"Jon is a true Renaissance man," said O'Reilly President and CEO Tim O'Reilly. "He's a Perl programmer extraordinaire, serious computer scientist, writer, editor, wickedly entertaining speaker, and all around big picture thinker. He's the perfect person to lead our technology initiatives and ensure that we practice what we preach."
"O'Reilly is a unique company," said Orwant. "It produces technology books of the highest caliber, and at the same time supports emergent technologies so that there are good things to write about in the future. As CTO, I'll have the opportunity to work on both books about software and software about books, and I can't imagine a more enjoyable place to do it."
Orwant received his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory Electronic Publishing Group, where his dissertation work was in automated program generation for computer games. In the course of over ten years at the Media Lab (including stints as both a Motorola Fellow and an IBM Fellow), he has spoken widely on topics as diverse as Internet gambling, statistical methods for personalization, text analysis, image processing, and the future of news.
Orwant founded The Perl Journal in 1995 and ran it single-handedly until 1999. He has served on the technical committee of all of O'Reilly's Perl conferences, where he is the creator and emcee of the Internet Quiz Show. He is the author of two books on Perl, including Mastering Algorithms with Perl, published by O'Reilly in 1999. He invented the world's first Internet stock-picking game in 1994, and his Markov-model based Rock-Paper-Scissors program has been unbeaten since 1997.
Orwant is on the advisory boards of Focalex, the Perl Mongers, and VerticalSearch.