Virtual Ecological Research Assistant (VERA)

Ashok Goel, Spencer Rugaber, Emily Weigel
Sungeun An, William Broniec, Preethi Sethumadhavan

The Virtual Ecological Research Assistant (VERA) is developed by the Design & Intelligence Lab at Georgia Tech, in collaboration with Smithsonian's Encyclopedia of Life Department. The VERA system leverages AI technologies like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI compiler to support cognitive aspects of learning such as inquiry-based learning and model-based reasoning. VERA enables users to construct conceptual models of ecological systems and run interactive model simulations. This allows users to explore ecological systems and perform "what if" experiments to either explain an existing ecological system or attempt to predict the outcome of future changes to one.

Jill Watson, the AI-enabled virtual teaching assistant (TA), answers user questions about VERA. The covered questions include technical questions about the tool - "How do I add a new project" - as well as subject matter questions - "What is consumption rate?"

Please visit to sign up (with your GT account) and start exploring VERA.

Ashok Goel
Ashok Goel, Keith McGreggor, Spencer Rugaber
Tesca Fitzgerald, David Joyner, Rochelle Lobo, Bryan Wiltgen, Gongbo Zhang

The Design & Intelligence Laboratory conducts research into human-centered artificial intelligence and computational cognitive science, with a focus on computational creativity. Current projects explore analogical reasoning in biologically inspired design, visual reasoning on intelligence tests, meta-reasoning in game-playing software agents, and learning about ecological and biological systems in science education.