Core Faculty

Neil Heffernan


Director, Learning Sciences & Technologies

Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs 237

Phone: 508-831-5569

Neil T. Heffernan enjoys doing educational data mining and running the ASSISTments system. ASSISTments helps schools teach better. It’s a web service hosted at WPI that allows teachers to assign nightly homework or daily class work. Students get instant feedback while teachers get live reports. Professor Heffernan enjoys supervising WPI students in creating ASSISTments content and features. ... View Profile

Joseph E. Beck

Associate Professor

Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs 138

Phone: 508-831-6156

Joseph Beck, assistant professor of Computer Science, has been at WPI since 2007. His research focuses on educational data mining, a new discipline that develops techniques for analyzing large educational data sets to make discoveries that will improve teaching and learning. His work centers on estimating how computer tutors impact learning. He established the first workshop in the field and in 2008 was program co-chair of the first International Conference on Educational Data Mining. ... View Profile

Ivon Arroyo

Assistant Professor

Social Science & Policy Studies

Office: Salisbury Labs 317A

Phone: 508-831-6715

A true hybrid across disciplines, professor Arroyo specializes in Learning Sciences, Computer Science and Educational/Cognitive Psychology. ... View Profile

Erin R Ottmar

Assistant Professor

Social Science & Policy Studies

Office: Salisbury Laboratories, 317C

Erin Ottmar is an assistant professor of psychology and learning sciences at WPI. She received her BA in psychology and elementary education from the University of Richmond. After college, she spent several years teaching in Ecuador and Japan. In 2011, she received her PhD in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science from the University of Virginia. After graduate school, returned to a small liberal arts environment and spent 3 years as a post-doctoral research scientist at the University of Richmond. ... View Profile

Jacob Richard Whitehill

Assistant Professor

Computer Science

Office: Fuller Laboratories, 238

My research interests are in machine learning and data science, as well as their applications to effective computing and education. My work is highly interdisciplinary and frequently intersects cognitive science, psychology, and education. Before joining WPI, I was a research scientist at the Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning at Harvard University. In 2012, I co-founded Emotient, a San Diego-based startup company for automatic emotion and facial expression recognition. ... View Profile

Associated Faculty

David C. Brown


Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs 131

Phone: 508-831-5618, 508-831-5357

Both teaching and research are interesting challenges. Good interface design is becoming increasingly important; there are way too many bad interfaces out there. I enjoy the challenge of trying to get students to learn and appreciate the subtle concepts that support the design of good interfaces. I often get very creative solutions from the group projects that they do in the HCI class, which is exciting and rewarding. One alum recently told me that what he learned in my class has been the most useful in the long term of what he learned at WPI. Wow! ... View Profile

James Kevin Doyle

Department Head & Assoc Prof

Department Head, SSPS

Social Science & Policy Studies

Office: Salisbury Laboratories 311

Phone: 508-831-5583

I am a social psychologist trained in the interdisciplinary field of judgment and decision making. I am particularly interested in how people develop an understanding of complex environmental and societal problems and how their "mental models" of complex systems can best be studied and improved to aid both personal and public decision making. I firmly believe that environmental and social problems can't be solved without understanding how they are represented in the mind and identifying what cognitive processes people bring to bear upon them. ... View Profile

Kathryn Fisler


Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs 130

Phone: 508-831-5118

In both teaching and research, I'm fascinated by how people understand systems and concepts. I love teaching introductory courses, with their challenge to help students gain the perspective of a new field. My research touches on various topics at the intersection of people and how they understand computational systems. ... View Profile

Arthur C. Heinricher

Dean of Undergraduate Studies


Undergraduate Studies

Office: Boynton Hall, 1st Fl

Phone: 508-831-5397

Arthur Heinricher is the Dean of Undergraduate Studies and a Professor of Mathematical Sciences. As dean, he is responsible for ensuring the quality and effectiveness of all aspects of the undergraduate experience at WPI, providing leadership and working with the faculty to implement new undergraduate curricular and structural changes. Together with the Dean of Students, he works to ensure an appropriate balance and synergy between academics and student life. ... View Profile

Robert W. Lindeman

Associate Professor

Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs B24a

Phone: 508-831-6712

Virtual environments are systems that represent a space using computer-generated or mediated stimuli. While this definition might seem broad to some, the defining differences between similar systems (e.g., desktop simulations) are a high level of immersion (i.e., "being there") combined with a tight coupling between user actions and changes to the environment. This reliance on effective user interaction, in all its forms, is the main goal of my work. We define virtual reality (VR) as fooling the senses into believing they are experiencing something that they are not actually experiencing. ... View Profile

Charles Rich


Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs B25b

Phone: 508-831-5945

What gets me out of bed in the morning is the hope that I will one day interact with a true artificial intelligence and the belief that part of what I will do today contributes to that goal. Along the way, I am interested in all kinds of applications of AI, from robots to intelligent user interfaces to computer games. View Profile

Carolina Ruiz

Associate Professor

Computer Science

Office: Fuller Labs 232

Phone: 508-831-5640

Carolina Ruiz's research interests are in data mining, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Together with her graduate and undergraduate students, colleagues in computer science and biology, and medical doctors, Ruiz investigates and develops data mining algorithms for genomics and for clinical medicine. In addition to being a faculty member in computer science, she is a founder and active member of the bioinformatics and computational biology program at WPI. She enjoys teaching courses, and advising undergraduate and graduate research projects in data mining and machine learning. View Profile