I teach primarily Computer Science courses, primarily programming and artificial intelligence.
My current research interests are in using machine learning for natural language processing. I'm particularly interested in machine learning methods that operate on complex and expressive representations. I have participated in some research in inductive logic programming, but my recent focus has been on using ideas from ILP to develop a learning system that operates on a representation that is more specific to natural language problems. My dissertation discussed RAPIER, a system which learns rules for information extraction, a form of shallow text processing which extracts specified pieces of information from natural language documents. I'm currently focused on two lines of research: I've developed BUFOIDL, a bottom-up system that learns first-order decision lists, and I'm looking at applying the RAPIER representation and algorithm to other problems in natural language learning.
I've recently begun working on a separate line of research, focusing on computer science education.
For more info about me, check out my vita and a list of my publications.
Originally born in Albuquerque, I grew up in a number of places in the United States, followed by several places in Indonesia, where my parents served as missionaries. While in Indonesia, I attended the CMA school in Bandung, Medan International School, and Jakarta International School--so anyone looking for Mary Meador from JIS has found her. I then attended Baylor University, where I majored in English (yes, English). I married Mike Califf immediately after graduating in 1985, and then proceeded to get master's degrees in both English and computer science, having two marvelous sons along the way. I eventually moved on to the University of Texas at Austin, where I worked with Ray Mooney and received my Ph.D. in 1998. Since then, I've been here at Illinois State.
I retain the love for reading that originally led me into English, and my house is filled with books. I love both music and drama, and I am involved in the music and drama ministries of Vale Community Church. Between my family, these and other church activites, my job, and a little time spent reading, I find myself with a very full, but very fulfilling life.