440 Huntington Avenue
302 West Village H
Boston, MA 02115
ATTN: Pratheep Kumar Paranthaman, 202 WVH
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115-5000
- PhD in Science and Technology for Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Genoa – Italy
- MS in Artificial Intelligence, Heriot-Watt University – UK
- BTech in Information Technology, Anna University – India
Pratheep Kumar Paranthaman is a Postdoctoral Research Associate working in CCIS under the supervision of Prof. Seth Cooper. Pratheep is currently working in the Games User Research domain to explore the insights of the player experience in games. Pratheep earned his Ph.D. from University of Genoa, Italy. During his PhD research phase, he investigated the impacts of Serious Games in automotive sector, and he was also associated with an Industrial European Union (EU–FP7) project on safe and collaborative Transportation. He completed his Masters Degree in Artificial Intelligence from Heriot-Watt University, U.K., where his research and analysis focused on Human-Robot Interaction. Pratheep has a wide range of research interests in Artificial Intelligence, Serious Games, Human-Computer Interaction, and User Interface Design, but he has always had special interest in the game development process, and is looking forward to expanding his research in Applied Games and Games User Research.
- Hometown: Chennai, India
What are the specific areas of your graduate education?
My research activities during my PhD was mainly focused on the design and development of Serious Games to promote green and safe driving behaviors. I developed a few serious games, which were centered on road users (drivers and passengers) and I was active in the usability study for estimating the impact of Games in Transportation Sector. I defended my PhD thesis titled – “The Design and Implementation of Serious Games for Driving and Mobility.” I always had a passion for game design and development, and it was exactly during my PhD that it had gotten deeper. During my Masters degree, I worked on a project in Human-Robot Interaction and in which I designed a behavior model for a Humanoid Robot (NAO Torso) for assessing turn-taking and decision-making abilities in a multi-party conversation with human subjects. For this research project, I received the “Best Post Prize for the Most Innovative Project” in the MSc Cohort. Since then I always had a strong passion for behavioral analysis and user experience research.
What are your research interests?
I am interested in serious games and their applications in various sectors such as education, training, medicine, etc. I am currently expanding my research aspects in user interface design and artificial intelligence. When I started working in game development process, I realized that there is a good amount of space to incorporate AI methodologies and UI design elements into gaming aspects. Through my exposure with serious games, I understood that games have another dimension apart from entertainment and can be used to promote/improve various user behaviors. So, designing such games for resolving existing problems in society is my solid goal. However, the crucial part of generic game development is understanding the users/players who are going to experience it. Therefore it is essential to develop tools to gauge various dimensions of user experience and to make the game design process a fruitful one. In existing research context, there are sophisticated applications for building games, but the necessary tools for assessing user experience are still under analysis. My current research is focused on bridging the gap between the effective game development process and better user experience.
What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research / work?
The duration involved in user testing process associated with any software development is massive, as it might take several weeks. This is a crucial phase, where the designers tend to make decisions and modifications for the betterment of design aspects. But, due to the latency involved in user testing, the pace of development is affected. Therefore, to improve the pace of the development process, I am working on a rapid iterative approach, which could potentially reduce the user test duration to a few minutes. I am using a 2D game development platform as a use case scenario to investigate the rapid iterative approach.
What aspect of what you do is most interesting?
In research, we have various plans for building a product or designing a model. But to validate the designed product or research outcomes, a time-consuming usability tests with surveys or real-time tests have to be conducted. User testing is a significant process, and as a developer, one should contribute a good amount of time to attain better results. As a researcher, I have always been in this phase of user testing and have experienced time-consuming user tests on multiple occasions. So, there is a substantial need to analyze the methods involved in reducing the latency in testing phase without compromising the principal components of a usability study. Therefore, I am interested to uncover the issues involved in this process and to deploy a rapid iterative approach to increase the pace of testing and development.
What are your research or career goals, going forward?
I look forward to engaging myself completely into academia as a full-time researcher. I am passionate about teaching as well, so I will be building some content for any upcoming teaching activities. I believe that my current research activities will set a launchpad to equip myself for expanding my research in the field of games.