Sasha Azad

Ph.D. Computer Science Candidate

North Carolina State University


I am a Ph.D. Computer Science student in the Principles of Expressive Machines (POEM) Lab under the advisement of Dr. Arnav Jhala and Dr. Chris Martens at NC State University. I model and study large populations of humans by simulating small-scale social interactions that take into account real-world geographic constraints, logistics, lifestyles, and social influence dynamics. With my research I aim to support a variety of applications, such as examining the implications of social science theories and developing playable, explorable story worlds. I believe my research would afford increased entertainment, immersion and replayability for users.

Most recently, I was a PhD Summer Research Intern at IBM Research. I designed and developed a simuluation that modelled the spread of COVID-19 amongst employees in a workplace using artificial intelligence and agent-based simulation techniques with the goal to mitigate the viral spread amongst employees. Before that, I worked as a Research Lab Associate at Disney Research Pittsburgh in the Narrative Intelligence Lab. Before that I completed my M.S. in Computer Science from Georgia Institute of Technology under the advisement of Dr. Mark Riedl in the Entertainment Intelligence Lab.

My pronouns are she/her


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Science
  • Game AI / Serious Games
  • Digital Twin Modeling
  • Social Simulation / NPC Modeling
  • Computational Social Science


  • PhD in Computer Science, 2017 - 2024

    North Carolina State University

  • MS Computer Science (Specialization - Interactive Intelligence), 2014 - 2016

    Georgia Institute of Technology

  • B.Engg. Computer Engineering, 2007 - 2011

    University of Mumbai

Recent Honors and Awards

Selected for Women in Games Mentorship

Awarded $1,500 Girls Make Games (GMG) Fellowship

Awarded $10,000 Women Techmakers (formerly Anita Borg) Scholarship

Awarded $8,000 Motorola Solutions Foundation Engineering Scholarship (1 of 10 recipients)

Best Full Paper Award for A Spectrum of Audience Interactivity for Entertainment Domains

Awarded $4,000 University Graduate Fellowship

Awarded $50,000 to function as the Entrepreneurial Lead for the NSF iCorps Grant