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Magy Seif El-Nasr

Professor of Computational Media, University of California at Santa Cruz

Khoury College Courtesy Appointment

Magy Seif El-Nasr


Office Location

440 Huntington Avenue
476 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: Magy Seif El-Nasr, 202 WVH
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Research Interests

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Virtual environments
  • Intelligent adaptive systems
  • Games and social media as interventions for health and learning
  • Believable characters
  • Interactive narratives
  • Evaluation methodologies for virtual environments
  • Games research
  • Game data science


  • PhD in Computer Science, Northwestern University
  • MS in Computer Science, Texas A&M University
  • BS in Computer Science, American University in Cairo, Egypt


Magy Seif El-Nasr is an associate professor at the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the College of Arts, Media and Design at Northeastern University. Seif El-Nasr directs the Playable Innovative Technologies and Game User Interaction and Intelligence Lab. Prior to joining Northeastern, she was an assistant professor at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University (2007-2011). Before that, she was an assistant professor at the School of Information Science and Technology at Pennsylvania State University (2003-2007).

Seif El-Nasr believes current problems in the areas of health, education, resilience, and cybersecurity most often require an interdisciplinary approach and a deep understanding of human behavior, learning, and human cognition we currently do not possess. Her research focuses on building a framework to facilitate the use of virtual environments — such as games, VR, apps, social media, or interactive narrative — as a methodology to understand human behavior and cognition, with the goal of facilitating computational solutions to national problems in health, education, and security.

To address this vision, she develops tools and automated techniques to help author virtual environments, such as interactive narratives and believable characters, as well as data-driven analytics to model human behavior in such environments. These can be used to assess and personalize the environments toward effective use in solving national problems, such as health and learning.

Seif El-Nasr has chaired and co-chaired several conferences, including PETRA 2013, AIIDE 2013, Foundations of Digital Games 2012, International Conference on Entertainment Computing  2011 (co-chair), Advances in Computer Entertainment 2009 (program co-chair), and Computer Human Interaction 2015 (associate chair). She also serves on the editorial board of the IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and Game Artificial Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, Entertainment Computing Journal, and ACM’s Computers in Entertainment.

She has served on several National Science Foundation panels and numerous special interest groups, including as an ACM Representative for TC14 IFIP on Entertainment Computing. Seif El-Nasr has received several paper awards for her work and given multiple talks and keynotes, including a keynote at the International Conference on Entertainment Computing conference in November 2019. In 2017, Seif El-Nasr was one of 30 game scholars selected as fellows for the Higher Education Video Game Association, an association that aims to cultivate a community on game scholarship and education around the world.