As the front page says, I am currently an NLP researcher with an educational technology company named Hapara. My training in computational linguistics was at the University of Colorado Boulder. Previously I have worked on text analytics for social media and business communications at Avaya Labs. In a former life I worked in developing software to aid microprocessor design for HP and Intel.
Apart from work related activities, I would say my wife Sara and I spend the bulk of our time hugging, feeding, and walking our 13-year old yellow lab Kodiak (aka Kody, the Bear, Kody-friend, Friend-dog, and many other silly names). Otherwise we like to partake in normal human behavior like hanging out with friends and being social.
While we aren’t up to Boulder standards, we do consider ourselves outdoorsy and usually spend our free time taking advantage of the vast number of activities afforded to us by living in Colorado. Usually this manifests itself in the form of hiking, biking, and camping. About once a year, Sara and I strap on large backpacks and disappear into the wilderness for a couple of days. The process of doing this usually reminds us of why we’re not capable of doing this more than once a year.
Despite decreased practice times, martial arts continues to play a large role in my life. Though I studied Karate for two years in elementary school, my real foray into martial arts started by with a Tae Kwon Do class to fulfill my P.E. credits during my sophomore year at the Colorado School of Mines. At the time I was primarily interested in learning to do flashy jump kicks, but as time went on I started seeking a deeper experience which led me to study other arts including Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Ultimately, I ended up becoming a life-long student of an Indonesian art called Silat. For more information about my silat experience visit my silat website.
This interest in Silat coincided nicely with Sara and my longheld goal of living and volunteering abroad. In 2004, we left our jobs at Intel and went to Yogyakarta, Indonesia through a small volunteer outfit known as VIA. Sara worked as an English Resource with a small community health-oriented non-profit, and I taught English at Muslim boarding school called Pesantren Sunan Pandanaran. This was one of the most eye-opening, satisfying experiences in my life, and I would highly suggest it to anyone else considering such an opportunity. To read more about this, check out the blog we kept while in Indonesia.
Despite what all these interests may tell you. I am a geek at heart and have been for as long as I can remember, and I have know that my life would involve programming ever since my friend taught me how to write a simple counting loop on my TI-81 calculator in 8th grade.
About the site formally known as ke-leebecker-an
In Indonesian, the circumfix ke- + + -an is usually used to make nominalizations of an abstract nature. Adjectives like cantik (beautiful) become kebaikan (pretty). Nouns like wanita (woman) become kewanitaan (feminity). With some words, the ke- -an means to be negatively affected by “word”, so hujan (rain) becomes kehujanan (to be caught in the rain) and dingin (cold) becomes kedinginan (coldness, to be very cold). Occasionally the new word has only a small relation to the root. While berat means “heavy”, keberatan does not mean heaviness, but instead means “objection”. Which makes one wonder what does keleebeckeran mean? This is left as an exercise for the reader.
I decided to back off of this title because I thought it was drawing too much attention to my name. Of course naming the site the original leebecker.com doesn’t really do much to change that.