Arts and Crafts

Puttypeg Home Page


This is the personal website of Dominic Widdows. It contains a range of music, poetry, science, essays, and so on.

Professionally speaking I've worked mainly in mathematics, science, and software engineering, and now I'm contributing to quantum computing and artificial intelligence at IonQ.

Once upon a time, I thought that "Puttypeg" was a sweet name for an approach to life and learning that tried to grow as flexibly as possible. It's said that "you can't put a square peg in a round hole", and nowadays the challenges in the world are changing so fast, we need adaptible people to fit into whatever gaps need attention. So I don't try and be a square peg or a round peg the whole time, I try to be a putty peg and look for ways to make myself and my skills useful wherever they're needed most.

Needless to say, none of the material you'll read on this website represents the official standpoint of LivePerson, Grab, Microsoft, Google, the BBC, Bourbaki, or anyone else with a shred of organizational clout.


Lots of contributions can be found in this reasonably complete list of papers. Not all as readable as I'd have liked!

My most popular scientific work is still Geometry and Meaning. For once, I could try to please everyone, including myself — many general readers have written to me or reviewed the book saing they enjoyed it thoroughly, while several professionals reviewers praised the book in important journals.

Public Software

I shouldn't even link to these, but here are some terrible jokes.


A collection of a few essays on different topics, including healthcare, politics, and religion.


You'll find a couple of songs and some useful guitar chord sheets.

Back in Pittsburgh I enjoyed playing the trumpet with Khafif, a terrific Middle Eastern and Balkan music and dance group.

Another collaborator in Pittburgh was Brent Malin, who I played a variety of folk and country songs with for a couple of years, including a guitar and mandolin duo at Club Cafe.

Arts and Crafts

Software development and academic research are enjoyable in their way, but there is nothing I find more satisfying than working with my hands. We're restored the ground floor of our Tudor style house in Squirrel Hill, and made furniture, curtains, laid wood floor, panelled and finished the rooms. I always mean to take pictures of these projects before and during and after, and mean to post them online. But give me a circular saw to play with and I won't touch a computer all day.

One project I did keep a good record of was when Maryl and I made our wedding rings.


Here are a couple of poems.

We also set up a sporadic Pittsburgh poetry group at work. It evolved accidentally into a collaborative process: the players contribute a topic idea each, and then we go off for a few days and write a poem, somehow including at least three or four of the topics. The challenge of combining other people's ideas into a new poem has brought out some great variety and creativity.


I keep an occasional weblog for a couple of years called Home Brewed Bulletins, which you can read at There is a more tech-oriented blog at

Kit's Funeral, December 2007

My father Kit is still ever-present for many of us, and crops up unexectedly at times for many more. Information about the Funeral and Thanksgiving Service for the Life of Kit Widdows can be found at


You can contact me with any feedback or suggestions by writing to dwiddows at gmail dot com.
(Please supply the usual symbols instead of the 'at' and 'dot' - the cryptic notation is just a token gesture to avoid getting the address harvested by spam engines.)

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