The Veritas team is organized around the Virtual Ecological Research Assistant (VERA) developed by the Design & Intelligence Laboratory in Georgia Tech’s College of Computing. VERA is a virtual laboratory in which an AI research assistant enables learners to construct conceptual models of ecological phenomena and run interactive agent-based simulations of the models. It also allows access to the Smithsonian Institution’s Encyclopedia of Life. This affords learners to use large-scale domain knowledge to explore ecological systems and perform “what if” experiments to either explain an existing ecological system or predict the outcomes of changes to one. In addition, VERA enables researchers to conduct A/B experiments and supports them in analyzing the data.
The Veritas team is comprised of Georgia Tech faculty, staff, and students, including HCC Ph.D. student Sungeun An, OMSCS students Scott Bunin, Willventchy Celestine, Andrew Hornback, computing undergraduate student Stephen Buckley, Research Scientist Vrinda Nandan, and Dr. Emily Weigel in the School of Biological Sciences and Professor Ashok Goel in the School of Interactive Computing. Dr. Spencer Rugaber at Georgia Tech and Dr. Jennifer Hammock at Smithsonian Institution act as internal and external advisors, respectively. The XPrize Digital Learning Challenge started with around 300 teams and now has 10 teams left in the competition.