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Arnav Jhala, associate professor of computer science, joined NC State in August 2016 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Visual Narrative, and as the co-director of the Digital Games Research Initiative.

Jhala’s research group investigates computational structures and methods that are useful in representing and mediating human interpretation and communication of narrative in interactive visual media, such as film and games. The Jhala research group uses symbolic and probabilistic tools to represent and construct coherent visual discourse and apply generative techniques for automated and semi-automated tools to interpret and collaboratively create visual narratives. Past projects include development of games for eliciting aesthetic preferences in domains such as photographic composition, aesthetics of play for highly skilled game players, and gestural aesthetics of dance. Methods used in the lab vary from analysis of existing data sets (such as analysis of movies or game replays), development of games and systems to elicit specific type of behavior, and development of novel designs to push the boundaries of creativity through computation.

Jhala holds a Ph.D. in computer science from NC State and bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Gujarat University in India. Prior to joining NC State, Jhala served as one of the founding faculty members of the Computational Media Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. He has worked at a variety of institutions including the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, Duke University’s Talent Identification Program(TIP), Virtual Heroes Inc. — a leading serious games developer, and the Indian Space Research Organization’s Space Applications Center.