magerko, research

integrating computation, cognition, and creativity


Dr. Brian Magerko is an Associate Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Culture and a Human-Centered Computing faculty member in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech.

He earned a B.S. in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan. He taught as Assistant Professor in Digital Games at Michigan State University before joining the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008.

Dr. Magerko’s work intertwines cognitive science, computer science, and computational media research, focusing on three concerns: a) better understanding social collaboration and creativity between humans and artificial intelligence; b) designing and developing computational media experiences that inform and/or entertain; c) using personal expression as a means of engaging the public—especially underrepresented populations—in computing. His study of creativity includes developing better formal representations of human creative socio-cognitive processes, and designing and developing technologies that represent and accommodate those processes.

Highlights of this work include:

· The design and development of an internationally-used STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) learning environment for learning computer programming through making music with computer code. EarSketch has been widely adopted across all 50 U.S. states, has over 100,000 users, and has been empirically shown to increase positive attitudes towards computing, especially in students from underrepresented populations.

· The advancement of computational media research, which has yielded new software technologies, design practices, and embodied computational media experiences centered on creative expression and computing.

· The design and development of multiple collaborative works with graduate and undergraduate students. These interactive installations focus on co-creative experiences (i.e., collaborative, improvisational meaning-making between humans and/or computers) that have been accepted to festivals and museums such as the ACC Creativity and Innovation Festival at the Smithsonian, the ArtScience Museum of Singapore, and the MoogFest music technology festival.

· Multiple studies of the socio-cognitive processes of creativity during improvisation, which has introduced new theories of human cognition and empirical tools for quantifying creativity at an individual and social level.

· Foundational work in the use of drama management and artificial intelligence within interactive narrative experiences.

Dr. Magerko's research has significantly advanced scholarship in his field as evidenced by academic publications (> 100 peer reviewed publications in peer-reviewed technical conferences and journals), multiple keynote presentations and top paper awards, and federal grant support (> $10 million in federal funding). His research has also yielded computational media artifacts in the form of software and interactive installations that have been featured in museums, schools, and other learning settings worldwide.