Gene Golovchinsky, 1965 – 2013
Gene was born on August 14, 1965 in Moscow, USSR to Vladimir Golovchinsky and Anna Belostotskaya. When he was 9, Gene, his parents and his brother Konstantin emigrated to the United States, where they settled in the Los Angeles area. In September 2004, Gene married Jill Berman, daughter of Ruth and Barry Berman. They had a son, Theo, in October 2005 just after moving into their new home in Menlo Park. Gene died on August 15, 2013 after a brief illness at the Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA.
Early on, Gene showed great facility with languages and mathematics. He retained and continued to develop his Russian to an adult level even though he was no longer speaking it outside the home. He enjoyed chess and was a member of Santa Monica high school's chess club. Gene took college-level classes at UCLA in high school and then entered UCLA as a sophomore, completing his undergraduate studies to earn a BS in Electrical Engineering. After college, Gene worked at Kaiser Electronics, UCLA, and IBM. Later he went to graduate school at the University of Toronto, where he studied with his PhD advisor Mark Chignell, who also became a close friend of Gene's. During graduate school, he was a visiting scientist at the German National Computer Science Research Institute in Darmstadt, Germany. He was awarded his PhD in Industrial Engineering in 1996.
After graduate school, Gene went to work at FXPAL in Palo Alto. He was an active research scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction and Information Retrieval communities. At the time of his death, he was designing systems to help people satisfy complex collaborative information seeking needs such as those that occur during e-discovery, academic research, and intelligence analysis. In past work at FXPAL, he was a project leader and lead architect of a usable conference room system that controlled a variety of devices and applications to support users' tasks in conference rooms. He had also worked on whiteboard capture and retrieval, collaborative data collection systems, web services platforms for mobile computing, distributed annotation systems, and freeform digital ink annotation for tablet computers. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he worked on a variety of pioneering pen-based tablet applications, including a pen-based document reader and the XLibris active reading appliance. He also designed a client-server annotation storage architecture prototype in use in Fuji Xerox's DocuWorks/ArcSuite product.
Gene's chief passions were his family and his work. In addition, he was an avid photographer, a family genealogist and a member of a model train club. He loved playing board and card games with his family and friends. He passed his love of the Russian language on to his son, who is also fluent in Russian. Throughout his life, Gene collected many friends from his various activities. They remember him as a kind, thoughtful, and intelligent man, and will miss him greatly.
He is survived by his wife Jill and son Theo, his parents, Vladimir and Anna Golovchinsky of Santa Monica, CA, his brother, Konstantin Golovchinsky of Los Angeles, and his mother-in-law, Ruth Berman of Washington DC. For the benefit of future genealogists, he is also survived by his aunt and uncle Olga and Yan Kagan of Encino, CA, his cousin, Max Boot and Max's three children Victoria, Abigail, and Scott of New York, his brother- and sister-in-law, Jonathan Berman and Elisa Rosen, and his niece, Shoshana Berman of Chevy Chase, MD.