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Zeph Gardler gesticulates as he runs through his presentation at DockerCon 2016

“Docker is an inspiration, an enabler and a learning tool.” So proclaimed Zephaniah (“Zeph”) Gardler, 11, who gave a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation at DockerCon 2016 this afternoon explaining how he used the container technology last year to mine hidden stats in “Halo 5: Guardians,” the first-person shooter video game.

“I’d never programmed before, but I saw my dad working and he said he was Dockerizing a project, so I installed Docker for Windows and used Python,” he told a crowd of about 100 people gathered on the show floor. “I printed ‘Hello world’ because that’s how everyone starts out, and boom! I was a programmer.” After writing pseudocode, he found the Halo API and used “some open-source stuff” to access it.

A native of Lower Heyford, England, near Oxford, Zeph and his family now live in Seattle, where he attends public school. He came to DockerCon along with his dad, Ross, who works with the Apache Software Foundation. GeekWire caught up with him after his presentation.

Q: What’s your computer background, Zeph?

A: I’ve been quite a bit interested in computers. Gaming is my hobby. But for programming, I’ve only done Scratch, which is a drag-and-drop interface. It’s good for kids, but not the kind of stuff you’d use for something serious.

Q: What did you think of coding?

A: I thought it was awesome. I thought it would be really hard.

Q: What’s next for you? 

A: I don’t know. Maybe some other stuff. I like speaking up here as well. Once I was in the role of it, it was awesome.

Q: What is Docker, in your own words?

A: It’s a service that puts apps you make that anyone can download and run really easily.

Q: Ross, what do you think of your son?

A: I challenged him when he got his first computer to do better than I did in terms of going quickly. I was 14 when I did my first thing of significance. He’s 11. He makes me look useless. I am so proud.

Q: Any final thoughts, Zeph?

A: I went pretty quickly with Docker. People who actually know what they’re doing could do quite a bit.

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