Ashok K. Goel

February 2021

Ashok Goel is a Professor of Computer Science and Human-Centered Computing in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, USA.  He conducts use-inspired research into cognitive systems at the intersection of artificial intelligence and cognitive science. He directs the School’s Design & Intelligence Laboratory that consists of several faculty, research scientists, and about twenty graduate and undergraduate students. He is also the Chief Scientist with Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities and a Fellow with the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems.

Ashok conducted his Ph.D. research in Computer and Information Science at The Ohio State University under the supervision of Professor Balakrishnan Chandrasekaran; his dissertation was titled Integrating Case-Based and Model-Based Reasoning for Adaptive Design Problem Solving. He joined the Georgia Tech faculty in 1989 immediately after receiving his Ph.D. At Georgia Tech, he has been a Co-Director of the Center for Biologically Inspired Design (2008-18) and the Director of the Ph.D. program in Human-Centered Computing (2012-19). During 2012-2017, he served on the Board of Directors of the non-profit The Biomimicry Institute. He is the Founder of Beyond Question (LLC), an AI-based startup.

Some of Ashok’s research into cognitive systems focuses on conceptual design of technical systems, especially biologically inspired design. He was a co-author of “An information-processing account of creative analogies in biologically inspired design” that received the Best Paper Award at the Eighth ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition in 2011. He was a co-editor of Biologically inspired design: Computational methods and tools published by Springer-Verlag in 2014. His 2012 TEDx talk summarizes some of this research.

Some of Ashok’s cognitive systems research focuses on human learning and education, especially online education. In 2014, he developed a popular online course on Knowledge-Based AI as part of Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science program. In 2016, he developed Jill Watson, a virtual teaching assistant for answering students’ questions in discussion forums of online classes. His 2016 TEDx talk summarizes this research.  In 2018, he co-edited Blended learning in practice: A guide for researchers and practitioners published by MIT Press. [A review article in a special issue of Chronicle of Higher Education in December 2016 called virtual assistants exemplified by Jill Watson as one of the most transformative educational technologies in the digital era].

Ashok is the Editor of AI Magazine published by the Association for Advancement in AI (AAAI) and the Founding Editor of AAAI’s Interactive AI Magazine. He was a Co-Chair of the 41st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society held in Montreal, Canada, in July 2019.

In 2019, Ashok received AAAI’s Outstanding AI Educator Award; the citation reads: For sustained excellence in teaching, innovation in using AI to teach AI, scientific experimentation and scholarship to assess and improve AI pedagogy, and the many resources he has shared with the community at large. In 2020 he received University System of Georgia Regent’s Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. In 2021, he was elected as an AAAI Fellow; the citation reads: For significant contributions to research on cognitive systems, design, and education, and for distinguished leadership and teaching.