Originally, I am a mathematician (graduated in Budapest, Hungary, in 1979), but I turned into a computer scientist after my graduation. I joined the Computing and Automation Institute (SZTAKI) of Budapest in 1979. I then left Hungary in 1986; after having spent 3 years in a private software house called “Insotech Consult GmbH” (which, unfortunately, went down the drain since…) in Munich, Germany, I joined the Centre for Mathematics and Computer Sciences (CWI) in Amsterdam in 1988 as a senior researcher. I also received a PhD in Leiden, the Netherlands, in 1989. All in all, I spent 21 years as a “traditional” computer science researcher, working mainly on Computer Graphics. I then joined the staff of the World Wide Web Consortium (while maintaining my position at CWI), in January 2001, where I served as Head of Offices until June 2006. Between June 2006 and September 2013 I was Semantic Web Activity Lead, and I am currently Digital Publishing Activity Lead. If you want more details on my professional life, you can look at my home page at W3C or “professional” CV (though the latter is just a boring list of projects and references…).
I am married, and have a grown-up son, David. My wife, Éva, is a researcher in history remotely attached mainly to the Corvinus University in Budapest, while David has finished his Master’s studies at the Conservatorium of Amsterdam as a classical pianist, and also has a Master’s degree in Culture Management from the University of Antwerpen.
You may wonder about my nationality: well, I was born in Hungary and lived there until 1986 but, due to a complicated family background, I am a mixture of French and Hungarian. I hold both passports, my bedtime stories were in French, I made my studies in Hungarian, I have family in both places… As you may imagine, this was still a bit of a touchy situation until the end of the 80’s but, thanks to the changes of more recent times, today it is merely a curiosity. It is difficult to say which country I really “belong” to, obviously. Although I may probably a bit more Hungarian than French, nevertheless the easiest is to say that I am a European, and that’s about it, and I am emotionally more and more bound to Aix-en-Provence. As for my age: well, I am over 60 now, and let us leave it at that…
In my free time I love reading literature of all kinds. I also love listening to music. I’m primarily a classical music fan (although, I must admit, my taste seems to be incompatible with most of contemporary classical music). But not only; I like jazz, blues, and I still love to listen to some of the jazz-rock music of my youth. I’ve also discovered traditional Indian music, which is indeed fantastic to listen to. I am very interested in history and in politics; wherever I am, I try to keep up with the news, I also try to understand local history, cultural backgrounds, etc. I must say that one of the many exciting aspects of my current job is to work with an incredible wide range of people (W3C has offices more than 17 different countries from Australia to the United Kingdom, and from Morocco to Korea; there are also around 15 different nationalities represented in the W3C staff to which I belong!).
Art in general, primarily literature, architecture, classical painting, or sculptures, are among my favorite pass time. I am blessed to belong to cities that have wonderful, though different, architectures; and I try never to miss the opportunity to visit
architectural landmarks or major musea when I travel. I also discovered Asian art (mainly Chinese, Korean, or Japanese painting, but also Indian and Indonesian sculptures, for example) a few years ago although I am very, very far from being a connoisseur. The classical Book of the Tea by Kakuzo Okakura was probably one of the readings which made me discover this world, but my numerous trips to East Asia since have enriched me tremendously. I believe there are lots of things we in the West ought to learn from there. (I even got inspired in my professional life: some times ago I published a paper with a colleague on what we called “Minimal Graphics” in an IEEE journal. Originally, we wanted to start a European Union research project on this, but it was turned down as industrially irrelevant…). I am also quite fond of the Australian Aboriginal Art although, again, I am really only a naïve amateur. But what I saw when I was lucky enough to go to Australia is breathtaking.
Ivan Herman; I also have a public Foaf file; the URI
http://www.ivan-herman.net/mehereby identifies the person named Ivan Herman, and who owns these pages.