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Harry Howard

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 ? 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 the LEGO 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.



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  • New bio, finally!
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  • Office hours for Fall 2014: MW 1-2pm, T 4-5pm

last update August 25, 2014



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322D Newcomb HallTulane UniversityNew Orleans, LA 70118504-862-3417howard at tulane dot edu