Rhea Basappa

Rhea R B (Rhea Ravandur Basappa) is pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science and specialising in Interactive Intelligence. She is currently working on the SAMI project in Dilab. Rhea has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India. Outside of Dilab she enjoys dancing and trains in Bharatanatyam.

Research Interests: Human-AI interaction, AI in education and the intersection of AI and Cognitive Science.

Ashok Goel: CogSci 2022

On July 29, Ashok Goel gave a presentation at The CogSci 2022 Cognitive Diversity Conference 2022.


Faces of Research: Meet Ashok Goel


The Institute for Data Engineering and Science, or IDEaS, is one of Georgia Tech’s 10 interdisciplinary research institutes. IDEaS provides the coordination and expertise necessary to link researchers across campus by strengthening Georgia Tech’s position in big data.

This installment of the Faces of Research Q&A series is with Ashok Goel.

What is your field of expertise and why did you choose it?
I conduct research into cognitive systems at the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive science. In one direction, we build theories and techniques of AI that are inspired by human cognition and behavior. On the other, we build AI models and tools that aid and augment human thinking and learning. I love it! 

What makes GaTech research institutes unique?
The Georgia Tech AI Research Institutes are special in the multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research communities they foster to address grand societal challenges. The AI Institute for Adult Learning and Online Education (AI-ALOE) led by Georgia Research Alliance and headquartered at Georgia Tech, for example, brings together AI researchers, computer scientists, cognitive scientists, and learning scientists from academia, industry, and non-profit organizations to address the societal challenges of lifelong learning and workforce development. Our society is facing the huge challenge of reskilling and upskilling a hundred million workers (and a billion around the world) within the next decade. Addressing such huge challenges requires extraordinary and bold efforts exemplified by the AI Research Institutes.  

What impact is your research having on the world?
Our Design Intelligence Laboratory and Center for 21st Century Universities already are having a significant impact on higher education. The virtual teaching assistant, named Jill Watson, for automatically answering questions in online classes enhances teacher presence and learner engagement is one example of our impact. The free and publicly available Virtual Experimentation Research Assistant that is now globally accessible through Smithsonian Institution’s Encyclopedia of Life web portal is another example. We expect that over time the newly established AI-ALOE Institute will amplify the impact of our work by an order of magnitude or more. This is very exciting. 

What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not working on your research or teaching?
I like to cook Indian food and read about world politics, history, and philosophy. I also like to travel and explore the world.

XPrize has selected Georgia Tech’s Veritas team for the round of 10 teams in the Digital Learning Challenge


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.

AskJill in SkillSync: Explanation and Trust in AI

SkillSync is an NSF-funded effort engaging an industry-academia consortium led by EduWorks and including Georgia Tech, the University System of Georgia, Credentials Engine, and several other partners. The goal is to build an AI application that enables companies to succinctly express reskilling needs for their workforce and helps colleges describe their educational offerings and respond to companies’ needs. The interactive tool better aligns job requirements and opportunities with reskilling knowledge, skills, and abilities, and distills these reskilling needs to universities in a way that matches specific learning outcomes.

When using SkillSync, both employers and educators can ask questions to a virtual coach named AskJill that is based on Georgia Tech’s virtual teaching assistant Jill Watson. AskJill helps explain SkillSync’s vocabulary, functions, and processing, thereby making it more transparent and trustworthy to its users. AskJill in SkillSync is a collaboration between the Design & Intelligence Laboratory and C21U.
Link: http://www.skillsync.com

New Paper Accepted Into Design Science Journal

The paper “Multifunctional and Domain Independent? A Meta-Analysis of Case Studies of Biologically Inspired Design”, written by Ashok Goel and William Hancock, has just been accepted into the Design Science Journal, the flagship journal of the Design Research Society! More information about the publication can be found here: http://dilab.gatech.edu/publications/multifunctional-and-domain-independent-a-meta-analysis-of-case-studies-of-biologically-inspired-design/.