New Publication: Explanation as Question Answering Based on User Guides

Congratulations to Vrinda Nandan, Spencer Rugaber, and Ashok Goel for the publication of their chapter, “Explanation as Question Answering based on User Guides”, in Explainable Agency in Artificial Intelligence: Research and Practice.

This book focuses on a subtopic of explainable AI (XAI) called explainable agency (EA), which involves producing records of decisions made during an agent’s reasoning, summarizing its behavior in human-accessible terms, and providing answers to questions about specific choices and the reasons for them. We distinguish explainable agency from interpretable machine learning (IML), another branch of XAI that focuses on providing insight (typically, for an ML expert) concerning a learned model and its decisions. In contrast, explainable agency typically involves a broader set of AI-enabled techniques, systems, and stakeholders (e.g., end users), where the explanations provided by EA agents are best evaluated in the context of human subject studies.

The chapters of this book explore the concept of endowing intelligent agents with explainable agency, which is crucial for agents to be trusted by humans in critical domains such as finance, self-driving vehicles, and military operations. This book presents the work of researchers from a variety of perspectives and describes challenges, recent research results, lessons learned from applications, and recommendations for future research directions in EA. The historical perspectives of explainable agency and the importance of interactivity in explainable systems are also discussed. Ultimately, this book aims to contribute to the successful partnership between humans and AI systems.

Ashok Goel: CogSci 2022

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

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.

Ashok Goel (old bio)

Ashok typically teaches the CS 4635/CS 7637 course on Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence in the fall term of each year. In the spring term, he alternates between teaching the the CS 4610/CS 7615 course on Computational Creativity, the interdisciplinary graduate course CS 6795 on Cognitive Science, and the new interdisciplinary undergraduate GT 2803 course on Invention.
Ashok is a member of the Organizing Committee of the conference series on Advances on Cognitive Systems, and the Steering Committee of the conference series on Theory and Application of Diagrams. In 2013, we was a member of program committees of several conferences, workshops and symposia, including the Sixteenth International Conference on AI in Education (AIED 2013) in Memphis, Tennessee, the Thirty Fifth Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) in Berlin, Germany, and the Nineteenth International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 2013) in Seoul, Korea. In 2013, he gave an invited talk to the Twenty First International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning in Saratoga Springs, New York, and was a panelist at the Biomimicry 3.8 Seventh Education Summit and Global Conference in Boston, Massachusetts. He is scheduled to give talks at the Dept. of Cognitive Science at University of California at San Diego, the San Diego Zoo’s Conference on Bioinspiration, the College of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, the AAAI 2013 Fall Symposium on Discovery Informatics, and the Second Conference on Advances in Cognitive Systems.
Ashok is an Associate Editor of IEEE Intelligent Systems, ASME Transactions: Journal of Computing and Information Science in Engineering (JCISE), Artificial Intelligence for Engineering Design, Analysis and Manufacturing (AIEDAM), Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, and Advances in Cognitive Systems. He also serves on the editorial boards of AAAI’s AI Magazine, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence (JETAI), Advanced Engineering Informatics (AEI), and Design Creativity and Innovation.
Ashok serves on the Board of Directors of the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, and is a member of BID Community Think Tank that publishes the Bioinspired! digital magazine. He is a life member of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and a member of ACM, IEEE, ASME, the Cognitive Science Society and the Design Society SIG on Design Creativity.
Ashok recently co-edited the first ever book on computational methods and tools for biologically inspired design. In 2011, his Design & Intelligence research laboratory developed one of the first interactive tools on the web for supporting biologically inspired design; Here is a short video describing the DANE interactive tool. Ashok’s TEDx talk in 2012 summarizes some of his research on AI for biologically inspired design and environmental sustainability.
Ashok K. GoelSchool of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of TechnologyTechnology Square Research Building, 85 Fifth Street NWAtlanta, Georgia 30332, USAEmail:; Phone: (404) 894-4994; Fax: (404) 894-0673
Ms. Cynthia Bryant;; 404-894-3807
Travel, etc.
12/12 – Advances in Cognitive Systems Conference, Mountain View, California06/13 – Panel on Interdisciplinary Education, Biomimicry 3.8 Conference, Boston07/13 – AI in Education Conference, Memphis07/13 – Keynote Address, Case-Based Reasoning Conference, Saratoga Springs, New York07/13 – AAAI Conference and EAAI Symposium, Bellevue, Washington09/13 – Biomimicry 3.8 Meeting, Yellowstone National Park, Montana10/02-03/13 – IBM Meeting on Cognitive Systems, Yorktown Heights, New York11/05-08/13 – Talk at Dept. of Cognitive Science, University of California at San Diego, Panel on Research on Bioinspiration at San Diego Zoo’s Conference on Bioinspiration, San Diego, and Invited Talk at Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona11/15-17/13 – AAAI Fall Symposium on Discovery Informatics, Arlington, Virginia12/12-12/13 – Advances in Cognitive Systems Conference, UMBC, Baltimore, Maryland
Ashok has two sons:
Kunal (17 years old), a senior in the Dekalb County Magnet Program for High Achievers at Chamblee Charter High School, Vice-President of the Student Government and Co-Captain of the Tennis Team; and
Gautam (19), a junior in the Honors Program at Georgia Tech with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, and a recipient of the 2013 Goldwater Award.

Get Involved

Date: Mar 11, 2021

Job Description: The is a full-time post-doctoral Research Scientist I position in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. The Research Scientist will focus on designing and developing AI techniques and tools for supporting online and blended learning, and for deploying and evaluating them at scale within Georgia Tech. We are especially interested in further developing, deploying, and analyzing extant AI technologies for intelligent tutors, conversational agents, question answering,  social interactions, virtual laboratories, and virtual librarians. In particular, the Research Scientist will work with the faculty and students in Georgia Tech’s Design & Intelligence Laboratory to help develop these technologies and work with faculty and students across Georgia Tech to deploy and evaluate them.
This position requires expertise in AI as well as human learning and education. It also requires skills in software development, project management, data collection and analysis, documentation, as well as working with people. 

Contact: Professor Ashok Goel at


Python implementations of some of the classic AI programs from Peter Norvig’s fantastic textbook “Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming.”

Visit the main PAIP-Python site here.

This is meant to be a learning resource for beginning AI programmers. Although PAIP is a fantastic book, it is no longer common for students to have a background in Lisp programming, as many universities have replaced Lisp with other languages in introductory programming and introductory artificial intelligence courses. It is my hope that making the programs from PAIP available in a commonly-taught language will provide a useful hands-on resource for beginning AI students.

These programs were written by Daniel Connelly at Georgia Tech as an independent project supervised by Professor Ashok Goel.