Photo: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL photographer
Where did you grow up: Born in Budapest, grew up in the Maryland D.C. area.
What was your academic path before coming to grad school at MIT? Meandering through the Montgomery Blair High School magnet program through a BS in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park, past a brief stint at a startup to here.
What department are you currently working in, and when did you start there? I came to EECS in the fall of 2001.
What are you working on and why are you passionate about it? I'm working on better modelling meaning, so as to bridge the gap between computational and theoretical semantics, and to provide better representations for language that can more easily be learned. I'm passionate about it because language is a window into the human mind, and is uniquely human. Understanding the way language works is a crucial part of understanding intelligence itself.
What is your favorite thing about working at CSAIL? My favorite thing about working at CSAIL is the breadth and depth of ideas, expertise, and patience that everyone brings to their conversations. The feedback from faculty and from other students is exceptionally helpful, and spans a great many fields and points of view.
What effect do you think your area of work will have on the world in the next decade? A better understanding of human language will lead to better understanding of the wealth of information around us, and more useful interactions with our machines. The best web search today still asks you to know the right words to ask with, and do all the inference from the retrieved text yourself. The technology a decade away will answer much more complex information needs, much more helpfully.
What are your future plans? I want to be a professor when I grow up. I want to help bring together the best computational tools with the best linguistic understanding.
What advice would you give a prospective CSAIL graduate student? Ask the questions you're thinking of, especially when you're afraid to do it.