About Me – Anders Øland

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About Me

I am a Grammy Award-winning songwriter & music producer, now turned computer scientist…

My name is Anders Oland. I wrote my first song when I was 7, and my first BASIC program when I was 10. When I was 20 I wrote an international no. 1 hit song, and five years later I won my first Grammy Award.

Now, I am living out my old dream of studying computer science. Since August 2012 I am a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon University.




Anders Øland (Oland): anderso [AT] cs [DOT] cmu [DOT] edu


—>> NOTE: This page is under construction…  <<—



Once a rock star…?

I grew up in wonderful Copenhagen, the capitol of Denmark (and the Paris of Scandinavia, if you ask me).

Music: Commodore 64

I wrote my first song at age seven, but it wasn’t until I got my Commodore 64 (after months of saving) that I really started composing seriously. The C64 had only 3 notes of polyphony, a filter, ring modulation and four waveforms (sine, triangle, square and saw) – but there was just something magical about the music we were able to squeeze out of it. When I was about 12-13 years old I became a part of the demoscene which had grown around the C64. You can see some goofy pictures of me and my keeeeewl demo-hacking-cracking-group here, my alias is Zonix.

Music: Pop

This some of the pop music I am resposible for:


Barcode Brothers Live, July 2011

Music: Rock

After my pop adventure began to decay, I felt that I was standing at an important crossroad in my life: either I should take up studying (something I always wanted to do) – or start doing music in a new way. I chose the latter. So, I picked up a guitar, changed my studio into a rock studio, and set out on a long journey to explore and challenge the borders of my own musicality.

In my pop career I always felt somewhat unfulfilled – as an artist as well as a person. There had to be more to music than just hunting for that ever illusive “hit”.

Trying to figure out the accordion

I was fortunate enough to be in a position where I could afford to not focus too much on the commercial aspects of my musical enterprise. My studio became a playground for my friends and me, and I was able to re-educate, rediscover, and reinvent myself as a producer, singer and songwriter.

However, when I finally finished my solo album, SOMETIMEBOY in november 2008 I soon realized that I simply was not hungry anymore. Not enough anyway. I had already experienced success, so I knew what it is – and also what it is not, and I did not need to prove anything to myself.

Thus, I decided that it was finally time for me to realize my old dream of studying computer science…



Where my hunger for success with music had been fed – my hunger and thirst for knowledge and intellectual stimulation had not (I guess reading Dostojevskij and playing chess in the tour bus didn’t quite suffice). So, at the ripe age of 34 I went back to school. I did my undergrad at the IT University of Copenhagen, and my Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University.

Machine Learning

My first book about neural networks, MIT Press 1988

When I was fifteen I stumbled across a book about artificial intelligence at the local library. It had a chapter about artificial neural networks – I was hooked, instantly. I even ordered McClelland’s & Rumelhart’s, Explorations in Parallel Distributed Processing, all the way from the U.S. And I had wet dreams about implementing AI agents in games on the C64 and Amiga. That did not happen – but my interest in machine learning had been ignited.

Years later, when I was still doing music, I made a new friend, Anders Christian Kolle, who was a former drummer, now studying CS and specializing in machine learning. He put me up to date with some of the more recent developments in the area, such as Independent Component Analysis and reinforcement learning. We had long discussions about ML and music, and without having a deep theoretical understanding, I developed a good intuition.

These days, I am writing my Ph.D. thesis on Efficient Deep Learning.