As a teenager circa 1995, I wanted to make my own guitar effects but struggled with the basics of electrical engineering. As a grad student in 2001, I tried again and built a Fuzz Face clone, but didn't have time to keep going. In 2014, I decided to try again and now I'm having a blast with it.
In 2012, I challenged myself to play a game every day of the year. I mostly succeeded.
I am also a big fan of wordplay, especially anagrams.
(Alas, adorable clownery is iffy as papal gag, mon ami!)
Upon moving to Pittsburgh, I joined the band delicious pastries. I play guitar, sing sometimes, and write songs. You can check out our records here:
Check out a few fan-posted videos from our live shows:
From 2009-2012, fellow machine learning researcher Jacob Eisenstein played bass with us (that's him wearing a striped shirt in the first video). The first record Pretty Please also features ML/NLP heavy-hitters Chris Dyer on cello and Nathan Schneider on violin.
In grad school at UW-Madison, I fronted a few bands, and released a solo record called Sketches in 2004. You can hear that record and assorted other tracks on SoundCloud. However, I have found being part of a band more enjoyable than playing solo or fronting a band myself. I also founded FAWM.ORG, an online community for musicians of all stripes, and annual songwriting challenge (to write 14 new songs each February). This is gradually becoming more of a research project for computational creativity tools and social network modeling.
In the fall of 2009, I supported vector machines at the Pittsburgh G20 Protests (view a slideshow of our nerdy machine learning protest signs). At one point, I found myself marching behind The Daily Show's John Oliver:
For this, my left arm appears briefly on the October 1, 2009 episode (holding the "Bayesians Against Discrimination" sign at about 0:25).
Since it seems all the rage, here is a summary of my research publications circa 2012 (courtesy of Wordle):
I enjoy teaching from time to time. Some of my past instructional activities:
Because these things apparently matter.
I have an Erdős Number of 4:
This is particularly cool for me since I am "Burr S." and the lead author of paper #1 in the chain is "S. Burr." What's more, link #3 is an important paper in the literature for semi-supervised learning, a research area in which I've been somewhat active.
Also, I arguably have a Bacon Number of 3:
I like that my name is embedded in Mr. Bur-meister's. Admittedly, Locust Grove is an obscure docu-drama about George Rogers Clark that isn't even listed in IMDb. Furthermore, Burmeister went by a pseudonym (it was a non-union job: he played a peddler, I played GRC's nephew), but I still think it counts. I stopped pursuing a childhood acting career after that. Interestingly, I do have an IMDb page, but for a silly film I scored.
One of my life goals is to have a more properly-defined Erdős-Bacon Number of 6 or less.
Various webapps from over the years that use simple statistical NLP in fun ways.
From American computer scientists to German theologians via Danish linguists!
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