Sharad C Sundararajan  Sharad C Sundararajan photo       

contact information

Research Scientist, Watson Education Research
Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY USA




I am a computer scientist by training and am currently an RSM and Manager at IBM Research @ Watson, leading a team that is designing and building intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) across multiple domains, exploring cutting edge learning experiences using mixed reality (VR/AR, wearables/tangibles), and studying the spectrum of learning abilities. Tutoring systems require a sophisticated orchestration of several capabilities that in turn demand natural language processing, machine learning (for modeling users and engagement, analyzing data), reasoning, cognitive task analysis, knowledge induction, content creation and pedagogy.

Prior to moving to education research, I spent close to 15 years in Electronic Design Automation at IBM, specializing in high-level and logic synthesis (also dabbled with timing and placement), designing and developing optimization algorithms to improve VLSI design productivity (area, timing, power). In 2010, I received an Outstanding Technical Achievement award for re-engineering a language reader that was an order of magnitude faster than its predecessor. 

I joined IBM in 2000 with a Masters in Computer Science from RPI. Over the years I’ve remained very interested in human level AI, and have taken classes ranging from neural networks, formal logic, cognitive architectures, theory of mind to common sense reasoning and even philosophy and ethics of AI (which might seem like a premature concern, but it raises very interesting questions about decision making). For a few years, I was part of a non-profit for education and human rights, and co-started a thinktank on water related issues. My current project offers a good mix of the technical and social aspects.