Rohit Kumar

Dr. Rohit Kumar recently (April 2017) joined Spotify in Somerville, Massachusetts. His work aims to amplify human productivity and enrich the experience of interaction with machines through the use of intelligent technologies. His research trajectory is advancing the use of intelligent, yet principally imperfect technologies in a broad range of end-user facing applications.

Before Spotify, Dr. Kumar was a senior scientist at Raytheon BBN Technologies where he led efforts on bringing together problem-solving, a time-tested pedagogical practice across numerous STEM disciplines, with recent advances in intelligent tutoring system. BBN Learning Platform, the result of this work, is now being made available, free of cost, to high schools across the nation. Rohit was the Technical Lead for BBN’s advanced speech translation program that is focused on creating technological mediums for cross-lingual communication. His work has increased the resilience of these translation systems to component failures and made them rapidly adaptable for timely deployment in emergent scenarios like humanitarian aid and disaster relief.

Dr. Kumar is a senior member of IEEE and has authored over 60 publications. He graduated from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh and received his PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. His dissertation work studied conversational agents that improve the effectiveness of human collaboration. This work demonstrated that the use of social interaction by conversationally capable machines (e.g. chat bots) can be used to manage user attention. Applied to educational scenarios, where the students are easily distracted, regulated social interaction helps in focusing the student's attention and improving learning outcomes.

Rohit is fascinated by the American Roadrunner. He spends his summer growing vegetables and has recently gained an interest in growing the desert plant Ocotillo in Massachusetts.