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Kevin Leyton-Brown
Works at University of British Columbia
Attended Stanford University
Lives in Vancouver, BC
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Kevin Leyton-Brown

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Today Jude and I flew to Saltspring Island for my 40th birthday. I got to sit in the cockpit of the floatplane! We got a bit carried away and made a hyperlapse movie of the trip. Also, we saw a U2 concert yesterday, which explains the soundtrack :-)
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Certainly the best video made on an iphone by me. Also the first.
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An interesting (and probably controversial) argument that flies in the face of conventional wisdom about bias in STEM hiring. The upshot: a very prominent paper, published in PNAS and reported in InsideHigherED, reveals "an overall 2 to 1 preference for hiring women over otherwise identical men" in STEM disciplines (except, interestingly, among male economists!)
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You're right--it's a balanced take, and the quote is hilarious. Slate Star Codex strikes again...
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A reminder that the traditional political fault lines are artificial, and that the world is a much more complicated place...
Evangelical Christians are one of the few groups liberals mock openly. Here’s why that is wrongheaded.
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Judgments are easy, actions much harder.
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Happy Pi day! Tomorrow morning (3/14/15, 9:26:53 AM, to be precise), take a second to reflect on the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter.
Pi’s combination of utility and enigma is the perfect metaphor for the subject.
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An interesting article on gender in education. "The message you get is that girls around the world don’t get a chance in education, but that is not true for most of the world [...] Boys around the world don’t do well in education. What surprises me is the lack of eagerness to solve the problems that boys face. [...] What will be the implication for society 20 years down the line, given that men have a larger potential for violent action? Shouldn’t we actually be worried about this?"
A report from the O.E.C.D. revives an old debate about girls’ math abilities, while it raises questions about boys’ overall educational achievements.
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Seems like MRA cant.
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If you're interested in the intersection between feminism and nerd culture, the following recent internet brooha may be worth investigating. +Scott Aaronson, a prominent MIT computer scientist, recently made a blog post about MIT's removal of a popular set of physics videos from OpenCourseware, because the professor was accused of sexually harassing an online student. The extensive comments eventually morphed into a discussion of the role of privilege in nerd culture, due to the advocacy of a feminist viewpoint by a very articulate and nuanced commenter called "Amy". In response, Scott wrote an honest and moving discussion of his own struggles in the past (http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2091#comment-326664). I recommend reading particularly this comment (#171), and also some of the previous and subsequent posts by Amy (and pretty much ignoring the comments from everyone else, which are unexceptional). Scott's comment was picked up by the Twittersphere, prompting a great deal of hating on Scott. Here's a widely-read hating article (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/12/mit-professor-explains-the-real-oppression-is-having-to-learn-to-talk-to-women/) and a widely-read sympathetic-but-still-problematic one (http://www.newstatesman.com/laurie-penny/on-nerd-entitlement-rebel-alliance-empire). All of this was the subject of a long follow-up by Scott Alexander (note, a different person), which I think was just fantastic and--while not impossible to criticize in various details--says many things that we all need to spend more time thinking about. That's the article quoted below (http://slatestarcodex.com/2015/01/01/untitled/). Finally, I'll give the last word to Scott Aaronson: "If you’ve been following this at all, then please, please, please read Scott Alexander’s tour-de-force post. It’s long, but every section is rubies encrusted in gold. To understand what it was like for me to read this, after all I’ve been through the past few days, try to imagine Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, the American Declaration of Independence, John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women, and Clarence Darrow’s closing arguments in the Scopes trial all rolled into one, except with you as the protagonist."(http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=2119)
[trigger warning: social justice, condemnation of some feminism, tangential reference to eating disorder. Note that although our names are very similar, I am NOT the same person as Scott Aaronson a...
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Thanks for the article--I think it's very reasonable, and it made me laugh out loud in two places (where I agreed with her). I do think she somewhat misses his point--he was describing an experience that he thinks is more common than acknowledged, and the online response bears this out; she seems to think he was offering a comment on feminism and how it needs to react to men's expressions of past hardships. But all that said, I enjoyed what she had to say.
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Kevin Leyton-Brown

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As many of you will know, academics get a lot of borderline-spam inviting us to submit work to conferences we've never heard of. But I quite enjoyed the intro to this one:

*** You are cordially invited to present your recent achievements to IEEE DSAA’2015 ****
*** Apologize if this email bothers you ***

...I hereby apologize. I hope it won't happen again :-)
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This is pretty remarkable. Apparently, call centers now often don't have humans speaking to you. Instead, a person chooses responses from a menu, and a recording then reads you a corresponding snippet. The main motivation is to alleviate the need for English skills among call center employees, as well as to ensure consistency. It's a funny gray area between AI and humans. I wonder how long it will be until humans are out of the loop? Already, one call center employee can manage 2 or 3 conversations simultaneously.
Americans are fielding millions of calls from bright, energetic telemarketers, but what they don't know is that they're talking to machines... Sort of. 
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Good point! And if they weren't, someone will be doing this before long...
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Dean Ornish draws together a bunch of different research to make things look pretty bad for animal protein as a dominant part of our diets...
Sugar isn’t the only villain. The hazards of meat are understated.
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In case you've ever wondered what gmail looks like when you succeed in clearing your inbox... #YeahBaby  
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Enjoy, but there's more where it came from
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“The best universities in the world are now judged by the quality of their computer science departments.” By that measure, apparently, Yale isn't coming off well.
One of the world's top universities in most respects, Yale has fallen way behind in computer science
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An interesting, contrarian perspective: it's not actually that hard to get into a top school for undergrad.
Admission rates are misleading: It’s not that fewer students are accepted; it’s that applications have run riot.
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The `top' 20 collectively enroll around 20K students. Harvard gets 30K applicants, of which about 10K can be summarily tossed (don't recall where I heard this). About 1K will be admitted and the remaining 19K will probably end up at the 19 other institutions in the top 20.
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Have him in circles
785 people
Judy Goldsmith's profile photo
Steven Wolfman's profile photo
Allison Leyton-Brown's profile photo
Mike Antonelli's profile photo
Carlos Parra's profile photo
Yishay Mansour's profile photo
Rizvan Patel's profile photo
Nurlan Turdaliev's profile photo
Adrian Schefler's profile photo
Work
Occupation
Professor of Computer Science
Employment
  • University of British Columbia
    Professor, 2014 - present
    This is my actual job :-)
  • Auctionomics.com
    Affiliate, 2012 - 2015
    A Silicon Valley startup that offers high stakes auction consulting and software to industry and government.
  • Zynga
    Consultant, 2013 - 2015
  • Kudu
    Co-Founder, 2011 - 2015
  • Meta-Algorithmic Technologies
    Co-Founder, 2014 - 2015
  • Qudos
    Advisor, 2013 - 2015
  • University of British Columbia
    Associate Professor, 2009 - 2014
  • Zite.com
    Scientific Advisor, 2007 - 2011
  • University of British Columbia
    Assistant Professor, 2004 - 2009
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Vancouver, BC
Previously
vancouver - richmond hill - hamilton, ontario - jerusalem, israel - palo alto, california - san francisco, california - kampala, uganda
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Professor of Computer Science, UBC Vancouver
Education
  • Stanford University
    Computer Science, 1998 - 2003
  • McMaster University
    Computer Science, 1994 - 1998
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Gender
Male