John M. Zelle, Ph.D.

Professor of Computer Science

Contact Information


SC 353
Phone: (319) 352-8360
Fax: (319) 352-8606

Email address:

Postal address:

Department of Math/CS/Physics
Wartburg College
100 Wartburg Blvd.
Waverly, IA 50677

Class Schedule (Winter 2017)

PHY 150: Science for Society 7:45--8:50 MWF SC 128
CS 220: OOP and Intro Data Structures 12:00--1:05 MWF SC 345
CS 460: Senior Project 9:35--11:15 TH SC 345

"Complete" Daily Schedule


My current interests are mainly in the languages and environments used in computer science education. I am an advocate of extensive programming as a foundation of the CS curriculum. I am convinced that students learn better starting with very high-level, dynamically-typed, interactive language environments. At Wartburg, we use Python in our introductory (CS 1) course. If you're interested, check out my Teaching with Python page.

Recently, I have been working with undergraduates on research in the area of virtual reality. Working with Dr. Charles Figura in Physics, we are developing a VR lab (called SVEN) "on a shoe-string." recent projects include stereoscopic projection and presentation systems, position tracking, remote viewing robotics, and visualization of neuron structures. You can find out more on the SVEN page.

In a former life, I was an AI researcher. My work focused on combining explanation-based learning (EBL) and inductive logic programming (ILP) to learn search-control heuristics for knowledge-based systems expressed as definite-clause logic programs. Two specific applications of this framework are: dynamic optimization of Prolog programs (improving efficiency) and natural language acquisition (improving accuracy). For an in-depth look, see my machine learning publications.

For more info about me, including a complete list of publications, check out my vita (PDF).


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