Sean Patrick Hannifin
Sean Patrick Hannifin (born November 1985) is an American composer, writer, and programmer.
Hannifin was born on November 25, 1985 in Rantoul, Illinois. His family soon moved to Alaska, then to Spotsylvania County, Virginia in the late 1980's, where Hannifin has lived for the past 20-something years. He has siblings, but information on such matters is strictly classified to protect the innocent.
Although Hannifin received decent grades in school, he hated going, and continues to be a critic of most formal education systems. "School often gets in the way of a good education," he said once. What a genius he must be to have said that.
In 2000, Hannifin attended Chancellor High School and was also admitted to Commonwealth Governor's School, which was designed to be for smart people, but dumb people were also allowed in to prevent favoritism. In high school, Hannifin took part in the Latin Club, even though he had a terrible grasp of Latin. He also joined the Chess Club and played in local high school chess tournaments, earning an astounding five trophies which still sit proudly on a shelf. He achieved a US Chess Federation rating of 1199, though he considered the half-hour time limit that most high school tournaments used to be far too short. He preferred games that were at least several hours long. From 2003 to 2004, Hannifin served as the Captain of the Chess Team, which meant, according to him, "not much at all." Hannifin was also admitted into the National Honor Society in high school, which he considered to be "a meaningless waste of time."
In 2004, Hannifin began attending George Mason University. He graduated in 2008 with a BS in Computer Science. Like his formal education before it, he hated the experience, but deeply appreciated the extensive resources of the university's academic library, where he worked for two years, and where he continued returning to even after graduating. "A long row of flooded bookshelves in an academic library is a beautiful sight," he said.
Between semesters, Hannifin would sometimes work for the Garritan Corporation. He animated hundreds of musical flash animations for several online courses, including an online version of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration book. Hannifin would also work as a webmaster, creating and maintaining websites for several local organizations and people.
After school, with no strong desire to get a real full-time job (in the field of computer science, at least), he obtained a part-time job at his local library helping patrons with computers.
In 2010, he began studying computer animation with the program Animation Mentor, with the ambition of becoming a character animator. The week after finishing the Animation Mentor program in 2012, Hannifin participated in an online master class offered by cartoon creator and producer Joe Murray, where he finalized an animated series proposal. He also stopped working at the library in 2012.
From 2012 to 2014, Hannifin worked on personal projects, including writing two middle grade fantasy novels and continuing work on his melody generation programs, but failed to generate any meaningful income from them. He quickly became disillusioned and broke.
In 2014, Hannifin found a part-time night-shift job in the packaging department of his area's local newspaper.
Although Hannifin wrote various small pieces of music throughout his childhood, he didn't begin collecting his works and making them available online until 2003, at the age of 17, when he created his website Wizard Walk. He has had no formal training in music and has yet to learn to play an instrument. Instead, he learned about music composition through personal exploration using computer software.
Hannifin has written over 60 officially numbered works, and various other smaller works, including "The Toy." He mostly composes for virtual orchestras or for small groups of instruments, such as duets, trios, and quartets. His work tends to feature simple chord progressions and melodies, heavily influenced by folk music, classical music, and film music.
For a complete list of musical works and albums, see List of compositions.
Hannifin writes mostly fantasy and science fiction. He blogs about writing at Catching a Dragon. In January 2015, he launched Morrowgrand Books to indie-publish his novels. A list of unpublished works can be found on the Unpublished works page.
- Insane Fantasy: The Crater Lands (novella 2016)
- Son of a Dark Wizard (novel 2015)
- Maker of the Twenty-first Moon (short story collection 2014)
Hannifin began programming in GW-BASIC when he was in elementary school with the initial ambition of creating computer games. In elementary school and middle school he used GW-BASIC and QuickBASIC to program small text-based games, all of which are now, unfortunately, lost. It is believed that they were probably somewhat fun.
In the summer of 2003, Hannifin programmed a small 3D game called Blockhead Wars.
In August 2008, Hannifin began working on a melody project: a computer program that generates melodies based on patterns it finds in other melodies. In 2011, he turned the program into an app for the Google Android platform, calling it Android Melody Generator. In August 2012, an online version of the Melody Generator was uploaded, until it was ruthlessly discontinued in January 2016 because Hannifin's precious dreams of world domination did not come true.
In 2011, Hannifin began roughly formulating what he called the "Grand Theory of Human Intelligence" -- or a way to explain the workings of human intelligence in such a way that Strong AI could be programmed on modern day computers. Though still in its theory stages, Hannifin is currently trying to use his theories to create a computer program that could teach itself to play any strictly rule-based game (such as chess) by learning through reasoning and experience rather than rough mathematical models (such as Bayesian analysis, neural networks, or genetic algorithms).
Strong AI Journal Entries
Hannifin keeps a journal of his Strong AI explorations.
On December 4, 2009, Hannifin launched a daily webcomic called Hannifin World, featuring mainly short jokes and stick figures.
In the early months of 2012, Hannifin worked on creating an animated series proposal for an action/adventure/comedy cartoon show targeted at 6-11 year olds. In March 2014, the proposal was submitted to Nickelodeon along with a script for a 2-minute animated short in response to Nickelodeon's open call for submissions from artists around the world for their 2014 animated shorts program. Somewhat surprisingly, Nickelodeon wasn't interested.
- Hannifin is a great great great great nephew of author Francis Hodgson Burnett. (blog post)
- Hannifin is a great nephew of author Charles R. Morris.
- Hannifin is a fourth cousin twice removed of actor Gregory Peck. (blog post)