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Mark Miller

Facilitator - San Francisco

Contact

Office Location

600 California St.
San Francisco, CA

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Mark Miller, 600 California Street
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-51000

EDUCATION

  • PhD, MIT, EECS, Specializing in AI and Education, 1979
  • BS in Psychology and Applied Physics and Information Science, UCSD, 1972

Biography

Mark L. Miller, PhD founded Learningtech.org, incorporating it as The Miller Institute for Learning with Technology, a California 501(c)(3) non-profit, in March 2000. He serves as both its lead technical contributor and its President and Executive Director. The mission of the organization is to help “children of all ages” use technology more effectively for learning. The firm has helped schools throughout California and in several other states. Services include: E-rate applications; technology plan preparation; professional development relating to computer science, robotics and making; IT consultation (network design; server/router configuration/administration; technology impact assessment); and sponsored research in the areas of educational technology and computer science education.

Before founding the Institute, Dr. Miller served as Lab Director for Learning and Tools at Apple, where he spent almost a decade heading up educational technology investigations. Apple programs under his direction at various times included: Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT); Apple Global Education (AGE); Visualization and Simulation; Business Learning and Performance Support; and Multimedia Authoring Tools.

Dr. Miller’s experience includes Texas Instruments’ Central Research Labs (TI), where Miller established its widely recognized Machine Intelligence research program, emphasizing educational applications, expert systems, and natural language processing. Miller later co-founded Computer*Thought Corporation (Dallas, TX), a high-tech TI spinoff backed by venture capital, where he led the design of an advanced instructional system to retrain software engineers for the Ada programming language then being implemented for the International Space Station.

Dr. Miller’s teaching experience includes the University of Texas (Introduction to Artificial Intelligence; Survey of Knowledge Engineering; Design and Implementation of Programming Languages; Compilers, Assemblers, and Operating Systems; Software Engineering Using Ada; Discrete Structures). He also supervised successful M.S. and Ph.D. candidates at UT and Southern Methodist University. While at MIT he served as both Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Artificial Intelligence and LOGO Laboratories. Miller has also taught high school mathematics and other topics at K12 schools, community colleges, and county offices of education. He developed and co-delivered a high school CS elective that received UC G approval, for use at multiple campuses of Summit Public Schools. Miller is working on a journal article which is in review for ACM SIGPLAN’s History of Programming Languages journal, with a half dozen pioneers, describing the early development of Logo, the highly influential programming language for children made famous by Seymour Papert (1980), in Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas. Miller worked with Papert at MIT and TI; some of Miller’s contributions are mentioned in the End Notes of Papert’s seminal publication. Mark also currently serves as Vice President of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association.

What is your research focus in a bit more detail? Is your current research path what you always had in mind for yourself, or has it evolved somewhat? If so, how/why?

My research focus is on how to bring Computer Science Education to all. I have long believed that AI should be an elementary school subject.

What courses/subjects do you teach?

Currently teaching CS5003 and CS5005.

What do you enjoy most/find most rewarding about what you teach? Is there anything notable or unique about the kind of students that you teach?

I am teaching in the Align program. Students typically work full-time during the day while studying Computer Science 3 nights per week. I find their energy and enthusiasm inspiring. I hope I can inspire them to continue their studies, despite the challenges they must face.

Where did you grow up/spend the most defining years of your childhood/young adulthood?

I lived in Glen Ridge, New Jersey until half-way through high school. I finished high school in Coronado, CA, and then attended UC San Diego for undergraduate work. My wife and I then moved to Boston for graduate school.

Where did you study? Any reason in particular behind your choice (a program you were excited about, a city you love, a researcher you wanted to work with)?

As a high school student in 1967, I was fortunate enough to attend an NSF summer program at San Diego State, emphasizing mathematics and computing. I was hooked! From that point onward, I knew this emerging field would become my career. I was further fortunate enough to study as an undergraduate with Don Norman in the early days of what is now called, Cognitive Science. He encouraged me to read Perceptrons, by Marvin Minsky and Seymour Papert, after which I knew I must do my graduate work at MIT, in the AI and Logo Labs.

What are the specifics of your industry experience?

I have worked at large corporations (TI, Apple), think tanks (BBN), startups (Computer*Thought) and a nonprofit (Learningtech.org). I love consulting, teaching, and research. My industry experience has primarily involved research in educational technology. I am listed on a few patents.