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Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington fountain in red square at Western Washington University I grew up in Spokane, Washington. I graduated from Central Valley High School in 1992, and moved to Bellingham, Washington to attend Western Washington University. I had some idea that I wanted to teach, maybe French or early eduction. I also thought about Anthropology as a major, but didn't get around to taking a class for a long time. However, after a while my interests turned towards another passion, music. Though not a musician proper, I love music listening and wanted to learn some theory.

dumb math joke In the mean time, I had noticed that I was still taking math classes. "Oh sure, I can quit taking math classes any time I want," I told myself. I've met many math students since who similarly deny their addiction. Western's terrific math department contributed to our disease, dealing one good math course after another to deepen our addiction. "Hey kid, wanna take my math class? It's free, once you pay tuition." Perhaps the best-looking faculty member in the math deparment was the deservedly infamous Tom Read. In the end I wound up with a B.S. in Mathematics, graduating in 1997. Of course, that meant that my days in beautiful Bellingham were numbered.

Mt. Shuksan, near Mt. Baker and Bellingham, Washington Bellingham is a great town with about 60,000 people. It is tucked away in the Chuckanut and Cascade mountains, half way between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. Bellingham is a mecca for anyone who appreciates the natural world, especially if one enjoys participating in outdoor activities. Bellingham has it's own webpages, www.bellingham.org and www.bellingham.com, so I won't delve deeply into Bellingham life. It is wonderful to see the setting sun reflected in pastel hues on Mt. Baker while heading to the mall, or to accidentally spot Orcas Island among the San Juans while driving around town. And you wouldn't believe what you can see when you put some effort into it. For instance, climbing Mt. Shuksan is well worth the effort, and not particularly difficult. If, like me, you don't have climbing experience, don't worry; one of your Bellingham friends is a seasoned mountaineer.

ACO logo Next up was grad school. I went to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where I meant to study numerical analysis in the math department. I won't explain why, but I ended up studing discrete math instead. For some reason, probably bull-headedness, I completed a Ph.D. in Algorithms, Combinatorics, and Optimization around May 2004. After that, I spent about 1.5 years as a postdoc at the Robotics Institute in CMU's School of Computer Science. If you have ever wondered what 'Philosophy' refers to in the Ph.D. degree, it is about answering the perplexing question of why anyone would voluntarily go to school for so many years.

Andrew's robots My doctoral research was supervised by Andrew Moore, a really nice guy and great teacher at the CMU Robotics Institute. (Andrew, are you reading this carefully?). Most of my work was related to AD-Trees and logistic regression. If you are at all interested in machine learning, statistical learning, artificial intelligence, or data mining, you might want to check out the Auton Lab page at autonlab.org.

In late 2005, I started work at Google. In my first two years, I worked in Search Quality as a software engineer. Most of my time was spent on the Google Custom Search Engines project (related to Google Coop, but that's hard to explain). Then I took a detour as a site reliability engineer. In February 2006, I took my first yoga class. It would be hard to underestimate the ways in which yoga has helped me, and I hope to share my yogic-enthusiasm as a teacher soon.


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Created by Paul Komarek, komarek.paul@gmail.com