Daniel Matthew Albro

04/02/2014 12:00 AM

04/02/2014 12:03 AM

Dr. Daniel Albro, 42, known to family and friends as Dan, passed away Friday, March 14, after a 5-year struggle with cancer. Born to Dr. Phillip Albro and Mrs. Christine Albro in 1971 and raised in Cary, North Carolina, he had been a resident of Southern California since 1995 and lived in Burbank since 2006. Dan is survived by his wife Juanita Albro neé Vargas, son Sean Albro, 16, mother Christine Albro, and three sisters, Amanda Reese, Sarah Zyla, and Susan Salotti.

In grade school Dan started a lifelong interest in language, even inventing his own with its own alphabet, vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. Over his life he studied many languages. For undergraduate school Dan attended MIT, living in the German House language immersion dorm. He earned an S.B. and won the William Martin Memorial Thesis Prize for top undergraduate thesis in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.

After finishing his undergraduate degree, Dan worked for CAS, Inc, in El Paso, Texas, as a computer programmer. He was awarded the Commander's Award for Public Service by the Department of the Army the fourth highest award the Army can award a civilian for his work supporting the Air Defense School at Fort Bliss.

Dan went on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the UCLA Linguistics Department in 2005. Starting as a graduate student, and after completing his Ph.D., he was Chief Scientist at Cognition Technologies and then a software engineer at Google. In these positions he used computational linguistics to enhance search engines, creating a natural language computer model that imitates how the human brain interprets language. While at Cognition, Dan wrote a new version of an interactive tool in a weekend, whereas the original had taken over a year to write. His unusually powerful ability to grasp the most difficult concepts and execute on them was invaluable. He combined this intellect with a kind and friendly personality, which made him an effective leader.

A music lover, Dan started playing the violin at age 5. As an adult he added guitar, mandolin, ukelele, and banjo, and sang basso profundo. He was a model train aficionado with an elaborate layout in his Burbank backyard. Dan was also an assistant Boy Scout leader for Troop 201 in Burbank and spent a lot of time on scout activities to spend quality time with his son. He touched and enriched many lives with his intelligence, sense of humor, and kindness. Dan will be greatly missed.

Donations can be made in Dan’s memory to Doctors Without Borders at donate.doctorswithoutborders.org or to Physicians for Peace at physiciansforpeace.org/give

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