Io is Zwets is Marco van Zwetselaar. For many years1 my digital namespace has been I am still there but have forked the coder part of my identity to Not so much for the blogging, more for the convenience of having a corner of the internet to keep things on.

So who is

My wife and I use to blog about our life and work in Moshi, Tanzania. She is a neurologist at KCMC Hospital. I work as a software programmer and bioinformatician at the associated Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI).

And who is

My professional career started in academic research somewhere in the past millennium. Then there was a twenty year stint in commercial IT (details on LinkedIn or in my curriculum vitae). Now I am back in research, thoroughly enjoying doing the bioinformatics for our genomics unit at KCRI. Our main line of work over the past years has been bacterial whole genome sequencing, focusing on antibiotic resistance. We are now expanding into viral sequencing, metagenomics (human and chimp gut microbiome), and targeted human and malaria sequencing.

Io is a programmer

I have worked in a variety of fields, but there is a prominent constant: programming. I love it.

I must have typed my first line of BASIC around 1979, on a Philips P2000. Then came Pascal and LISP in the 80s – as well as an obscure DBase3 language which is all but lost in the haze. I spent the 90/00s professionally cranking out mlocs of C, C++ and Java, with a painful intermezzo of VB+ASP, and some pleasant sidesteps into Prolog, Smalltalk and Erlang. Also XSLT needs mention, the one bright light in the dark ages of XML. Then there were Javascript, Ruby, and recreational excursions to the likes of Newspeak, Pure, Coq and Parallel Brainfuck.

My current day to day languages are Bash/GNU, Python, R, and C/C++, with side-projects in Haskell, Java, and Scheme/Guile (for GNU/Guix).2

Why IO?

I started this site when I found out that I could conveniently host so-called “GitHub Pages” at, while using a domain name of my own. The io from stuck, and apart from it being fitting in a geeky way, you can ask any Italian why io makes sense.

  1. I remember the day the Internet Archive made its existence known. We thought it was a joke but it had already spent 5 years archiving pages, resulting in the then gargantuan volume of 10 billion pages, 100TB. Apart from a fun stroll down memory lane, the WaybackMachine / Internet Archive provides the useful service of on-demand archiving of copies of web pages, so you can reliably cite them for later referral. 

  2. Note to self: write-up on the not-so-pleasant languages and platforms whose memories I’m staunchly repressing: CORBA, VB, DCOM, XSD, SOAP, …