Niklas Zechner (born 21 March 1984) is a Swedish scientist and composer. He has recently finished his PhD in computing science at Umeå university.
Early life and education
He was born in Karlskrona, and shortly thereafter moved to Eslöv, where he grew up with his parents and two sisters. He started playing piano at age six, and soon branched out into other instruments. After finishing school, he moved to Lund, where he studied computer science, mathematics, physics and music. In 2007, he moved to Egham in England, to study at Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, where he got his BSc in physics and music after two years. Following that, he returned to Lund, where he continued in the fields of computer science and music, and also studied linguistics. Upon finishing his MSc in computer science, he moved to Umeå where he got a PhD position at Umeå University.
Zechner's area in computer science is a mixture of theoretical and empirical, and has also been influenced by his interest in linguistics. The main focus of his doctoral studies has been text classification, which he worked on in collaboration with the Swedish Defence Research Agency. He also made contributions in automata theory, as well as smaller projects in bioinformatics and music generation. He received his doctorate in 2017, with a thesis titled "A Novel Approach to Text Classification".
Zechner showed an interest in music at an early age, and started playing several instruments as well as writing music. In 1992, he became concertmaster of the Eslöv Music School String Orchestra. A few years later, he played with a rock band, which was seen on stage with such unlikely collaborators as Sven-Ingvars and Lasse Berghagen, and the jazz band Jazzå, mentored by saxophonist Per Bäcker. He wrote several pieces for the latter; one reviewer classified them as "pop-punk-ethno-jazz". During his early university studies, he also studied music history under Sixten Nordström, as well as music theory. Upon returning to Sweden in 2009, he joined the Lund Student Folk Music Orchestra, where he played the key fiddle, and later became musical director. He is presently a member of the pop band R&U and the swing band Avstamp.
In popular culture
Zechner and his fiddle in 2010
Apart from various printed publications, Zechner has also appeared on radio and television. He was heard on the radio in 2017, but had in fact already, in a sense, been seen on the radio. On the webpage of Radio Sweden, the icon for the folk music section shows a picture of Zechner playing the key fiddle.
His first appearance on television was in 2014, when he was seen on Plus, declaring that he does not like coffee.
- "Efficient Algorithms for Subgraph Listing". Master’s thesis, Lund University, 2012.
- "Vocabulary and Syntax in Gender classification". Proceedings of the Fourth Swedish Language Technology Conference, 2012.
- "The Past, Present and Future of Text Classification". A shorter version was published in Proceedings of European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference, 2013.
- "Efficient Algorithms for Subgraph Listing". With Andrzej Lingas. Algorithms, 2014.
- "Compression of finite-state automata through failure transitions". With Henrik Björklund and Johanna Björklund. Theoretical Computer Science, 2014.
- "Effects of Division of Data in Author Identification." Proceedings of the Fifth Swedish Language Technology Conference, 2014.
- "On Computing Best Trees for Weighted Tree Automata". With Johanna Björklund and Frank Drewes. Proceedings of the 3rd Trends in Tree Automata and Tree Transducers, 2015.
- "An Efficient Best-Trees Algorithm for Weighted Tree Automata over the Tropical Semiring". With Johanna Björklund and Frank Drewes. Proceedings of Language and Automata Theory and Applications, 2015.
- “A Novel Approach to Authorship Attribution”. Bachelor’s thesis in linguistics, Uppsala University, 2015.
- "Formal Foundations of Authorship Attribution". Licentiate thesis, Umeå University, 2015.
- "A Preliminary Study on Text-Based Music Generation". Proceedings of the Sixth Swedish Language Technology Conference, 2016.
- "My Name is Legion - Estimating Author Counts Based on Stylistic Diversity". With Johanna Björklund. Proceedings of the European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference, 2016.
- "Efficient Enumeration of Weighted Tree Languages over the Tropical Semiring". With Johanna Björklund and Frank Drewes. Journal of Computer and System Sciences, 2016.
- "Syntactic Methods for Topic-Independent Authorship Attribution". With Johanna Björklund. To appear in Journal of Natural Language Engineering.
- "A Novel Approach to Text Classification". Doctoral thesis. Umeå University, 2017.
- Good Problems. A collection of physics, mathematics and algorithmics problems.