|What Excites Me||I'm fascinated by human learning and understanding; inspired to make individuals and communities both smarter and wiser; and working to create frameworks, services, and applications which apply advanced computation to human concerns.|
|Some Things I've Done||Artifical intelligence, electronic reading interfaces and standards, database and knowledge base algorithms and implementation, natural language processing, machine learning and discovery, information retrieval, knowledge representation, programming language design and development, intelligent multimedia databases, expert system development, environments for children's game design.|
|Some Career Highlights|
Completed MIT PhD at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. My thesis, supervised by Marvin Minsky and advised by Patrick Winston and Thomas Kuhn, was on computational models of discovery, invention, and creativity.
Associate Professor at the MIT Media Laboratory, executing and supervising research in knowledge representation, intelligent information retrieval, and natural language understanding, advanced multimedia databases, augmented news systems, and visualization of very large scale conversations.
Founder of beingmeta (inc) developing platforms, products and capabilities for advanced content and knowledge management and delivery, especially semantic search, community tagging, and social reading.
Founder, director, and advisor for a variety of European advanced R&D laboratories and centers, particularly in Germany, Brussels, Finland, and Ireland. This included serving as the Director of Media Lab Europe, the Dublin-based European spin-off of MIT's Media Laboratory.
Bedford St. Martin's (a division of Macmillan) deployed the search technology which I developed at beingmeta as the central component in two of their flagship undergraduate e-textbooks. I was the lead on the deployment of the technology of which two generations were deployed in production over several years, serving tens of thousands of students.
Founded beingmeta to commercialize research work begun at MIT and market it to media enterprises and other sectors. Involved in business planning and operations, marketing and fund-raising, and product development.
As part of the leadership team of Sorcero, an education and training company, I was involved in architecting the application of artificial intelligence into training and learning processes. For much of the time, I also oversaw the deployment of prototypes and pilots in AWS, drawing on my experience at beingmeta.
I (through beingmeta) joined the global team developing and maintaining DHIS2, a large open-source Java/SQL application used to track health data and spending across most of the developing world. Especially focused on support for outbreak surveillance and data validation in the State Department funded DATIM program of PEPFAR.
Consulted on design, implementation, and integration issues for an XML-based programming language (Water) and prototyping and delivery environment (Steam XML). Contributions included updating development practices and practical enterprise integration of their existing infrastructure.
Working in the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication, I helped design and advise on research programs in media technology as well as helping to shape undergraduate and graduate activities toward new technologies and philosophies of communication.
Led and executed research in common sense reasoning, especially focused on using analogy to provide robust adaptability to knowledge systems.
Served as acting director of a joint research venture between MIT and the Irish government. In addition to overall operational and fundraising responsibility (assisted by a strong team), I was responsible for scientific direction and vision as well as instituting structures for research evaluation and critique.
Visting professor jointly hosted by UC Irvine's School of Arts and School of Engineering, working on creative synergies between the two programs.
Visiting Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, exploring issues in large-scale knowledge bases, intelligent multi-media systems, and computer understanding of unrestricted natural language text.
Consulted on the establishment of a new multi-disciplinary laboratory — StarLab — chartered as a long-term research laboratory by the European Commission. During most of 1997 and 1998, I was based in Brussels, assisting in the creation of the StarLab, while continuing a consulting relationship with the MIT Media Laboratory.
Consulted on European initiatives and research in Machine Understanding, continuing work described below.
Founder and initial scientific director of the "European Media Laboratory" for the Klaus Tschira Foundation in Heidelberg, Germany. Work involved establishing structures and mission for the laboratory, making affiliations with local universities, and meeting with prospective industrial sponsors. I left the laboratory, having started several new initiatives, when negotiations broke down between the KTF and MIT.
Project leader for News In the Future program, responsible for managing $500,000-$700,000 of research (out of approximately $2,000,000) for a consortium of publishers and technology companies interested in future news and information systems. Responsibilities included fundraising, sponsor presentations and workshops, managing graduate student research, and numerous other tasks.
Professor of Media Arts and Sciences exploring issues in large-scale knowledge bases, intelligent multi-media systems, and computer understanding of unrestricted natural language text. Teaching included courses in Artificial Intelligence programming, the content-based description and manipulation of media, and storytelling in new media. Co-architect of prototype undergraduate curriculum in Media Arts and Sciences.
Worked under the supervision of Professor Marvin Minsky on a range of research areas including automated discovery systems, agent-based approaches to reasoning, massively parallel decision networks. robot learning, and self-referential description languages.
Consulted for Norton Corporation (a multinational manufacturing support company based in Worcester, Massachusetts) on developing an expert system providing product engineering advice about Norton's product line.
Consulted on the development of advisory systems for anticipating fluctuations and significant events in a trading market. Implemented system was taught as a `case' by the Harvard Business School.
Visiting Lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (the Dutch-speaking Free University in Brussels, Belgium), teaching courses in knowledge representation and Artificial Intelligence.
Consulted with Doug Lenat and the CYC project at MCC (the Microelectronics and Computer Consortium) on very large knowledge bases. Helped design and develop early versions of the CYCL language.
Worked with David Waltz and Doug Lenat at Thinking Machines Corporation, extending the `representation language language' ARLO for application to encyclopedic knowledge bases and automated discovery.
Worked for Alan Kay and Cynthia Solomon at ATARI's research labs in Sunnyvale, California and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Developed systems and languages for describing computer animation and synchronizing music (using symbolic descriptions of musical events) to computer generated animation. Also developed a gestural user interface to operating systems and AI languages (called the `information waldo'), environments for teaching object oriented programming (in the experimental language QLOGO), and applied the knowledge representation language ARLO to representing encyclopedia level knowledge.
While at ATARI, I conceived and organized, together with Ann Marion, the Cambridge Computer Animation Workshop, bringing together traditional animators, workers in computer animation, and Artificial Intelligence researchers in a discussion of what the future of animated movie-making --- in the home and in the studio --- might look like.
Worked for Dr. James Albus on computational models of cerebellar activity for robot control. My work consisted of constructing simple mathematical models and computer simulations based on an explanation of cerebellar activity developed by Dr. James Albus. The model --- called CMAC (for Cerebellar Model Arithmetic Computer) --- specified a system that could be trained to produce smooth continuous functions of the sort needed for controlling robot motion. My work involved experimenting with and analyzing various training algorithms.
Worked with Professor Charles Rieger at the University of Maryland on simulation and analysis of parallel neural networks. With the ZMOB parallel processor project, developed MICRONIVER, an assembly language package for multi-processing and continuation passing on the Z-80 processor. Also explored highly parallel semantic network implementations which supported propositional inference and multiple worlds reasoning.
Other interesting accomplishments over the years highlight some more of my skills and interests:
Microniver provided a low-level library for continuation-based or parallel processing (implemented in Z-80 assembler).
Cauldrons implemented part of Minsky's "Society of Mind" theory through a multi-context assertion-based reasoner that provided the assertional equivalent of "procedure calls" and inferential "memoizing."
An animation system providing non-programmer tools for specifying graphical animations; included the coordination of animated characters with musical (MIDI) event streams.
The Dungeon Kit provided an environment for creating online interactive games with responsive characters and visual and audio effects. It was implemented in QLOGO, an object-oriented version of the Logo language.
Various representation language languages starting with ARLO (my Bachelor's thesis in philosophy), that provided flexible inference and storage frameworks for a range of applications.
The information waldo provided a direct manipulation environment for computer data and knowledge bases using a physical device thatx I designed to translate intuitive hand gestures into mouse events.
TYPICAL (my M.S. thesis program) was a sophisticated type inference system embedded in Scheme which was used to represent mathematical concepts.
CYRANO (my Ph.D. thesis program) was a mathematical discovery program inspired by Lenat's AM and Eurisko programs (their vision, accomplishments, and shortcomings) but based partially on Ray Solomonoff's algorithmic complexity theory (which was in turn based on the work Gregory Chaitin and others (and eventually, Claude Shannon).
The abrasives advisor was an expert system for the custom engineering of abrasive products, codifying the expert knowledge of a key sales engineer at a large manufacturing firm. It was used extensively at the firm over many years and was implemented in Common LISP for DOS-based PCs.
The Fed Funds advisor was a tool for traders at a major bank's Money Market desk, using simple calendar-based heuristics to suggest possible factors influencing market fluctuations. This system was the basis of a Harvard Business School case study (it reportedly paid back many times its development costs). This was implemented in TI Scheme for DOS-based PCs.
Reimplementations of classic AI programs (planners, parsers, story understanders, etc) written for various AI programming classes taught at the MIT Media Lab for non-engineers. All written in Common Lisp.
An analogical window system which combined a novel prototype-based object system (Framer) with analogical algorithms to automatically create visual renderings of new data based on past renderings of similar information. This work was joint with the Visual Language Workshop at MIT and linked with their BadWindows environment. Written in C.
A poetry “understander” which implemented a model of aesthetic comprehension which treated poems as analogy teaching machines whose formal structure (rhyme, meter, layout) cued semantic analogies. Written in C and the FramerD scripting language.
Semantic Clay was originally conceived as an art piece during my time at UC Irvine. It was a web-based Java applet which used the BRICO knowledge base and allowed viewers to explore a space of words and meanings by exposing related terms (including across languages) as individual terms were selected or emphasized by user interaction. While there were plans to create a gesture and projection-based installation based on the software, it was never completed.
Responsible for the oversight of Meeting activities and especially for listening and guiding in the Monthly Meeting for Business, a 300-year old Quaker process for consensus decision making grounded in Quaker spirituality.
Kept records of Monthly Meetings for Business and worked with the clerk to craft minutes which captured the "sense of the meeting" derived from worship and discussion.
Clerked the New England-wide committee on Ministry and Counsel of Friends' meetings. Responsibilities included leading meetings, organizing activities, and helping identify and set agendas.
Served as a member of the New England-wide committee on Ministry and Counsel of Friends' meetings, having oversight for spiritual and corporate life of both individual meetings and New England Yearly Meeting as a whole.
Served as a member of the Board of Directors of Beacon Hill Friends' House, a rooming house --- primarily for Boston-area students --- on Boston's Beacon Hill.
Served as a "shift-head'" at Haley House, a soup kitchen storefront in Boston's South End. Responsibilities involved organizing (or co-organizing) the storefront for one day a week, including preparing food, lending a listening ear, or calming difficult guests.
Live-in staff at `Haley House.' As a member of the live-in staff, I took responsibility (together with others) for maintaining the general operation of the storefront and the broader scope of Haley House's activities.
Served as a member of the Committee on Ministry and Counsel, a group within the Friends' Meeting which provides pastoral care for the Meeting and its members.
Age 57, married for 8 years. Born and raised in the Washington D.C. area, where I currently reside. For most of my adult life, I lived in and around Boston, Massachusetts but have also lived in Belgium, Germany, and Ireland together with extended periods in Finland, Texas, and California. A Convinced Quaker for years and have been active in local, regional, national, and international Quaker contexts.
Personal interests are philosophy, poetry, scuba diving, sailing, cooking, science fiction, and volunteer work.