Advisory Board

Dr. Linas Vepstas

Linas Vepstas, Ph.D. is Research Engineer and Developer of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) at Hanson Robotics and OpenCog. Linas is actively working on AGI and its related components, including natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), knowledge representation (KR), robotics, and their theoretical and mathematical underpinnings.

He has been at Hanson Robotics since 2014, where he is focused on sensory perception integration with natural language understanding and dialog. He is also working on models of self and world, and robot motion and its action. Linas is also working closely with Health, offering his expertise to their A.I. and medical projects.

His career has been jumping between technical leadership roles and applied research, with experience in large companies, executive roles in small companies, and in academia.

Linas has been at OpenCog since 2007, developing and maintaining core infrastructure for the OpenCog AGI project. This includes natural language processing, the construction of knowledge bases, the use of probabilistic reasoning for semantic understanding and unsupervised learning of language, and robotic behaviors. He has also been maintaining and developing the CMU Link Grammar natural language parser for English and other languages and is focused on unsupervised natural language learning.

Linas has strong technical expertise in a large variety of technologies, both hardware and software, with particular emphasis on operating systems and CPUs.

He worked at IBM as a hacker working on the Linux kernel for PowerPC-based mainframes. He has been active in the Linux community and his personal website has a set of once-extensive but now stale Enterprise Linux pages.

Linas was the founder of the Gnome Foundation and the lead developer for GnuCash for over 7 years between 1996 and 2003. He still owns and operates the web servers as System Administrator.

GnuCash allows individuals and small companies to track their income and expenses, and their savings and investments using professional-grade accounting principles. It includes small business features and online banking capabilities.

Linas earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Stony Brook University in 1985. He coauthored Two Phase Models Of Baryons And The Chiral Casimir Effect, Baryon Observables in the Chiral Bag Model, The baryon density in chiral bag models, and Properties of six-quark clusters in the topological chiral soliton model.

Linas earned his BA in Physics from the University of Chicago in 1980, ranked third in the class.

His first job, over thirty years ago, was with Dr. John Simpson for work on the Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 Charged Particle Instrument data analysis programs. This was his first paying computer programming job. These are now the farthest spacecraft from our solar system.

After his Ph.D., Linas went to France for his Post-Doctoral research position at the Service de Physique Théorique (SPhT) at CEA/CEN Saclay, the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission. He continued his postdoc in Poland as a Visiting Scientist at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow where he worked on Chiral Bag Model calculations.

In 1987, he began to pursue work in IT as Advisory Programmer and Graphics Architect at IBM. He was a founding member of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board and has spent 8 years learning about and designing 3D graphics hardware and software.

He left IBM and founded his first of three dot-com startups, Teleport Travel (later Intransco), the first company ever to offer online web-based air travel reservations and ticket sales, going live in June 1995. This company was sold in 1999 to FAO Schwartz.

He returned to IBM, this time as Performance Evaluator of the IBM online web banking system and developed analytic models of performance, based on queueing theory.

In 1998, Linas founded his second dot-com startup company Gnumatic, focusing on creating Linux desktop software products, and in particular, financial tools, with a special focus on the GnuCash personal financial manager. The company was discontinued after 3 years when he cofounded his third company, Tristel, later named TQI Oilfield Services. They were developing small embedded electronics applications, including a remote, radio-attached pipe thickness sensor for the Canadian tar-sands industry and a radio-controlled remote sensor and data logger for Pennsylvania gas wells.

Back at IBM, after TQI, he focused on Linux Kernel Development, this time for almost 5 years until 2007, when he began Consulting at (Cerego Japan), providing natural language (NLP) tools for lexical chunk extraction, related word lists, and word-sense disambiguation (WSD). Between 2007 and 2009, he was also a Senior Researcher at Novamente and until 2011, the Lead Developer at RelEx.

At Novamente, Linas developed systems for natural language processing and reasoning based on a text corpus. He worked on word-sense disambiguation, automated ontology extraction, anaphora and reference resolution, and statistical/machine-learning based on corpus linguistics. He also contributed to the OpenCog Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) system when he joined in 2007.

Between 2011 and 2014, Linas worked at Poulin Holdings and Aidyia Limited as Research Engineer on Machine Learning, Program Evolution, Meta-Optimizing Semantic Evolutionary Search (MOSES), and Ensemble Learning.

Linas was also, in his words, “utterly infatuated with mathematics”, and has made a large contribution to over 400 math articles in Wikipedia.

Linas contributes to Medium and some of his interesting articles are The Future of Humanity, The Global Brain, The Singularity and Your Place in It, Wild swings of beliefs — physics and sociology, Is Socialism Good?, Cultural Relativism and Moral Authority, Free Speech on College Campuses, and Meritocracy & White Male Culture.

He is still active in academia and publishes diligently. You can follow his research at Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Academia, and Semantic Scholar.

Read An Open Letter to Linas Vepstas by Steve Litt, his review of The Science of Conjecture by James Franklin at GoodReads, and his contributions at OpenCog Blog, Wikipedia, and Medium.

And try his favorite way of socializing online with secure gossip platform Scuttlebutt.

Visit his LinkedIn profile, his homepage, his Wikipedia profile, Open Hub (Black Duck) page, and dblp profile. Follow him on Facebook, pluspora, YouTube, GitHub, and Twitter.