CSC News

May 13, 2019

Lester Named Distinguished University Professor

Dr. James Lester has been named Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NC State University. A Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), he is the founding director of the Center for Educational Informatics.


Lester is internationally recognized for his research on artificial intelligence technologies for education. His current work spans intelligent game-based learning environments, multimodal learning analytics, affective computing, and computer-supported collaborative learning.  The adaptive learning environments he and his colleagues create have been used by thousands of K-12 students throughout the US.


Lester founded the Center for Educational Informatics (CEI) in 2014 to establish a unique interdisciplinary R&D center with the mission of developing next-generation learning technologies leveraging artificial intelligence. CEI designs adaptive learning environments for K-12 and higher education, defense and first responder training, and healthcare. With a portfolio of broadly interdisciplinary projects, CEI is housed in the NC State College of Engineering and collaborates with partner research institutions across the country and internationally.


Lester is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. His research program is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Additional support has been provided by DARPA, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, EDUCAUSE, SAS, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Lester has served as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education. He is the recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the North Carolina State University Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Best Paper Awards at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, the ACM International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment, and the International Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation, and Personalization. His foundational work on pedagogical agents has been recognized with the IFAAMAS Influential Paper Award by the International Federation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems.


Lester joined the NC State faculty in 1994. He received his BA in history from Baylor University and his BA, MSCS, and PhD in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin.



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