About Curious Efficiency

About the site

Curious Efficiency is the intermittently updated personal website of Alyssa Coghlan, CPython core developer, PSF Fellow, software development toolsmith, cognitive science dabbler, and cynical idealist.

The main portion of the site is generated via Nikola, hosted on GitHub Pages, and also under source control on GitHub (the repo layout is a bit odd, since the source code wasn't originally on GitHub, and the hosting moved to GitHub Pages first, with the source repository following much later).

Python specific technical writing tends to end up on the ReadTheDocs powered Python Notes subsite.

About the name

Curious Efficiency is actually a reframing of my original blog title, Boredom & Laziness - the original boredomandlaziness.org URLs now redirect here. The original site blurb on Boredom & Laziness read as follows:

There are a couple of very, very scary things in this world.

The first is a bored human. Bored humans have time to indulge their curiosity, with potentially amazing results.

The second is a lazy human. Lazy humans can be quite inventive when it comes to figuring out how to do less work.

So, here's to boredom & laziness - two of the prime movers in human progress!

"Curious Efficiency" is really just a nicer way of referring to the same concept.

This post goes into some additional detail on the concepts that inspired the naming, both the original form, and the current more conventionally acceptable phrasing.

About the author


Alyssa is a CPython core developer, a Fellow of the Python Software Foundation, and the founder of the PyCon Australia Education Seminar.

Together with Guido van Rossum, Brett Cannon, Barry Warsaw, and Carol Willing, Alyssa served on the inaugural 2019 Python Steering Council. Alyssa's primary activity while on the Steering Council was managing the transition of the standing PyPA PEP delegations from Guido's position as BDFL to instead be explicitly recorded standing delegations from the Steering Council.

She is the author or co-author of several accepted Python Enhancement Proposals (including PEP 453, which saw the pip installer bundled with Python 3.4+, PEP 466, which saw several key Python 3 network security enhancements backported to the Python 2.7 series, and PEP 538, which updated CPython to coerce the legacy ASCII-based C locale to a suitable UTF-8 based locale when one is available), and has also accepted a number of PEPs on Guido van Rossum's behalf as BDFL-Delegate.

Alyssa changed her name from Nicholas (Nick) Coghlan in August 2023, so articles, videos, and archived posts from previous years will still use her birth name. She mostly goes by Alyssa, but will also answer to Lyse and Nic (now the short form of her middle name rather than her first name).

Alyssa was the default BDFL-Delegate for packaging related PEPs for several years, serving as the primary liaison between the CPython core development team and the Python Packaging Authority. Her own efforts in the packaging space were focused primarily on the Python Packaging User Guide and facilitating standardisation of interfaces between different tools to allow volunteers to collaborate more effectively across a range of packaging projects.

At the PyCon US 2013 language summit, Alyssa successfully argued for updates to the Python Enhancement Proposal process (described in PEP 1) that allowed BDFL-Delegates to approve PEPs that don't affect the language definition or the standard library directly on the relevant mailing lists (without needing to rehash the discussions on python-dev).

Beyond the Python open source world, Alyssa spent the first decade of her career with Boeing Defence Australia working on high frequency radio communication for the Australian Defence Force (including network contact and security protocols), several years working on hardware integration test automation and other projects for Red Hat and (most recently) several years with Tritium working to support remote operation and management of Tritium's EV DC fast chargers using the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). Her work at Tritium included being a leading member of the team that delivered 2020's world-first deployment of ISO15118's Plug-and-Charge payment protocol support to Ionity's high power EV charging network.

Alyssa is currently enjoying an extended sabbatical while pursuing her Masters of Cybersecurity as a full-time student.

Selected articles, presentations and interviews

Selected Python Enhancement Proposals:

Selected Python related presentations (video links):

Selected Python related articles and presentation reviews:

Selected software design, development and deployment related presentations and articles:

Selected community management related articles and interviews:

Podcast appearances (in reverse chronological order):

  • Free as in Freedom (with hosts Karen Sandler & Bradley M. Kuhn, recorded January 2015)

  • Pragmatic (with host John Chidgey, recorded August 2014)

  • From Python Import Podcast (with hosts Mike Pirnat & Dave Noyes and fellow guest Alex Gaynor, recorded March 2014)

    • Historical note of potential interest: I consider this discussion between Alex and myself to be one of the key events on the road to PEP 466's backport of Python 3 network security features to the Python 2.7 series, and PEP 476's switch to verifying HTTPS certificates by default in Python 2.7.9+ and 3.4.3+

  • Radio Free Python (with host Larry Hastings, recorded February 2012)