John Boyland

I was born in Berkeley, Calfironia. My parents were graduate students. When I was four, my parents grew disillusioned with the materialism of their field (Economics), dropped out, moved up north to the woods and continued spiritual searching. After a little Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, they ended up Christians. Jesus was the last way they were going to investigate, but He came to find them (and me) through the "Jesus Movement". I really appreciated the sincerity and seriousness of the Jesus Movement, those hippies who decided to follow Jesus. If the maker of the universe really loved us puny humans and wanted to save us, it should be the most important fact of our existence. We all have a part to play in this greatest story ever told. Even as a young child, I wanted to know and understand everything. I read the Bible multiple times, read theology, and learned apologetics. Learning came naturally, but the much harder task was discipleship. My own character was (and to a large extent remains) arrogant, impatient, and selfish. God has been working on me using other people. Rather than flee uncomfortable situations, I had to learn to stay, to open myself to criticism, correction and (yes) love. As a professor, I want my students to learn to love learning. Computer Science is a great field for this. We teach problem solving. We set problems for the students so that they can try out and improve their skills. Students often want the answers to the problems, but most understand that the answers are not what is important but rather the skills to come up with the answers. Similarly in life, good character shows itself in good actions, but every situation is different. It will not be enough to know the answers to some limited set of dilemmas. Rather one needs God's guidance to learn to think of everything from the divine perspective.

My Life

My hobbies

cooking, fermenting, enjoying outdoors

Fantasy dinner guests

N.T. Wright; Madeleine Albright; James K. Smith

Best advice I ever received

accept a job in a city where my wife also had an offer.

My undergrad alma mater

University of California, Davis

My worst subject in school

Games (cricket)

In college I drove

a bicycle

If I weren't a professor, I would

be a software developer

Favorite books

Deed of Paksenarrion (fantasy) -- Elizabeth Moon; 'Til We Have Faces (myth) -- C.S. Lewis; The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (theology) -- Lesslie Newbigin

Favorite city

Berkeley, California

Favorite coffee

1% rich coffee, 99% milk

Nobody knows I

was on my high school basketball team

My latest accomplishment

Graduating another PhD student.

Current Research

Extending the dependently-typed lambda calculus with variable-arity functions