He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University with Honors and Distinction in Physics and with Distinction in Mathematics. He received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley and published the book Geometric Perturbation Theory in Physics on his dissertation work.
His first company, Om Sonic Systems, designed and built custom music synthesizers. As a scientist at Thinking Machines Corporation, he co-developed StarLisp, the programming language for the massively parallel Connection Machine. He was a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana where he co-founded the Center for Complex Systems Research, supervised 4 Masters theses and 2 Ph.D. theses, and was ranked as an excellent teacher. He wrote the three-dimensional graphics portion of Wolfram Research’s Mathematica program as one of the original seven developers. At the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, he led an international team in developing the object-oriented programming language Sather (featured in O’Reilly’s History of Programming Languages).
He also developed a variety of novel neural network and machine
learning algorithms and built systems which learned to read lips,
control robots, and learn grammars. At the NEC Research Institute in Princeton, he worked on a variety of applications of artificial intelligence and co-authored a patent on the PicHunter image search system. While at these institutions, he
served on 6 conference program committees and 2 journal editorial
boards, gave many invited talks, and produced 48 scientific
He founded Olo Software in Palo Alto to provide technology and business consulting to a variety of startup companies and research labs including InterTrust Technologies, Xerox PARC, Fuji-Xerox PAL, Ask Jeeves Inc., VideoScribe, LinuxMatix, and Video Memoirs, and Molecular Objects. He founded the think tank Self-Aware Systems to work toward building wisdom into our technologies and institutions. He serves on the advisory board of the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence and the scientific advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation.