Seth Cooper Assistant Professor
Playable Innovative Technologies Lab
College of Computer and Information Science
Northeastern University
 
Media - Peer-Reviewed Publications - Other Publications - Games - Students - Teaching - Awards - Misc
 
  I am an Assistant Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University and a member of the Playable Innovative Technologies Lab. I received my PhD in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. My dissertation, "A Framework for Scientific Discovery through Video Games," advised by Zoran Popović, won the ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award in 2011. My current research focuses on using video games to solve difficult scientific problems; I have delivered multiple TED talks on the topic. I am co-creator of the scientific discovery games Foldit and Nanocrafter and early math educational games including Refraction and Treefrog Treasure. I have also done research in real-time animation for games, often in the motion capture lab. I have previously worked at the Center for Game Science (as Creative Director), Square Enix, Electronic Arts, Pixar Animation Studios and the UC Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory (on BOINC, the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing).

I am looking for graduate and undergraduate students who would like to work in game science research. Contact me if you are interested!
 
 
Media
 
 
GSummit (2013-07-03) The Contenders (2013-01) Fold It (2012-11) TEDxPanthéonSorbonne (2012-11-08)
TEDMED (2012-04-12) TEDxVancouver (2011-11-12) King 5 News (2012-05-21) Nature Medicine (2012-04-13)
MedCrunch (2012-4-12) NSF Visualization (2012-02-03) Science (2012-02-03) MSNBC (2011-09-18)
King 5 News (2011-09-19) New Day NW (2011-10-14) Triple J Radio (2011-09-20) Brian Lehrer Live (2011-09-28)
NPR (2011-10-02) Al Jazeera (2011-10-05) The Takeaway (2011-09-22)
 
 
Peer-Reviewed Publications
 
 
Proactive sensing for improving hand pose estimation.
Dun-Yu Hsiao, Min Sun, Christy Ballweber, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2016).
(To Appear) [pdf]
 
 
Solution 2: Flow Jam and Paradox.
Tim Pavlik, Craig Conner, Jonathan Burke, Matthew Burns, Werner Dietl, Seth Cooper, Michael D. Ernst, and Zoran Popović.
In Lessons learned in game development for crowdsourced software formal verification.
Drew Dean et al.
USENIX Summit on Gaming, Games, and Gamification in Security Education (2015).
[link]
 
 
Nanocrafter: design and evaluation of a DNA nanotechnology game.
Jonathan Barone, Colin Bayer, Rowan Copley, Nova Barlow, Matthew Burns, Sundipta Rao, Georg Seelig, Zoran Popović, Seth Cooper and Nanocrafter Players.
Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2015).
[link] [pdf]
 
 
User behavior transformation through dynamic input mappings.
Dun-Yu Hsiao, Seth Cooper, Christy Ballweber and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2014).
[link] [pdf]
 
 
WeFold: a coopetition for protein structure prediction.
George A. Khoury et al.
Proteins: Structure, Function, and Bioinformatics (2014).
[link]
 
 
Automated redesign of local playspace properties.
Aaron Bauer, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2013).
[link] [pdf]
 
 
Verification games: making verification fun.
Werner Dietl, Stephanie Dietzel, Michael D. Ernst, Nathaniel Mote, Brian Walker, Seth Cooper, Timothy Pavlik and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the 14th Workshop on Formal Techniques for Java-like Programs (2012).
[link] [pdf]
 
 
Increased Diels-Alderase activity through backbone remodeling guided by Foldit players.
Christopher B. Eiben, Justin B. Siegel, Jacob B. Bale, Seth Cooper, Firas Khatib, Betty W. Shen, Foldit Players, Barry L. Stoddard, Zoran Popović and David Baker.
Nature Biotechnology (2012).
[link]
 
 
The impact of tutorials on games of varying complexity.
Erik Andersen, Eleanor O'Rourke, Yun-En Liu, Richard Snider, Jeff Lowdermilk, David Truong, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2012). (Best Paper Nominee)
[link] [pdf]
 
 
Algorithm discovery by protein folding game players.
Firas Khatib, Seth Cooper, Michael D. Tyka, Kefan Xu, Ilya Makedon, Zoran Popović, David Baker and Foldit Players.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2011). (Science Editor's Choice)
[link]
 
 
High-resolution structure of a retroviral protease folded as a monomer.
Miroslaw Gilski, Maciej Kazmierczyk, Szymon Krzywda, Helena Zábranská, Seth Cooper, Zoran Popović, Firas Khatib, Frank DiMaio, James Thompson, David Baker, Iva Pichová and Mariusz Jaskolskia.
Acta Crystallographica D67, 907-914 (2011).
[link]
 
 
Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players.
Firas Khatib, Frank DiMaio, Foldit Contenders Group, Foldit Void Crushers Group, Seth Cooper, Maciej Kazmierczyk, Miroslaw Gilski, Szymon Krzywda, Helena Zábranská, Iva Pichová, James Thompson, Zoran Popović, Mariusz Jaskolski and David Baker.
Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 18, 1175-1177 (2011). (NSMB Article of the Month)
[link]
 
 
Analysis of social gameplay macros in the Foldit cookbook.
Seth Cooper, Firas Khatib, Ilya Makedon, Hao Lu, Janos Barbero, David Baker, James Fogarty, Zoran Popović and Foldit Players.
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2011).
[link] [pdf]
 
 
On the harmfulness of secondary game objectives.
Erik Andersen, Yun-En Liu, Richard Snider, Roy Szeto, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2011).
[link] [pdf] [project]
 
 
Feature-based projections for effective playtrace analysis.
Yun-En Liu, Erik Andersen, Richard Snider, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2011).
[link] [pdf] [project]
 
 
ROSETTA3: an object-oriented software suite for the simulation and design of macromolecules.
Andrew Leaver-Fay et al.
Methods in Enzymology 487, 545-574 (2011).
[link]
 
 
Predicting protein structures with a multiplayer online game.
Seth Cooper, Firas Khatib, Adrien Treuille, Janos Barbero, Jeehyung Lee, Michael Beenen, Andrew Leaver-Fay, David Baker, Zoran Popović and Foldit Players.
Nature 466, 756-760 (2010).
[link]
 
 
The challenge of designing scientific discovery games.
Seth Cooper, Adrien Treuille, Janos Barbero, Andrew Leaver-Fay, Kathleen Tuite, Firas Khatib, Alex Cho Snyder, Michael Beenen, David Salesin, David Baker, Zoran Popović and Foldit players.
Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2010).
[link] [pdf] [project]
 
 
Active learning for real-time motion controllers.
Seth Cooper, Aaron Hertzmann and Zoran Popović.
ACM Transactions on Graphics 26(3) (SIGGRAPH 2007).
[link] [pdf] [project]
 
 
Continuum crowds.
Adrien Treuille, Seth Cooper and Zoran Popović.
ACM Transactions on Graphics 25(3) (SIGGRAPH 2006).
[link] [pdf] [project]
 
 
Other Publications
 
 
Massively Multiplayer Research: Gamification and (Citizen) Science.
Seth Cooper.
In The Gameful World: Approaches, Issues, Applications.
Steffen P. Walz and Sebastian Deterding, eds.
Book chapter, The MIT Press (2015).
[The MIT Press] [Amazon]
 
 
A Framework for Scientific Discovery through Video Games.
Seth Cooper.
Book, ACM and Morgan & Claypool (2014).
[link] [Amazon]
 
 
Increasing public involvement in structural biology.
Seth Cooper, Firas Khatib and David Baker.
Commentary, in Structure 21(9) (2013).
[link]
 
 
A Framework for Scientific Discovery through Video Games.
Seth Cooper.
Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington (2011).
[link]
 
 
Games
 
 
Foldit a scientific discovery game about protein folding and design
[website (download required)]
The Dr. Frank H. Netter Award for Special Contributions to Medical Education 2013
Honorable Mention (Technical Excellence), Independent Games Festival 2013
Category Winner (Behavioral Change), Katerva Award 2012
1st Place (Interactive Games), NSF International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge 2011
Innovation of the Year, TechFlash Newsmaker Awards 2011
Finalist, I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge 2011
Finalist, Games for Change Direct Impact Award 2011
Nominee, World Technology Award 2010
Runner up, Madrona Prize 2008
 
 
Nanocrafter a scientific discovery game about building nanomachines
[website]
Top Ten Citizen Science Projects, SciStarter 2015
Top 10 (Interactives), NSF Visualization Challenge 2015
Best Social Media Crowdsourcing, I/ITSEC Serious Games Showcase & Challenge 2014
 
 
Paradox a problem-solving game about verifying software
[website]
 
 
Refraction an educational puzzle game about fractional partitioning
[play] [iOS] [Android]
Best Work (Primary School category), 38th NHK Japan Prize 2011
Top 25, Kongregate Summer Mobile Game Contest 2011
Grand Prize: Best in Show Award, Disney Learning Challenge, SIGGRAPH 2010
Weekly 2nd Place, kongregate.com 2010
 
 
Vampire Vision a visual search game about perception
[play]
Daily 2nd Place, newgrounds.com 2011
 
 
Treefrog Treasure an educational platforming game about number lines
[play] [iOS] [Android]
 
 
Creature Capture an educational card game about fraction comparisons
[play] [iOS] [Android]
 
 
Riddle Books an educational game about word problems

 
 
Flow Jam a problem-solving game about verifying software
[website]
 
 
Students
  • Sophie Spatharioti
Teaching
  • at Northeastern University
    2016 Spring, Computer Graphics, CS5310, Instructor
    2015 Fall, Programming in C++, CS3520, Instructor

  • at University of Washington
    2012 Spring, Undergraduate Capstone Software Design (Game Design), CSE481D, Co-Instructor
    2010 Spring, Undergraduate Capstone Software Design (Game Design), CSE481D, TA
    2007 Winter, Graduate Computer Graphics, CSE557, TA
    2004 Fall, Undergraduate Computer Programming II, CSE143, TA
Awards
Misc