About

Hi! I am João Fernando Ferreira, a researcher in Computer Science, currently working at Teesside University, in England. I am Portuguese (from Braga), but I live in England since January 2006. In 2010, I finished a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham and I moved to the Teesside area in 2011. The focus of my research is on mathematical approaches to software quality. I am particularly interested in program construction and verification. If you want to find out more about my research, visit my research page. You can also find more about my professional background in my LinkedIn profile.

I use this website to publish short technical notes on programming, algorithms, and calculational mathematics. All my published papers can be found here, too.

If you want to contact me, you can use my email address: joao at joaoff dot com

Pronouncing João (约恩)

Non-portuguese speakers usually have problems pronouncing my name, so I have uploaded the sound of a portuguese journalist saying “João Ferreira”. To listen to it, follow the link: Sound clip: pronouncing João Ferreira.

I also found the following reasonable textual explanation written by boquinha-ga on Google answers:

Let’s start with the first letter. In Portuguese, unlike Spanish, the “J” is pronounced in a way similar (but not exactly) to how we say it in English. In English, we really “hit” the “J” sound in words like jug, jar, and, yes, even John. In Portuguese, the “J” is pronounced in a slightly softer way (your tongue sort of hits the back of your teeth when you pronounce it in English, but the Portuguese pronunciation has you holding your tongue behind your teeth for a little bit longer) and sounds like the first sound you hear in the name Zsa Zsa (as in Gabor). When you say Zsa Zsa’s name, just say the “Zs” part out loud (don’t pronounce the “a”) and keep making that sound. You’ve just said the Portuguese “J” sound. (You should see me sitting here at my computer and saying these sounds over and over again and thinking about how to spell them!)

You go right into the next sound in “João.” Keep making that “Zs” (as in Zsa Zsa) sound and go right into a “wuh” sound (like the very first “wuh” sound in the word “wonder”). So now you have Zs + wuh . . .

. . . and from those sounds, you go right into the next sound (like a cute phonetic train). Your next sound sort of starts in the middle of that “wuh” sound (and here’s where it gets nasally—the tilde over the “a” is your clue for that)—and goes right into a VERY nasally “ow” sound that almost sounds like the “ow” in the English word “gown.” You really open your mouth wider for that “ow” part. And you sort of swallow the “w” so that you hardly hear it. Your lips form the “w” but you don’t really pronounce it. It’s sort of how you wrap up the word nicely, if that makes any sense. See? This is very tricky!

So, you put it all together (like cars of a train) and you’ve got “Zs” (as in Zsa Zsa) + “wuh” (as in wonder) + “ow” (as in gown). Zs + wuh + ow.

Here is a link from Merriam Webster with an audio sound for you to hear to help you have an idea how to pronounce it: http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/joao

They list the pronunciation as: zhwaun (the n should be a superscripted n).

Note: if you can’t pronounce my name, don’t worry. My pronunciation skills are probably worse than yours :-)

Also, according to my friend Wei Chen, my chinese name is something like 约恩.

Personal information

Besides programming and mathematics, I am interested in libertarianism, photography, cinema, philately, and traveling. I sometimes write about these topics on Twitter and Facebook. I live with my lovely wife Alexandra, who is also interested in computing. Here’s a picture of us together:

Joao and Alexandra, Quebec, MPC 2010

João and Alexandra, Québec, MPC 2010

In August 2011, we adopted Sky, a 5-year German Shorthaired Pointer. She was left at Dogs Trust with breast cancer; the tumour was extracted and she seems to be recovering well. Here’s a photo:

Sky, September 2011

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