As you can probably guess from my URL and the list of links on the sidebar, you’ll quickly realize I am somewhat obsessed about disambiguating myself from the masses on the interwebs who share my somewhat common name. While, I’m no Joe Smith or David Johnson, this task still presents challenges, especially when you consider that there was a Lee Becker at in the department of Computer Science at Worcester Polytech who specialized in artificial intelligence and slavic linguistics. Further complicating matters there is another one of us just down the road at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in the department of Psychology. If you trust my Google first-page, selection bias, you’d be convinced that the Lee Beckers of the world must all be interested in some combination of computer science, linguistics, and cognitive science. But a quick search on LinkedIn will show that we do plenty of other things. Furthermore, based on a series of wrongly addressed e-mails, I know there are one or more Lee Beckers in New York who are somehow affiliated with sports and building management.
While this task is called named-entity disambiguation in natural language processing, I like to draw a parallel to verb sense disambiguation for my own situation. With many verbs, the dominant will account for most of its occurrences. For example sense-1 of work refers to the act of getting something done, but occasionally it gives way to sense-2, to knead or fold, like with bread. My megalomania wants the Silat-loving, computational linguist from Colorado to be sense-1, but I think I’m going to need to be more prolific and more diligent before this is going to happen.
Do other people obsess about this? Perhaps this is all a byproduct of not having a middle name.