Travis Mandel

  • Assistant Professor Department of Computer Science, UH Hilo

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Dr. Mandel’s main goal is to help lead the development of the new data science program at UH Hilo. This includes creating new curriculum, teaching new classes, and forging interdepartmental connections. Additionally, the program includes a substantial research component, and Dr. Mandel will be mentoring a data science research student during the school year as well as co-leading the UH Hilo EPSCoR undergraduate summer bridge research program. Finally, Dr. Mandel will be helping assist other scientific researchers (both inside and outside of ʻIke Wai) better apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to their research problems.


Dr. Travis Mandel obtained his Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2011. Following that, he earned his Master’s (in 2013) and Ph.D. (in 2017) from the University of Washington, advised by Zoran Popović and Emma Brunskill (Stanford University).

Dr. Mandel’s research interests lie in the realm of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Specifically, he is interested in the broad question of how we can use data to automatically improve human-focused systems. Throughout his research he has developed new reinforcement learning systems that allow us to automatically optimize the design of educational games, and has deployed these systems “in the wild” to thousands of students.