Ashok K. Goel

September 2020

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 received his Ph.D. in Computer and Information Science from The Ohio State University in 1989 and joined the Georgia Tech faculty the same year. 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). He presently directs the Design & Intelligence Laboratory that consists of several faculty, scientists, and about twenty graduate and undergraduate students. He is also the Chief Scientist with Georgia Tech’s Center for 21st Century Universities, a think tank and living laboratory for higher education, where he leads research on AI in education and education in AI. In addition, he is the Founder of Beyond Question (LLC), an AI-based startup.

For about thirty five years, Ashok has conducted research into AI, cognitive science and human-centered computing, with a focus on computational design and creativity. He is a co-editor of two volumes: Biologically inspired design: Computational methods and tools published by Springer-Verlag in 2014 and Blended learning in practice: A guide for researchers and practitioners published by MIT Press in 2018. His paper “An information-processing account of creative analogies in biologically inspired design”, co-authored with S. Vattam, M. Helms & B. Wiltgen, received the Best Paper Award at the Eighth ACM Conference on Creativity and Cognition in 2011, and his paper “Adaptive agents in Minecraft: A hybrid paradigm for combining domain knowledge with reinforcement learning” co-authored with P. Parashar & B. Sheneman, received the Visionary Paper Award at the Sixteenth International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems in 2017.

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. During 2016-20, he led Georgia Tech’s emPrize team to the semifinals of the international XPrize AI competition.

Over the last decade, Ashok’s research has increasingly focused on AI in education and education in AI. In 2014, he and David Joyner 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, Ashok and his students pioneered the development of Jill Watson, a virtual teaching assistant for answering students’ questions in discussion forums of online classes. Chronicle of Higher Education recently called virtual assistants exemplified by Jill Watson as one of the most transformative educational technologies in the digital era (

In 2019, Ashok received AAAI’s Outstanding AI Educator Award, and in 2020 he received University System of Georgia’s Faculty Hall of Fame Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.