Ashwin Ram

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Ashwin Ram
BornJuly 27, 1960 (1960-07-27) (age 61)
New Delhi, India
Alma materYale University, University of Illinois, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Mayo College
Scientific career
FieldsArtificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science
InstitutionsPARC, Georgia Tech, OpenStudy
Doctoral advisorRoger Schank

Ashwin Ram (born July 27, 1960) is an Indian-American computer scientist. He was chief innovation officer at PARC from 2011 to 2016, and published books and scientific articles and helped start at least two companies.


Ashwin Ram was born in New Delhi, India, on July 27, 1960. He is a great-grandson of Sir Ganga Ram and is the eldest of three children. He grew up in New Delhi with a brief stint in Bombay, and attended one of India's oldest boarding schools, Mayo College.[citation needed]

Ram received his B.Tech. in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi, in 1982, where he received the President of India's Gold Medal for best undergraduate performance. He then traveled to the US, graduating with his M.S. in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1984. He received his Ph.D. degree from Yale University for his dissertation on "Question-Driven Understanding: An Integrated Theory of Story Understanding, Memory, and Learning" in 1989, under advisor Roger Schank[1] and Gerald DeJong.[2]

Georgia Tech[edit]

He joined the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in 1989.[3] He was associate professor in the School of interactive computing in the College of Computing, an associate professor of cognitive science, an adjunct professor in the School of Psychology, and an adjunct professor in math and computer science at Emory University.[when?]

In 1995 Ram co-edited (with David B. Leake) a book on goal-oriented learning.[4] He co-edited (with Kenneth Moorman) a book on natural language understanding.[5]

Ram founded Enkia Corporation in 1998 (which was purchased by Sentiment360 in 2011).[6] He then co-founded Inquus Corporation, which operated OpenStudy, an online social learning network for students and faculty,[7] and medical information company Cobot Health Corporation.[8] OpenStudy was acquired in 2016 by Brainly.[9]

Ram directed the Cognitive Computing Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology starting around 2006.[10] He led research in artificial intelligence (AI) and cognitive science. His projects focused on AI for computer games and virtual worlds, consumer health and wellness, and educational technologies. Topics included knowledge-based machine learning, case-based reasoning, cognitive modeling, and natural language processing.

He was program chair and conference co-chair of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci) in 1994,[11] conference co-chair of the Third International Conference on the Learning Sciences (ICLS) in 1998,[12] and program co-chair of the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Pattern Recognition in 2008.


Ashwin Ram became an innovation fellow at PARC (formerly Xerox PARC), around September 2011, and then chief innovation officer.[13] His team created social computing technologies to augment human cognition in application areas including health and wellness. He was program co-chair of the International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning (ICCBR) in November 2011, with Nirmalie Wiratunga.[14] In June 2013, he was interviewed on Australian radio about the trends toward finding medical information on the Internet,[15] and was invited as a keynote speaker at the Amplify Festival.[16]


In May, 2016, he joined the Amazon Alexa development team as head of artificial intelligence.[17][18]


In 2018 he left Amazon and joined Google as technical director of AI for Google Cloud.[19]


  1. ^ "Question-Driven Understanding: An Integrated Theory of Story Understanding, Memory, and Learning" (PDF). Yale Technical Report 710. May 1989. Retrieved August 23, 2013. (Dissertation for Ph.D.)
  2. ^ "Ashwin Ram - The Mathematics Genealogy Project". Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  3. ^ "Technology Entrepreneur Profile". Today's Engineer. April 2011. Archived from the original on September 19, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  4. ^ Ashwin Ram; David Leake, eds. (1995). Goal-Driven Learning. MIT Press/Bradford Books. ISBN 9780262181655.
  5. ^ Ashwin Ram; Kenneth Moorman, eds. (1998). Understanding Language Understanding: Computational Models of Reading. MIT Press/Bradford Books. ISBN 9780262181921.
  6. ^ David Beasley (January 5, 2011). "Northern Ireland Spinoff Buys Georgia Tech Company". Global Atlanta. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "About us". OpenStudy web site. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "Cobot Health Corporation". Company Overview. Bloomberg Business Week. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  9. ^ "Social Learning Platform OpenStudy Joins the Brainly Community". Press release. June 14, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "People". Cognitive Computing Lab website. Archived from the original on March 5, 2006. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  11. ^ Ashwin Ram; Kurt Eiselt, eds. (1994). Proceedings of the Sixteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780805818031.
  12. ^ "The Third International Conference on the Learning Sciences". Call for papers. 1998. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  13. ^ "Ashwin Ram". Corporate profile page. PARC. Archived from the original on November 13, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Ashwin Ram; Nirmalie Wiratunga, eds. (November 2011). 19th International Conference on Case-Based Reasoning Research and Development. Springer. ISBN 9783642232909.
  15. ^ "From Dr Google, to Dr Facebook, and beyond..." Health Report. ABC Radio. June 17, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  16. ^ "The Intelligent Web: Shaping behaviour at the intersection of health, wealth and choice". Keynote video. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved August 23, 2013.
  17. ^ Katyanna Quach (May 6, 2016). "Amazon nabs AI boffin from Xerox PARC: Ashwin Ram will lead AI R&D department". The Register. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  18. ^ Mike Wheatley (May 9, 2016). "Amazon nabs cognitive computing expert Ashwin Ram to head up AI efforts". Silicon Angle. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  19. ^ * Amazon Alexa’s head AI researcher has left for Google

External links[edit]