.

Guitar

I started playing guitar when I was about seven, since my dad refused to get me drums. When I attended Alta Vista Junior High in Agua Caliente, California, I took a guitar class that got me started on fingerstyle guitar, and that has remained an interest ever since.

Samples: Fisherman (very quiet), and Freight Train.

Go

This is an ancient (2000-4000 years old) board game with complexity similar to chess, but a very different flavor. I first heard of this game in a book called Shibumi, by Trevanian, when I was about 15. I found a Go board, with pieces and a book, in an attic of a house my dad was renting when I was about 17. I finally found people to play with in Davis sometime around 1988. These days I mostly fit in a few moves per day on the turn-based Dragon Go Server.

Puzzles

I enjoy the challenge of solving engineering and mathematical word problems, as well as manipulaton (tinker's) puzzles. I have also played around with cryptic crosswords and sudoku (sample solutions for fairly difficult problem and a very difficult problem).

Occasionally I like to explore odd topics... obsolete alternating current systems, and Tau Beta Pi Brain Ticklers are a couple.

Family

I have five kids (Cordell (b. '88), Julia (b. '90), and Clayton (b. '94) from my first marriage). My wife Jeanette brought Veronica and Avery to the party.

Linux

The versatility and capability of this computer operating system impress me. As a Macintosh and Windows user, I find that much of it is ad-hoc and difficult to maintain, but as someone who implements automated systems I admire its power. I regularly use it as a problem-solving tool.

R

I spend a lot of my time analyzing data, and the R programming language and interactive data analysis environment provides support for many data manipulation tasks I used to do separately in Excel, Perl, and SQL. R provides thousands of statistical, graphical and text processing functions, as well as supporting the creation of new tools via coding. R is multi-platform, working equally well on Windows, MacOSX and various flavors of Linux. It plays well calling C, C++ and Fortran functions from legacy software. It can even be used from within SQL Server, and Microsoft offers a packaged version of R with licensed Intel MKS numerical libraries. It can be used in conjunction with LaTeX or Pandoc to create reproducible research reports. It does not, however, support the creation of standalone executable software packages like C++, Perl or Python can.

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Last Revised: 8 December 2018.