I am Associate Professor (Emeritus) in the College of Computer & Information Science at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Welcome! I retired June 30, 2011

Now that I have retired, I'm building a new personal/professional site here. It is in very early stages. It does include material about my new tutoring activities.

I have been involved with science of all kinds since I was a child. This site focuses on recent activities, but reaches back through many years. Follow the links on the left.

My burning interest, for my entire life, has been research -- to explore, ask questions, create answers, and to bring everything I've ever learned to bear on important and exciting areas of science. In doing this, I often "draw outside the lines". The history of science tells us that great things arose when people questioned the status quo. I find this to be true in my own work. I know that the future will be better and different. The question, simply put, is, "What will the future be?" That question is what drives my research.

My wife and children have been major and loving inspirations to me all my adult life.Their role in my life defies any easy description.

The major mission of my lab, the BKL

The Biological Knowledge Laboratory (BKL) the latest incarnation of my research group. It was founded in early 1991, funded by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation. Its mission now, as it was then, is to understand how knowledge of Biology and Medicine is represented and transmitted through the research literature. Since the BKL began, there has been an explosion in the study of text in research papers. However, papers in biomedical areas are replete with important figures (diagrams and images) that show and carry with them important components of the knowledge in papers, knowledge that is difficult or impossible to represent with text alone. In fact, figures and text work hand-in-hand. Only by fully integrating the two do we have any hope of properly representing the knowledge that is there. The ultimate goal of the BKL is to go from papers to knowledge bases. These will allow the retrieval systems that we are all familiar with, with the important addition of figure content. Beyond that we should be able to build systems that reason about this knowledge to aid the progress of science.

The BKL continues, in spirit, as I continue my research, now that I'm retired. I am able to spend much more focused time doing research than I could before retirement.

My email contact is: bob, then dot, then futrelle at the domain gmail.com.