Department of Computer Science
Center for Imaging Science (cross-appointment)
Rochester Institute of Technology (NY, USA)
PhD (Comp. Sc.), MSc, BMusic, BA (Queen's University, Canada); Curriculum Vitae
I am a Professor of Computer Science at RIT, specializing in document analysis and information retrieval. I direct the Document and Pattern Recognition Lab (dprl) and am affiliated with the Intelligent Systems Area in the Computer Science Department. I will be away on sabbatical in Fall 2014, during which time I will be a Visiting Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Waterloo (Canada). Earlier in my sabbatical (from mid-June through mid-July 2014) I was a Visiting Professor at the IVC/IRCCyN research lab located in Polytech Nantes (France).
In September 2014, I submitted a successful bid to host the 2018 International Conference on Frontiers in Handwriting Recognition in Rochester, at RIT (GCCIS Web Page Announcement). If you work in handwriting recognition, we hope to see you in Rochester in 2018.
Please click on the links above for information about my teaching, research, publications (including .pdfs), and resources for students.
About doing research...
The cartoons below represent common misconceptions about science and research succinctly. While I genuinely enjoy doing research, I have to remind myself often that good research is a slow and difficult business. Acknowledging the limitations of both your work and yourself is critical, as well as learning to appreciate continual learning and the process of doing research. Writing up and presenting results is relatively quick, usually. Obtaining meaningful results for hard problems can require years of work, and even if one manages to obtain them, the results seldom, if ever, flow from an 'elegant, correct and complete' model that one hopes for when starting a project. If despite all these challenges, one finds they are repeatedly interested in starting new research projects, then they are a researcher.
On a personal note, I 'left' music at the end of my undergraduate studies to do graduate studies in Computer Science. I later discovered that the day-to-day activities of a researcher and musician/composer are basically the same, with irregular work schedules and locations, meeting and collaborating with people from diverse backgrounds, sometimes working extremely hard for very long hours, performing (aka 'giving a talk' or 'writing a paper'), travel, finding ways to both be and remain creative, and lots and lots and lots of improvisation and hustling. It seems to me that leading a research lab is a lot like leading a jazz ensemble. It took awhile for me to understand and accept this, but once I did, I found that I was frustrated far less often. I reasoned that if research is a creative process, then the process will often be unpredictable, and that uncertainty may sometimes be necessary to produce interesting work.
Many of the best ideas and directions for research I've come across were due to classes that I've taught (undergraduate and graduate). Teaching and research when done well are complementary, intertwined even. Until you can explain your work briefly and make clear where the remaining holes are, you probably have not reached the limits of your ability to understand your work.
At its best, I think that research involves creating helpful knowledge and tools to share with others. These helpful tools include well designed and documented prototypes, and informative, well-written research papers. Whether or not I ever 'truly' create these with my students and collaborators, they remain the primary goals for my work. I would rather fail trying to do this than stop.