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Updated: 11 August 2017
Who has created this website?
This website was created by Gerhard K. Heilig in 2017. It was updated in July 2020.

3004 Riederberg, Austria
e-mail: gerhard.heilig@gmail.com
My professional background
Since finishing university with a degree in Socio­logy and acquiring a PhD in Sociology and another PhD in Political Science, I have worked as a social scientists and demographer at various universities and research centers, including the Technical University of Munich, the University of Bamberg, the Inter­national Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) (where I spent more than 17 years), and the Institute for East-Asian Studies, Department of Chinese Studies of Vienna University. I have also worked as a Guest Researcher at Rockefeller University in New York.
In my last position before retirement I was Chief of the Popu­lation Estimates and Projections Section at the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) from 2006 to 2013.
At the Population Division I collected and analyzed (together with my colleagues) large demographic datastets - which where implemented in a SQL database. They were used to analyze historical trends in fertility, mortality and migration for all countries of the world. They were also necessary to calculate cohort-component population projections for these countries and major regions of the world. This work resulted in the publication of several revisions of the United Nation World Population Prospects, United Nations World Urbanization Prospects and United Nations Probabilistic Population Projections.
My love of computers and coding
I have had a lifelong fascination with computers and have developed software and websites for many decades. My first "personal computer" was the size of a small closet and had to be programmed via ticker tape. My later PCs included tape recorders and 8" floppy disks for data storage. As an amateur programmer I have since then written code in Basic, Fortran, C, C++, Delphi (Pascal) and VB.NET. I like to make my websites from scratch in plain html, css and JavaScript - with a littel php if necessary. I love MS Excel, I like MS Word and I work with MS PowerPoint. I use Adobe Photoshop and InDesign all the time (but don't like their subscription model).

Early in my career I have done massive number crunching with SPSS. For my first PhD I used a Cyber 175 mainframe at the Leibnitz Rechenzentrum in Munich (Germany) which I fed with massive stacks of punch cards on which the data were coded for my SPSS analyses (I think it was SPSS Version 2). Much later I learned to design and use SQL databases.

I have also tried to learn Matlab and use R (which almost drove me crazy). Recently, at the somewhat advanced age of 69, I have improved my coding skills in php and SQL in order to connect my websites to MySQL databases.

As you probably can guess I am a do-everything-myself fanatic. I like to do social, political and demographic research, write content, design charts, maps and interfaces, develop and implement websites and code (windows-based) applications. I have never managed to develop a smartphone app - but perhaps I can still learn this in my eighties. If I could, I would make the paper or build the PCs which I use for my work. Probably I am a fossil from a long-gone period before the modern ultra-division of labor became the norm.