I was raised in
Yardley, Pennsylvania literally on the banks of the Delaware River, and after high school I took a break from school and worked in my father's aircraft
shop drilling rivets, which is not as exciting as it sounds, and so I left to
after a year to attend the
Berklee School of Music here in Boston, but after a year I returned
to Yardley to work on rivets and teach guitar. Many rivets and many lessons
later, and after realizing that I did not want to be either a professional rivet-driller
or a professional musician, I decided that a practical education would
be a good idea, and so I became a Latin and Greek major at Dickinson College
and then got an MA in Classics at Tufts University,
where I studied Augustan Poetry, especially Vergil's Aeneid. I then decided to switch to Computer Science and got my PhD at the University
of Pennsylvania, writing my thesis on E-Unification with Jean Gallier. After coming to BU in 1987, I taught introductory CS and did research on automated deduction (see my publications page)
with students Chris Lynch, Alberto Oliart, and David Durand, and with various
colleagues in France and Germany. My wife and I bought a house in Cambridgeport, started a family,
and then moved to the Metrowest area with our two boys, John Henry and Matthew, in 2000. In Fall 2009 I moved back into Boston and now live in Rich Hall as part of the Faculty in Residence Program.
In addition to my teaching and research, I have always gravitated to administrative work. I have served
as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the CS Department for quite some time, when I was not occupied with other duties: I served as chairman of the CS department from 1997 to 2000, and as Associate Dean for
Student Academic Life in the College of Arts and Sciences from 2005 to 2010.
In September 2010 I returned to full-time teaching and research in the CS department; I am currently teaching introductory CS, and developing some of my research interests in computational audio and digital humanities.
When I am not doing CS or spending time with my boys,
here are some things I am interested in and love to talk about:
- Ancient literature and ancient languages (Latin & Greek), particularly
religion, mythology, philosophy, and epic; I attempt to keep my languages up by sitting in on classes with my friends in the Classics Department, who are very patient with this "wanna-be" from the Other Side of Comm Ave;
- Cooking (mostly French, Italian, Thai, and Indian---basically anything you can drink wine with and which doesn't absolutely require wheat and dairy, which I am allergic to);
- Home brewing (not yet graduated to full-mash brewing, but hope to do so soon) and wine;
- Zen Buddism and zen meditation;
- Classical music, particularly recordings of the great pianists of the past
(favorites: William Kapell, Glenn Gould, and Dinu Lipatti) and the great violinists
(favorite: Nathan Milstein); but I like jazz quite a lot (especially Miles
Davis, Louie, Jellyroll Morton, and most sax players), and also Dylan bootlegs, opera, James Taylor, Joni Mitchel, and folkrock, almost any piano concerto,
country music, the late Beethoven string quartets, any piece with the words "boogie" or "stomp" in the title, William Byrd,
any fugue by Bach, and Frank Sinatra.
- Blues harmonica: I play blues harmonica in the odd moment, and also play in a faculty blues band, Fish Worship (you can find us on MySpace); my favorite harp players are Little Walter, Kim Wilson, William Clarke,Annie Raines, and Adam Gussow of Satan and Adam; I learned to play from Adam's YouTube lessons, but now I study with Annie Raines (of the duo Paul Rishell & Annie Raines).
I have lectured at harmonica workshops on using computer and audio technology to improve one's playing and have developed a system of tabulature and posted an extensive set of tabs online in my Tablature Page, plus some research articles on harmonica, ring tones, and other fun things.
- Guitar: In other odd moments I play fingerstyle guitar, and I am trying to learn blues slide guitar. Favorite players are Leo Kottke, Guy Van Duser, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, and Jerry Reed. Favorite flatpickers include Doc Watson, Tony Rice, and Norman Blake. Slide players: Robert Johnson, Paul Rishell, Duane Allman, Butch Trucks, and Ry Cooder. I also have posted some guitar transcriptions on my Tablature Page.