Computer Programming

Gabhan Berry, Computer Programmer and amateur artist

For more than twenty years, I have been a programmer; working through the rise of the Internet, then that of mobile devices and, now, of cloud computing. Like many programmers of my generation, I first began programming as a teenager and, all these years later, I still love to be creative with computer code. Mathematics, however, was where I focused my formal education and, as a result, I have a somewhat mathematical approach to programming. In particular, I have always enjoyed using aspects of Graph Theory and Set Theory.

It was at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland where I read Mathematics, focusing on topics in pure mathematics. My thesis was on Differentiation and the Absolute Continuity of Functions, which is a part of Calculus.

Throughout my career, I have worked on a variety of interesting technical problems, including: a word processing engine; a spreadsheet engine with an accompanying interpreted programming language; an in-memory database for storing and querying multi-dimensional data (aka "cubes"); a proprietary TCP/IP client-server file transfer service; and a statistical calculation web service for predicting the risk and returns of pension funds.

Originally from Scotland, I now live with my wife and daughter in the Pacific Northwest region of America, where I work as a programmer at Apple. I am one of the programmers of the word processing engine underlying the iWork suite of applications, running on both MacOS and iOS.

The first programming language I learnt was Turbo Pascal running on a BBC Master computer (which had a 2MHz processor and 128KB of RAM; a far cry from what is in my Apple Watch, never mind my Mac). However C, Objective-C and C++ have been the languages I have used most and with which I am the most comfortable.

PS - In case you are wondering how to pronounce my name, the "bh" is pronounced like a "v". My name is the Scottish Gaelic spelling of the name "Gavin".


I am an amateur artist, working with acrylic paint on canvas and charcoal on paper. I tend to focus on figurative and portrait work, trying to create pieces that have relatively simple but engaging compositions, colours and lighting.

You can see some of my paintings and drawings here.

I feel that I am influenced by many painters, spanning a variety of styles and periods; from Renaissance times to the modern day. I especially love the work of John Singer Sargent and that of the French Impressionists, especially Claude Monet and Edgar Degas. The contempary American master Richard Schmidt and the British portrait painter Jonathan Yeo are two modern painters whom have had a big influence on how I approach painting.

Heavy body acrylic paints, produced by the English company Winsor and Newton, are my paints of choice. I employ a limited palette of colours which consists solely of: French Ultramarine Blue, Pyrrole Red, Naples Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Lemon Yellow, Burnt Umber and Titanium White. Limited colour palette I find that using a limited palette really simplifies colour matching. By having only a handful of colours, I can get to know how each of them mixes with each of the others. I have also found that achieving a tonal harmony in your painting seems to be easier when using a limited palette. But, I am by no means an expert.

My favourite brushes are the Spanish Escoda Clásico Bristle brushes. These brushes are simply fabulous, both in terms of how they feel in your hand and how they apply paint to a canvas. Bristle brushes are traditionally used for oil painting, but I use them with acrylics because they enable me to create a wide variety of brush strokes. Something which I haven't found to be true with other brushes.