Stamp, Mark S

Professor, Computer Science




Preferred: (408) 924-5094


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Mathematics, Texas Tech Univ, 1992
  • Bachelor of Science, Computer Science and History, Morningside College, 1986


Mark Stamp was born a long time ago in Omaha, Nebraska, in a hospital. He would have preferred to have been born in a log cabin (just like Honest Abe), but he had no choice in the matter. In his early years, his family moved frequently. Fortunately, they took young Mark with them.

Mark's earliest memories are of preschool days living in two different houses in Omaha---the proverbial "green house" (no longer green) and the "brown house" (no longer brown)---and constantly fighting with his younger brother Dean. Mark also has an older sister, Pat, and a younger sister, Shanon.

Mark began kindergarten in Carson City, Nevada, and finished the year back in Omaha. From first grade through high school, he attended school in Harlan, Iowa (not just one school, but "schools" just doesn't sound right).

Mark grew up enjoying many outdoor activities, especially fishing, camping, and occasionally, hunting. When he was in second grade, Mark's family moved to an acreage that had a 1-acre farm pond in the back yard. Mark fished nearly every day the first summer, and a little less each subsequent summer. The family also took many camping trips. When Mark was 13, his family took a vacation to northern Minnesota, where Mark caught a large northern pike that, until recently, was the biggest fish he'd ever caught.

In elementary school, Mark's favorite subject was recess, though he did reasonably well in math and science. His English was mediocre, and his handwriting was (and still is) terrible. By junior high school (now known as "middle school") he had become more interested in athletics than academics. He participated in football and basketball, and he also ran track. His best sport was football, but his favorite was basketball. As a senior, he started in basketball, averaging about 10 points per game, while his team finished with 17 wins and 3 losses. However, the team lost 2 of its last 3 games, with the final loss to a team they'd beaten by 20 points earlier in the season, and the penultimate loss was to a team they'd
beaten badly every year since 7th grade. Due to this late-season collapse, the basketball season was a major disappointment.

In his senior year in football, Mark was the leading pass catcher for a running offense on a team that relied primarily on a record-setting defense.  The team finished with 10 wins against 1 loss, and was only 7 points away from the state championship game. In the first-round playoff game---an exciting 23-22 victory at Urbandale---Mark caught 4 passes, 3 of which went for touchdowns. On the season, he caught 28 passes for 7 touchdowns and nearly 500 yards, and he was selected to the Omaha World Herald "All-Southwest Iowa" first team.

After graduating from high school in 1979,  Mark decided to put away his jock strap. He went to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, where he concentrated on parties, intramural sports (OK, he had one leftover jock strap) and on rare occasion, he even studied. He double-majored in history and computer science.

After graduating from college in 1983, Mark spent a year making money betting on horse races and another half-year losing money at the horse races. Out of necessity, he found a part-time teaching job at the Nebraska Indian Community College (NICC), located in Winnebago, Nebraska. While teaching at NICC, Mark lived in Sioux City and it was during this time that he met his lovely wife, Chian-Chian Du, who was then a Morningside student from Taiwan.

In the summer of 1985 Mark went to Taiwan, where he taught English conversation, got sick a lot, and  had his appendix removed. Not wanting too much of a  good thing, he left Taiwan after the summer. He began graduate school (in mathematics) at Texas Tech
University in January 1986. 

In January 1987 Mark and Chian-Chian Du (aka Melody) were married in Lubbock. It was a private ceremony, attended only by the couple, Judge Ross (who was later convicted of drunk driving), and another couple who happened to be waiting in line. The Judge asked several questions ("Do you have a ring?", "Do you want a religious ceremony?", etc.), to which the couple-to-be had no good answers. At this point Mark uttered his famous line, "This is our first time."

Mark got his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1992, at which point Melody had already finished her M.S. degree (also in math). After graduation, Mark was  fortunate to land an academic
job at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI, or "Whoopie Tech") in Worcester, Massachusetts. Melody didn't appreciate the post-industrial decay of Worcester, so after one year at WPI, Mark accepted a job offer from the National  Security Agency (NSA). Mark worked at NSA for 7 and 7/12 years, during which time he ------------- Transfer Interrupted!! -------------- which resulted in a major intelligence coup.

During Mark's "spy phase," Melody worked as an actuary at the Social Security Administration (SSA). Melody later worked as an actuary for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and, later still, she worked at NSA.

Mark and Melody's first son, Austin E Stamp, was born on June 4, 1993, just 3 weeks after they had moved from Worcester to Maryland. Austin has always been a great kid. He's now a college graduate, is still a great kid---which often makes Mark wonder whether Austin might have been switched at birth.

In late 2000, Mark left the security of working for Uncle Sam to try his hand at a small Silicon Valley startup company, MediaSnap, Inc. The hoped-for fame and fortune (mostly fortune) never materialized, as the dot-com bubble burst shortly after the Stamps' arrival in "the valley" (not to be confused with "The Big Valley"). Mark insists that it is merely coincidental that the bubble burst shortly after the Stamps' arrival. In 2002, MediaSnap went bankrupt and Mark was fortunate to land an academic job in the Department of Computer Science at San Jose State University (SJSU).

In 2001, Mark and Melody's second child, Miles Du Stamp, was born.  Miles has always been strong-willed, which is a characteristic that he apparently inherited from his mother.
Miles, who is now a teenager, is passionate about video games and roller coasters (mostly video games). Miles also plays violin and viola in local orchestras and he has had some success running track (mostly, the 4x100M relay).

Family leisure activities include trips to Monterey, bicycling, kayak fishing, and major home improvement projects. In the summer, Melody and the boys often go to  Disneyland while Mark stays home and fishes. Mark considers this the best vacation ever.

Melody is currently teaching math part-time at Evergreen Valley College, where she
has become an authority on pre-pre-algebra. Mark has tenure at SJSU and he has been promoted to "Professor", which means that he can be a jerk, since he does not need
to worry about any future promotions (not that lack of tenure or concern about promotion would ever prevent Mark from being a jerk). Finally, one of Mark's favorite activities is writing about himself in the third person.