Winslow Burleson, PhD

Professor, School of Information and Health Sciences Design
Assistant Director and Director of Research, School of Information
Headshot of SXSW Speaker Winslow Burleson


Building Machines that Understand Humans

Friday, March 11, 12 p.m.
Surround Stage

JEDI Aquanautics
Sunday, March 13, 12 p.m.
Surround Stage

StellarScape Q&A
Sunday, March 13, 3 p.m.
Surround Stage



Friday, a conversation with Adarsh Pyarelal: Building machines that understand humans [WATCH ON YOUTUBE]:
“ToMCAT,” the Theory of Mind-Based Cognitive Architecture for Teams, is a DARPA-funded project aimed at developing artificial intelligence with a ‘theory of mind,’ and create AI that is a good teammate to humans. Researchers are developing AI agents paired to humans, in a Minecraft video game environment. Ideally, the agent observes, it learns, and then, if needed, it can intervene to help the team.

Sunday at noon, JEDI Aquanautics [WATCH ON YOUTUBE]:

How can we combine a lightweight, inexpensive underwater habitat with the sensing and processing power of a holodeck to bring Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into the exploration of the oceans: the great unknown? 

Sunday, 3p.m., Q&A with StellarScape Producers Kay He, Chris Impey and Win Burleson

Go behind the scenes with the producers of an extraordinary new collaboration, StellarScape – an immersive multimedia story of a massive star, from its birth to its death, echoing the theme of darkness and light, just as we are stardust brought to life. StellarScape is an unprecedented combination of music, dance, and cinematography, blended with state-of-the-art data visualization and astrophysical simulation.


Dr. Winslow Burleson is a social inventor, a scholar, researcher, artist, and educator with expertise in Human Computer Interaction and the Learning Sciences. He has been recognized as a Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery, a pioneering innovator advancing the digital age. The National Academy of Engineering recognized him as one of the “nation's brightest young engineering researchers and educators.”

Prior to joining University of Arizona he was an Associate Professor at New York University where he served as PI for the NSF Experiential Supercomputing: A Transdisciplinary Research and Innovation Holodeck grant, the only large-scale NSF CISE MRI awarded nationally in 2016. He earned a BA in Bio-Physics from Rice University, MSE in Product Design from Stanford University, and PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT. He has authored over 100 scholarly articles, holds eleven patents, and twice received Time Magazine’s Top Inventions of the Year Awards.