Archive for September, 2011

A New Chapter

In July, the Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) Project was awarded a new NEH-DFG Bi-lateral Digital Humanities Program grant with the University of Mannheim for linking and populating digital humanities databases. Our current grant ends in December, so this brought tons of relief, injecting $172,215 into the project. The DFG’s contribution of €126,400 allows InPhO co-founder Mathias Niepert to return to the project, along with his team at the University of Mannheim. All in all, the project will be able to continue for another two years.

As a result of the grant, I was offered a full-time, salaried faculty position as a Visiting Research Associate with the IU Cognitive Science Program, continuing work on the InPhO Project. During this time, I will be working on new methods of knowledge representation and machine learning with applications in document classification, ontology evaluation, and taxonomy alignment, bringing the digital humanities into the Linked Open Data initiative. I’ll also be working on a new bibliography management system for the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, using a tool developed for Cognitive Science Program faculty publication records.

I started the new position on August 16th. The new full-time job, plus the move to a my own 1-bedroom apartment, along with joining the band, have me falling more and more in love with Bloomington. For the first time in a long, long time, I’m satisfied with where I am. Looking forward to this new chapter of post-college life.

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Summer 2011

Figured it’s been another 4 months, so it’s time for another life update. This was an incredibly productive summer with the open-sourcing of the InPhO Project, an extremely successful refactoring, and two publications hitting press. It was also fun, as I started gigging with Afro-Hoosier International and took a road trip up California 1 with my brothers. All in all, a great bookend on this past chapter of life.


All of the InPhO code has been open-sourced and uploaded to GitHub in two repos. The inpho repo contains our data mining code, while the inphosite repo contains our API and website. Most of the code in the inpho repo was newly ported from Java so that we could use NLTK and integrate with the ORM. We hired a new undergraduate, Evan Boggs, to help refactor the code, and after a long summer, were able to cut 10,000 lines form the code base.

In July, I quit the Syriac Reference Portal (SRP), after several months of work deploying Semantic MediaWiki and the new COGS Bibliography Engine. I learned a lot about generalizability of the InPhO code, and what the humanities side of digital humanities needs, but ultimately the data provenance goals of the historical community are still an open question for semantic web research and standardization, and I want to focus my research efforts elsewhere. I hope the project finds success and will continue to support it through work on the COGS Bibliography Engine.

Publications-wise, the work on speciation and clustering was accepted as a full paper at the European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL). I’m really pleased with the biological narrative we were able to weave, and am working on some further work with Larry Yaeger and Sean Dougherty on adapting the clustering tool to larger datasets. Also, Colin and I’s paper on the InPhO API from last year’s Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science was finally published.


In May, I joined Afro-Hoosier International, a local afropop and world music dance band. Five gigs in, it’s been crazy fun to play sax with other people again. We’re an 11-piece band, with three horns, three vocalists, keyboard, guitar, bass, kit, and auxillary, and we groove. We’ll be hitting the studio sometime soon to put togehter an album — I’m really pumped. This is a recording from my second gig with the band in Bryan Park:

At the end of July, I finally got to take a little vacation from the grind. For the first time ever, both of my brothers and I headed out to California at the same time to visit my Dad. While we were there, we took a road trip up the North Coast on California 1 to the Avenue of the Giants, the Black Sands, and Arcata in Humboldt County. We managed to make no plans at all, and took things at a completely leisurely pace, stopping and going as we pleased. I kept my cell phone and e-mail turned off for a record 5 days.

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