For the summer of 1987 I had two programming internship job offers. One — the one I accepted — was from Nathaniel Borenstein, who’d been my professor for a comparative programming languages course and liked my take on the design for an e-mail filtering language
, which is what the school’s Information Technology Center (ITC) would pay me to implement. The other was to work on a speech recognition project with a different Carnegie Mellon researcher, Kai-Fu Lee. That project had a strong artificial-intelligence flavor, which appealed to me at the time; but after a semester as Nathaniel’s student I knew and liked him, whereas I’d met Kai-Fu Lee only once, for the job interview. That meeting was cordial enough, but I went with the known quantity and the rest is history
I next heard of Dr. Lee in the 90’s, when he was a senior researcher for Microsoft. He made headlines when he fled Microsoft for Google — just as I did a few years later.
Now comes the news that Kai-Fu Lee is leaving Google. That’s too bad for Google, but at least we still have Al Spector — who was Nathaniel’s old boss and mine at the ITC!