Prof. Howard spent his senior year of college
in Seville, Spain, studying Spanish, German and Arabic and the culture
of Andalucia, and stayed on for two more years teaching English.
He returned to UNC-Chapel Hill to pursue a Master's in linguistics
and then transfered to Cornell to complete a doctorate in Spanish
syntax under the guidance of Margarita Suñer in 1993.
He then taught for three years in the Spanish department at Rutgers
before moving to New Orleans to teach in the Dept. of Spanish and
Portuguese at Tulane University, where he earned tenure.
His dissertation research was on the syntax and semantics of focus movement in
English and Spanish, in the Barriers and Relativized Minimality frameworks. Since
then, he has become more interested in the neurological principles that underlay
grammatical phenomena. He attended the Oxford Summer School in Connectionist
Modeling in 1996, and has given several papers on neural network approaches to
semantics (quantification and coordination) and morphology (Spanish diminutives),
a resarch program that culminated in his monograph Connectionist Semantics:
Neural Networks for Coordination, Quantification and Collective Predicates,
published by Elsevier Scientific.
The Federal Levee Failure of 2005 – you
may know it as hurricanes Katrina and Rita, see levees.org – was
a watershed event in his life and career. After a seven-week evacuation
to his parents' house in Savannah, Ga., he came back to a battered
and prostrate city. He began to help out the best he could, and volunteered
to be a poll commissioner for the Parish of Orleans. Professionally,
he won a grant from the newly created School of Liberal Arts under
Dean George Bernstein to further his research in computational neuroscience
through the creation of the Sociocognitive Robotics Lab, as well
as to advance to the next phase in his research program by attending
a summer course in EEG at Electrical
Geodesics Inc. in Eugene, Or.
Given that his research is heavily invested in
computational modeling, and facing the dissolution of the Dept. of
Computer Science and Electrical Engineering as part of Tulane's response
to the dire circumstances following the Federal
Levee Failure, Prof. Howard began looking for ways to maintain the
teaching of computer programming at Tulane. He won a Duren
Professorship to teach an introduction to programming using
Mindstorms NXT robots in the spring of 2008, and is teaching
a TIDES course, Object-Oriented
Programming through Video Games, using Carnegie Mellon's innovative Alice 3D
programming environment in the fall of 2008.
At Tulane, he is instrumental in bringing informational technology
into the classroom for the teaching of linguistics and foreign
languages. He routinely pod-casts his lectures and posts his Powerpoint
presentations for all to peruse -- see the course homepages in
the left-hand column for pointers.
- New bio, finally!
- Office hours for Fall 2011: MTW 4-5pm
August 26, 2013