| The various areas of
research appear below in approximate time order with the most recent
first. There has been considerable overlap between projects at various
Theory of Mind
This area of research has been a long collaboration with Sam Adams in
IBM Research. The problem we attacked was how to model a theory of
mind in which a General Artificial Intelligence (AGI) system is assumed
to be embodied, i.e., it has internal and external sensory input and it
is in constant active interaction with a changing world. We also took
the position that AGI is not possible without modeling "emotion" (i.e.,
"superstition" and "forgetfulness." (Those words are in quotes
because they are only approximations of the more formal properties we
This work was presented by Sam Adams at the 2007
Singularity Summit in San Francisco, Sept. 8-9, Transcript
and slides, audio
of presentation, video
interview and commentary
are on line.
- Adams, S.S. & Burbeck, S. Beyond
the Octopus: Towards a human like mind. A Chapter in Theoretical
Foundations of Artificial General Intelligence (by Pei Wang and Ben
Goertzel) Atlantis Press, Paris, 2012, ISBN: 9789491216619. A
relatively late draft of whch is available here.
- Latta, C., Alvarado, N., Adams, S.S., & Burbeck, S. An expressive system for animating characters or
endowing robots with affective displays. In L. Canamero & R.
Aylett, (Eds.), Animating Expressive Characters for Social
Interactions. UK: Advances in Consciousness Research Series, John
- Adams, S.S., Alvarado, N., Burbeck, S. & Latta, C.
(2002). Bootstrapping semantics in an autonomic
computing system. Fourth International Workshop on Computational
Semiotics for Intelligent Systems, Joint Conference on Information
Systems (JCIS), Chapel Hill, NC. An expanded version will be published
as a chapter in a book based on the proceedings, edited by A. Meystel,
to be published by John Wiley & Sons.
- Alvarado, N., Adams, S.S., Burbeck, S. & Latta, C.
(2002). Beyond the Turing Test:
Performance metrics for evaluating a computer simulation of the human
mind. Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on
Development and Learning (ICDL02), Cambridge, MA, IEEE Computer
- Adams, S.S., S. Burbeck, N. Alvarado, and C. Latta. Project Joshua Blue:
common sense via common experience, IBM Research, USA, in AAAI Fall
Symposium on Anchoring Symbols to Sensor Data in Single and Multiple
Robot Systems, Online
Proceedings, October, 2001
Archiving Digital Records
From 2006 through 2008 I worked with the Collaborative
Electronic Records Project (CERP), a joint effort of the digital
archiving groups at The Rockefeller
Archive Center and the Smithsonian
Historical archives differ from corporate email archives. Historical
archives must be preserved for much longer, they must deal with
messages generated by a much more diverse set of email systems, and
records must be preserved in a way that they can be interpretable
decades hence. We designed and built a working prototype system that
converted email in the common .mbox format to an XML representation
conforming to the
Mail-Account schema, a general XML schema co-developed with the
North Carolina State Archives. The code, which is in Squeak Smalltalk,
is open source and freely available here.
Archiving Conference Presentations
The CERP project was completed December, 2008. The work has been
presented at several archiving conferences. Examples include:
Dilemmas: Archiving E-mail, Spring Meeting of the Society of North
Carolina Archivists, Raleigh, NC, March 7, 2008.
- More Than One Way to Meet the Challenge: Systematic
Approaches to the Capture and preservation of Complex Digital
Artifacts, The Midwest Archiving Conference 2008 Annual Meeting,
Louisville, KY, April 17-19, 2008.
on Digital Dilemmas: Archiving E-Mail, Association of Canadian
Archivists, Annual Conference, June 10, 2008 - Fredericton, New
- Society of American Archivists Annual Conference, 2008,
Capturing the E-Tiger; New Tools for Email Preservation, August
The Interface Between Biology and Computing
As many have noted, computing systems and biological systems exhibit
similar characteristics (see for example, this 2005 National
Academy Report). Both fields are especially relevant these days, as
is the interface between them. Researchers in each field find metaphors
from the other field useful. Biologists increasingly use computers in
their work. The new biological area called "Systems Biology" is
strongly dependent upon computational techniques. And insights about
how very complex biological systems are architected can give computing
researchers ideas about how to design and manage complex computing
especially those immersed in the Web.
- Burbeck & Jordan, K. An assessment of the role of
computing in systems biology. In the IBM Journal of Research and
Issue on Systems Biology, K. Jordan & S. Burbeck, Guest
Editors. Volume 50, Number 6, 2006.
Complexity and the Evolution of Computing, 2004
- Burbeck, Brown, P., Brown, K., Chamberlin, D., Eckman, B.,
Kriechbaum, W., Rice. J. & Tenner, J. Database Directions for
Systems Biology. IBM Academy of Technology Workshop Report, AR#161,
- Burbeck. Evolution of Multicellular Computing: Parallels
with Multicellular Life (pdf).
Seminar presentation, Department of Computer Science, University of
Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, Dec, 21, 2009.
- Jordan, K. & Burbeck. What is Systems Biology: an
Opportunity for Computational Science, Math and Engineering. Joint SIAM-SMB Conference on
the Life Sciences, Raleigh, NC., July 31 - August 4, 2006.
- Burbeck. TII/Vanguard
on The Challenge of Complexity, Los Angeles, September 27-28, 2004
- Burbeck. An assessment of Computational Systems Biology
from a computing perspective (presentation
Genentech/CMEA Ventures Symposium on Systems Biology, San Francisco,
- Catalyzing Inquiry at the Interface of Computing and
Biology, J. C. Wooley & H. S. Lin, The National Academies Press,
2005. Preface and Table of Contents available here
(pdf). Discussion of the multicellular metaphor here.
- Bio-2003, Published by Burrill & Co., San Francisco,
Service Oriented Architectures
(SOA), Web Services and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Software
To some this juxtaposition of topics may seem strange. What they share
is that they are different varieties of distributed (what I now call
multicellular) systems. SOA and Web Services seem at first to be much
more structured than P2P software. But they simply exploit different
kinds of structure. Tim O'Reilly makes
a similar case. The messaging between P2P nodes is quite structured
even though the identity of the collaborating systems is unknown in
advance. My earliest work on this topic was at IBM Research where I
investigated the scaling properties of a random
forwarding message architecture for distributing information in
randomly connected networks. That work was done in 1997, before P2P
file sharing burst upon the scene.
- Burbeck, Peer-to-Peer Computing, IBM Academy of Technology
Workshop Report, July 16, 2001
- Burbeck, The
of e-business services. IBM DeveloperWorks website, October, 2000
- Burbeck & Steve Graham, Creating
environments in a service-oriented architecture, IBM DeveloperWorks
website, December, 2000
- Burbeck & Sam S. Adams. Resource
allocation in a fully decentralized market of agents: the mini-mart
approach. (Internal IBM Whitepaper), 1998.
Peer-to-Peer Summit, San Francisco, September 19, 2000. -- invited
participant. Some raw notes from that summit are available here.
- Intel Peer-to-Peer Working Group (San Jose, October, 2000)
- World Internet Center "Thinktank on Peer-to-Peer" (Palo
Alto, March, 2001) Keynote Address
- European Conference on Peer-to-Peer (Amsterdam, February,
2001) -- Speaker
- O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference (San Francisco, February
14-16, 2001) -- Program Committee and Panel
International Management Institute Conference on Peer-to-Peer Software
(Sophia Atipolis, France, March, 2001) Speaker
- O'Reilly Peer-to-Peer Conference (Washington DC, November,
2001) -- speaker ( see
- Peer-to-Peer: Harnessing the Power of Disruptive
Technologies, Andrew Oram, Nelson Minar & Clay Shirky, O'Reilly
& Associates, 2001
Open-Source Software (OSS)
A great deal of credit for IBM's current good standing in the OSS
community is due to the two guys
James Barry and Yen-Ping Shan, who in 1998 formed the alliance
between IBM and Apache. That very successful project became the
existence proof that getting IBM to participate in OSS was possible, if
far from easy. As it turned out, Shan took so many arrows in his back
that he left IBM soon thereafter.
The Apache deal was a tactical move that was driven in large part by
the fact that IBM's own Web Serving software was losing out to both
Microsoft's IIS and Apache. I was one of the small group of very early
leaders within IBM (where there's never just one leader) arguing that
it would be strategically advantageous for IBM to fully embrace
open-source software and fold it into IBM's business wherever possible.
I participated in the Corporate Task Force that formed IBM's Linux
strategy and led the group in 1999 (together with Dan Frye under the
auspices of the Corporate Technology Council), that developed the
corporate strategy and the business case for IBM to embrace Open Source
software. It was bad form then, and perhaps even now, to explicitly
acknowledge that the strategy was aimed primarily at Microsoft and, to
some degree, at Sun. However, since I instigated and led the strategy
team and wrote the majority of the resulting report to the CTC, I can
the 2002 ZDNet story had it mostly right when they said,
"Open-source, widely viewed as a way for the development community to
participate in the evolution of software that's owned by nobody but
shared by everyone, was now a competitive weapon..." Much of the rest
of that article is accurate too.
Getting IBM to take a bold strategic leap is a bit like mating with a
female Black Widow spider. The anecdotes in the
last section of this Salon story give the flavor of the infighting
and misunderstandings that the OSS revolution stirred up within IBM. It
mentions just a few of the players and tends to get their roles wrong
to boot. But IBM is so large, riven by rivalries, and confused that it
would be a massive undertaking to reconstruct an accurate history. Now
that Open Source has completely remade the landscape of the Software
Industry, everyone who could possibly make a claim to be involved
fancies that their efforts, or their executive decisions, were
instrumental in that success. Credit tends to be attributed to those
with access to the biggest megaphone: IBM's corporate PR machine.
- Burbeck, Capek, P., et al. Open-Source Software:
Implications for IBM. IBM Academy of Technology Report (IBM
Confidential), September, 1999.
My interest in Smalltalk and Object-Oriented Software began in 1985
when a small group I led at the Linus Pauling Institute ported Xerox
PARC's Smalltalk-80 to the IBM PC-AT. We then spun out a little company
(long since defunct) to commercialize that port. One thing led to
another and it became a central focus for my work until the late '90s
- Burbeck & S. G. Graham. Implementation
of a Design Virtual Machine. IBM Technical Report, 1998.
- Burbeck & S. G. Graham. A design virtual machine for
static analysis of Smalltalk. IBM Technical Report, 1998.
- Burbeck. Real-Time
Complexity Metrics for Smalltalk Methods. IBM Systems Journal,
35(2), pp. 204-226, 1996
- Burbeck. Using
Signatures to Improve Smalltalk Productivity and Reuse, 1995.
- Adams, Sam S., & Burbeck. Software Assets by Design. Object
Magazine, October, 1992.
- Burbeck. Collecting the Garbage: An Annotated AppleLink
Discussion. Frameworks, 3(4), 1989, 19-26.
- Burbeck. What is Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Apple
Developer's Group Newsletter, 7, 1989, 21-25.
- Burbeck. MacApp: Apple's Object-Oriented Toolbox. APDAlog,
Winter 1989, 14-18.
- Burbeck. Applications programming in Smalltalk-80: How to
use Model-View-Controller (MVC). Softsmarts, Inc. 1987/1992. (available
A Russian language translation is
available. There is also a useful discussion
of the MVC architecture pattern at Microsoft Developer Network and another discussion
of the paradigm in Ruby on Rails.
- OOPSLA-86 (the first ACM Conference on Object Oriented
Programming) -- Executive Committee
- OOPSLA-87 -- Program Committee, Technical Reviewer
- MacWorld (Boston '88 and 89, and San Francisco '89) --
- SCOOP '89 -- "OOP: Past, Present & Future" panel
- Software '89 -- Object-Oriented Programming panel
- SCOOP '90 -- Workshop on OO Analysis and Design
- C++ at Work '90 -- Workshop on OO Analysis and Design
- Software Development (Santa Clara '92) -- Speaker
- ObjectExpo (New York City '92) -- Speaker
- IBM International Conference on Object Technology (San
Francisco, June 1996) Speaker
- Object-Oriented Information Systems. David Taylor. John
Wiley & Sons, 1992.
- Developing Object-Oriented Software for the Macintosh:
Analysis, Design, and Programming. Neal Goldstein & Jeff Alger.
Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1992.
- Object-Oriented Analysis. Peter Coad & Edward Yourdan.
Yourdan Press, 1991.
- Object-Oriented Design. Peter Coad & Edward Yourdan.
Yourdan Press, 1991.
- Programming with MacApp. David A. Wilson, Larry S.
Rosenstein & Dan Shafer. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1990.
From 1980 to 1988, I directed the scientific computing group at the
Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in Palo Alto, CA. That
group helped to pioneer techniques for computerized quantitative
analysis and identification of proteins separated in 2-D PAGE gels --
what is now a part of the field of Proteomics. I also collaborated with
Emile Zuckerkandl on DNA sequence analysis research (unpublished)
using novel Fourier Analysis techniques. We sought to find repetitive
short sequence motifs at the period of the nucleosome (165 - 200 bp) in
regions of the genome containing human globin genes. However the
globin DNA sequences available at that time were too short to obtain
reliable results. Recently such
periodicity has been found by "wet lab" techniques. I also
collaborated with other LPI researchers on several other bioinformatics
- Leavitt, J., Sun-Yu Ng, Varma, M., Latter, G., Burbeck,
Gunning, P. & Kedes, L. Expression of Transfected Mutant beta-actin
genes: Transitions toward the stable tumorigenic state. Molecular
and Cellular Biology, 7, 1987, 2467-2476. (PubMed)
- Ross, M., Latter, G., Burbeck, & Leavitt, J. Reduced
area two-dimensional gels for direct digital imaging of radioactive
protein profiles. Electrophoresis, 8, 1987, 249-250.
- Leavitt, J., Sun-Yu Ng, Aebi, U., Varma, M., Latter, G.,
Burbeck, Kedes, L., & Gunning, P. Expression of transfected mutant
beta-actin genes: Alterations of cell morphology and evidence for
autoregulation in actin pools. Molecular and Cellular Biology,
7, 1987, 2457-2466. (PubMed)
- Burbeck. The complexity of computerized microdensitometry:
Implication for the design of a 2D-gel workstation. Invited paper
presented to the EMBL 2D-Gel Workshop, European Molecular Biology
Laboratory, Heidleberg, Germany, March 1986.
- Leavitt, J., Latter, G., Lutomski, L., Goldstein, D. &
Burbeck. Tropomyosin isoform switching in tumorigenic human
fibroblasts. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 6, 1986,
- Goldstein, D., Djeu, J., Latter, G., Burbeck, &
Leavitt, J. Abundant synthesis of the transformation-induced protein of
neoplastic human fibroblasts, plastin, in normal lymphocytes. Cancer
Research, 45, 1985, 5643-5647. (PubMed)
- Burbeck, G. I. Latter, E. Metz & J. Leavitt. Neoplastic Human Fibroblast Proteins are
Related to Epidermal Growth Factor Precursor. Proc. National
Academy of Sciences. USA, 81, 1984, 5360-5363.
- Latter, G., Burbeck, Fleming, J. & Leavitt, J. Identification of Polypeptides
on Two-dimensional Electrophoresis Gels by computerized Amino Acid
Analysis. Clinical Chemistry, 30(12), 1984, 1925-1932.
- Latter, G., Burbeck, Fleming, J., Metz, E. & Leavitt,
J. Measurement of amino acid composition by computerized
microdensitometry: An aid in the identification of proteins on 2-D
gels. Paper presented to the 4th annual conference on 2-D
Electrophoresis, Argonne National Laboratories, June, 1984.
- Burbeck. Direct
digital imaging of radio-labeled 2-D gel beta emissions using
micro-channel plate image enhancement. Electrophoresis, 4,
- Burbeck, G. I. Latter, E. Metz & J. Leavitt.
Simultaneous Amino Acid Analysis of 100 Polypeptides in 2-D Gels by
Computerized Microdensitometry. Paper presented at Electrophoresis '83,
- G. I. Latter, E. Metz, Burbeck & J. Leavitt. Measurement
amino acid composition of proteins by computerized microdensitometry of
two dimensional electrophoresis gels. Electrophoresis, 4,
- R. Marcuson, Burbeck, R. L. Emond, G. I. Latter, & W.
Aberth. Normalization and reproducibility of mass profiles in the
detection of individual differences from urine. Clinical Chemistry,
28, 1982, 1346-1348.
Mathematical Cognitive Psychology
This was the field of my PhD dissertation under Professor
Duncan Luce at UC Irvine and Harvard University. My coursework and
dissertation writing occurred at UC Irvine. The experimental portion of
the research was done at Harvard with Duncan Luce and Dave Green (in
wonderful William James Hall). I developed novel statistical techniques
for using hazard functions to analyze reaction time distributions. For
an up-to-date list of references to that work, Google [Burbeck Luce
hazard "Reaction time"].
- Burbeck. Recovering decision latency distributions from
reaction time experiments. Paper presented to the Acoustical Society of
America, Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, Pennsylvania, June
Upon finishing a BA in mathematics at California State University, Long
Beach, I joined a research project (the Urban Disorder Project) that
was investigating the internal dynamics of the large scale urban race
riots in the '60s, e.g., the Watts Riot in Los Angeles. That research
involved mathematical modeling and statistical analysis of census data
and detailed spatial/temporal data on many of the individual "riot
events" such as arson, looting, rock throwing, etc. See Clark McPhail's
for background and a short description of the results of this project
in the section titled "Temporal and Spatial Variation."
- Burbeck, W. J. Raine, M. J. Abudu Stark. The dynamics of
riot growth: An epidemiological approach. Journal of Mathematical
Sociology, 6, 1978, 1-22.
- M. J. Abudu Stark, W. J. Raine, Burbeck, & K. K.
Davison. Some empirical patterns on a riot process. American
Sociological Review, 39, 1974, 865-876.
- S. M. Moinat, W. J. Raine, & Burbeck. Black ghetto
residents as rioters. Journal of Social Issues, 28, 1972, 45-62
- W. J. Raine, M. J. G. Abudu, Burbeck, & K. K. Davison.
Black ghetto violence: A case study inquiry into the spatial patterns
of four Los Angeles event types. Social Problems, 19, 1972,
and system for synchronizing code with design. Filed December 19,
1996, Granted March 16, 1999. Patent No. 5,884,081.
and method for categorizing services using canonical service
descriptions. Filed January, 2001, Published July 4, 2002.
Coauthors: Hondo, M. Casler, J.B. Boubez, T.T., Graham, S.G.
Tracking in Transient Network Communities. Filed March 27, 2002,
Granted, June 27, 2006. Coauthor: Wesley, A., Patent No.7,069,318.
node reputations in transient network communities. Filed March 27,
2002, Granted, February 13, 2007. Coauthor: Wesley, A., Patent
peer relationships in transient communities. Filed March 27, 2002,
Granted, February 20, 2007. Coauthor: Wesley, A., Patent No.7,181,536.
and apparatus for processing workflow through a gateway. Filed July
24, 2002, Granted September 12, 2006. Coauthors: Casler, J.B., Boubez,
T.T., Graham, S.G., Miller, S., Patent No. 7,107,333.
tiers in decentralized networks. Filed March 27, 2002, Granted
November 28, 2006. Coauthor Wesley, A. Patent No. 7,143,139.
node reputatuions in transient network communities. Filed March 27,
2002, :Granted February 13, 2007. Coauthor Wesley, A. Patent No.
for sharing ontology information in a peer-to-peer network. Filed
June, 2004., Published February 9, 2006.
- System and method for performing service discovery using
non-deterministic fallible forwarding. Filed June, 2000. Coauthors:
Adams, S. S. & Graham, S. G.
- Apparatus and method for ebusiness service brokerage.
Filed September, 2000. Coauthors: Hondo, M., Casler, J.B., Boubez,
T.T., Graham, S.G.
and method for verifying categorization of services using canonical
service description tests. Filed January, 2001. Coauthors: Hondo,
M., Casler, J.B., Boubez, T.T., Graham, S.G.
taxonomy crawler apparatus and method related applications. Filed
January, 2001, Granted July 4, 2002. Coauthors: Hondo, M.,
Casler, J.B., Boubez, T.T., Graham, S.G. Patent No. 20020087374