I learned to play go in 1983. I played in a club (i.e., against other people who actually knew how to play) for the first time in the late 80's, and began playing more seriously in the mid-90's.
I've slowly worked my way up to AGA 2d (although I play much worse online). I never miss a go congress (beginning with San Francisco, 1999)! It's the best week of the year.
I currently do research in AI and in the complexity of games and puzzles. Unlike some others, I don't actually see these interests as related. One go-related issue I've investigated is the computational complexity of go with the Superko rule, which has been an open problem for more than 20 years. Go with Japanese rules is known to be EXPTIME-complete. With the addition of the superko rule, it could potentially become as easy as PSPACE, or as hard as EXPSPACE. However, the problem is extremely difficult, and I was not able to make much headway. See my Ph.D. thesis, Games, Puzzles, and Computation, for more details.
Before returning to grad school in 1999, I spent 12 years in the software industry, where I co-wrote the program ClarisWorks and sold it to Claris.
KGS id: hearn
Velobici: Bob, do you actually play worse online? Many people have KGS ratings that are significantly below their AGA or EGF rank. See Rank Worldwide Comparison and its discussion page for two tables that try to map ranks/ratings among different systems.
Bob Hearn: Yes, I know KGS ratings are much lower than AGA. I don't know why, though... they used to be pinned. And in fact my 2d corresponds roughly to KGS 4k, and I'm KGS 5k. Nonetheless, I definitely play very carelessly online compared to an AGA-rated tournament game.