John W. Sheppard, PhD, FIEEE

Contact Information

Dr. John W. Sheppard
Professor and RightNow Technologies Fellow
Director, Numerical Intelligent Systems Laboratory
Department of Computer Science
EPS 363
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
V: +1 406 994 4835
F: +1 406 994 4376
E: john dot sheppard at cs dot montana dot edu

Biographical Sketch

Dr. John Sheppard was the inaugural RightNow Technologies Distinguished Professor in Computer Science at Montana State University and currently holds an appointment as Professor in the Computer Science Department at MSU. He also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. In 2007, he was elected as an IEEE Fellow "for contributions to system-level diagnosis and prognosis." Prior to joining Hopkins, he was a Fellow at ARINC Incorporated in Annapolis, MD where he worked for almost 20 years. Dr. Sheppard performs research in Bayesian classification, dynamic Bayesian networks, evolutionary methods, and reinforcement learning. In addition, Dr. Sheppard is active in IEEE Standards activities. Currently, he serves as a member of the IEEE Computer Society Standards Activities Board and is the Computer Society liaison to IEEE Standards Coordinating Committee 20 on Test and Diagnosis for Electronic Systems. He is also the co-chair of the Diagnostic and Maintenance Control Subcommittee of SCC20 and has served as an official US delegate to the International Electrotechnical Commission's Technical Committee 93 on Design Automation.


  • BS, Computer Science (magna cum laude), Southern Methodist University, 1983
  • MS, Computer Science, The Johns Hopkins University, 1990
  • PhD, Computer Science, The Johns Hopkins University, 1997


  • Professor and past RightNow Technologies Distinguished Professor in Computer Science, Montana State University
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, The Johns Hopkins University
  • Lecturer, Computer Science Program, Engineering and Applied Science Programs for Professionals, The Johns Hopkins University

Professional Activities

  • IEEE Fellow
    • IEEE Computer Society
    • IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society
    • IEEE Standards Association
  • IEEE Computer Society Liaison to SCC20
  • Member-At-Large, IEEE Computer Society Standards Activities Board
  • Co-Chair, IEEE SCC20, Diagnostic and Maintenance Control Subcommittee
  • Technical Program Chair, IEEE AUTOTESTCON 2001, 2007, and 2011
  • Technical Program Chair, IEEE International Workshop on System Test and Diagnosis, 1998-2000
  • Co-Editor in Chief, International Journal of Prognostics and Health Management
  • Associate Editor, IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement

Research Interests

  • Machine Learning
  • Data Mining
  • Bayesian Networks
  • Neural Networks
  • Markov Models
  • Evolutionary and Swarm-based Methods
  • Reinforcement Learning
  • System-Level Fault Diagnosis
  • System-Level Fault Prognosis
  • Measurement Uncertainty

Courses Taught

  • Montana State University
    • CSCI 246: Discrete Structures
    • CSCI 446: Artificial Intelligence
    • CSCI 447: Machine Learning: Soft Computing
    • CSCI 500: Seminar in Machine Learning
    • CSCI 547: Machine Learning
    • CSCI 548: Reasoning Under Uncertainty
    • CSCI 550: Data Mining
  • Johns Hopkins University
    • 600.335/435: Artificial Intelligence (Homewood)
    • 600.475: Machine Learning (Homewood)
    • 600.735: Seminar in Machine Learning (Homewood)
    • 605.421: Foundations of Algorithms (EP)
    • 605.445: Artificial Intelligence (EP)
    • 605.746: Machine Learning (EP)
    • 605.747: Evolutionary Computation (EP)

Current Graduate Students

  • Seth Berardinelli (MS Advisee)
  • Stephyn Butcher, ABD (PhD Advisee)
  • Timothy Dean (PhD Advisee)
  • Patrick Donnelly, ABD (PhD Advisee)
  • Nathan Fortier (MS Advisee)
  • Doug Galarus (PhD Committee)
  • Karthik Ganesan Pillai (PhD Committee)
  • Houston King (MS Advisee)
  • Richard McAllister (PhD Advisee)
  • Benjamin Mitchell, ABD (PhD Advisee)
  • Ryan Nix (MS Advisee, co-advised with Clemente Izurieta)
  • Shane Strasser (PhD Advisee)
  • Liessman Sturlaugson (PhD Advisee)
  • Scott Wahl, ABD (PhD Advisee)
  • Bob Wall (PhD Committee)

Prior Graduate Students

  • David Albert (MS, 1999)
  • Anthony Arnone (MS, 2010)
  • Stephyn Butcher (MS, 2006)
  • Patrick Donnelly (MSE, 2008)
  • James Grantham (MS, 2007)
  • Brian Haberman (PhD, 2011)
  • Andrew Hamilton (MS, 2011)
  • Brian Howard (MS, 2003)
  • Benjamin Mitchell (MSE, 2008)
  • Rashad Moore (MS, 2003)
  • Adam Peterson (MS, 2002)
  • Ramendra Ramendra (MSE, 2008)
  • Scott Raymond (MS, 2002)
  • Chuck Robertson (MSE, 2009)
  • Nick Ryhajlo (MS, 2013)
  • Dennis (Cole) Schock (MS, 2012)
  • Shane Strasser (MS, 2011)
  • Scott Wahl (MS, 2011)
  • Mike Waters (MS, 1999)