About Myself


Email: snmatsuba@gmail.com


Books: The Dubliners, After Dark, Book of the Five Rings, Visual Explanations, The Zen of Fish, Heartbreak House, Troilus and Cressida.

Writers: Bernard Shaw, William Shakespeare, James Joyce, D.T. Suzuki, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oscar Wilde, Philip Kerr

Quote: The flow of things can always be seen if one’s intelligence is good. (Miyamoto Musashi).

Food: sushi, salt-grilled mackerel, insalata pomodoro, yorkshire pudding, peking duck, fresh Dungeness crab, Yagyu beef, noodles (various kinds).

Activities: soaking in a Japanese onsen, keiko with new people, reading about Japanese sword techniques, sipping a fine scotch, cooking, trying new things, watching anime, chambara and British sitcoms, researching in a new area,sitting in the dining car of a train and watching the world go by while I eat.

Travel Desinations: Takatamachi (video), Yume, Paris, Enschede, Prague, Rome (video), Milan (video), Perugia (video), London, New York, New Orleans.


I am living a life that is full.

I began pursuing a career geared towards academe. I earned my B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of British Columbia in English Literature. It was while doing my Masters degree that I exposed to computer technology as a research tool. I began using the Internet when access was through Gopher and WAIS, having a 2400 baud modem was considered cutting edge, and carrying around a portable computer needed you to be a gorilla.

While my research interests were firmly in the area of computer-assisted literary research, my Masters thesis followed a more traditional mode. But when I went to York University (Toronto) to start my doctoral studies, I was determined to pursue my interest in computer assisted literary research. My proposal when I made my application to York University followed my interest in bibliography and the transmission of text.

But while I was doing my course work at York, I had a conversation with Dr. Willard McCarthy—then with the Humanities Research Centre at the University of Toronto—about where humanities computing was heading. He talked about a discussion thread on the HUMANIST newsgroup about whether a computer program could be developed that finds allusions in a text. I replied that it was simply a matter of pattern matching. But then Willard gave me the following case:

But what do you do in the case of someone who says, “This passage in Shakespeare deals with war, women and morality. This is an obvious allusion to the Trojan Wars”?

I was stumped. This example required more than simple pattern matching. While the reference involved specific texts, the association was not to a specific passage but to an overall conceptualization of these texts. I would later come to realize that such a computer program would not only involve pattern recognition; it would also require elements of knowledge representation, semantic processing, and a number of other elements of artificial intelligence and cognitive science.

Thus I changed my dissertation topic and began my work in computational linguistics and literary studies. I attended the first Prague Summer School in Computational Linguistics in 1991 and began my studies in linguistics at York University and Glendon College. I successfully completed my field exams in discourse analysis and Renaissance literature and began working on my dissertation.

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Copyright ©2008 by Stephen Naoyuki Matsuba. All rights reserved.