Paul Bodily About Courses Research Outreach Tips for Communicating Teaching Philosophy Vitae

Paul Bodily, Ph.D.


Office: CH 228
Phone: (208) 282-4932
Office Hours: Wed 9-10 am in CH 228 or via Zoom (link on Moodle), other times by appointment


Paul Bodily is an assistant professor of Computer Science in the Computer Science Department and head of the Computational Creativity and Intelligence Lab (CCIL) at Idaho State University. His research interests include algorithms, computational theory, and artificial intelligence/machine learning. His particular interest in the field of computational creativity addresses the question of whether or not computers, beyond possessing artificial intelligence, can exhibit autonomous creativity. In particular, he has developed expertise in the domain of lyrical music composition and the challenge of invoking long-term structure in sequence generation. His approach incorporates a modular machine learning framework called hierarchical Bayesian program learning, which facilitates breaking the problem of music composition into smaller pieces, and focuses primarily on developing machine learning models that solve the problems related to structure. He has developed an adaptation of non-homogenous Markov models that enables long-range constraints and a structural learning model adapted from the Smith-Waterman alignment method, which extends sequence alignment techniques from bioinformatics. He has incorporated these advances into a full-fledged computational creative system called Pop* (pronounced popstar) and has shown through various evaluative methods that the system can be argued to possess, to varying degrees, the characteristics of creativity. Professor Bodily's prior research also includes several bioinformatics publications on heterozygous genome assembly algorithms.

Dr. Bodily was one of five 2022 recipients of Idaho State University's Master Teacher Award. Dr. Bodily coordinates the curriculum and teaching of the department's flagship introductory programming course CS 1181, which as a general elective course introduces Python programming to over a hundred ISU students each year. He oversees the department's dual credit and early college program offerings, recruiting and training instructors to offer introductory computer science courses for ISU credit at southeast Idaho high schools. Dr. Bodily, who has taught and supervised over a dozen undergraduate and graduate researchers, has been nominated on multiple occasions for the CPI Supervisor of the Semester award. He is a certified Software Carpentries Instructor and has received training through participation in Dr. Harvey Brightman's Master Teacher Program and the Teach for Learning (T4L) Conference. Dr. Bodily delivers an annual programming course to both high school students and instructors through the College of Technology's Ignite STEM summer camp series. Dr. Bodily has been instrumental in developing an effective service learning program wherein ISU CS students serve as teaching assistants in local high schools. Through this same program, he oversees development and teaching of an introductory programming course for inmates of the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center. Dr. Bodily also serves as the CS department outreach coordinator.

Dr. Bodily holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from Brigham Young University (BYU). He graduated summa cum laude from BYU with a B.S. in Bioinformatics, a B.A. in Italian, and minors in Computer Science and Music. Dr. Bodily has an extensive music background as a composer and performer. In addition to playing several instruments, he is an alumnus of BYU’s 9-man internationally-renowned a cappella group Vocal Point.

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