Dr. Emmett Tomai

Emmett Tomai

Associate Professor
Interim Department Chair 
Edinburg: EIEAB 3.213

Faculty Website: https://faculty.utrgv.edu/emmett.tomai/ 




I work in the field of artificial intelligence, on language, narrative and video games. Narrative is a ubiquitous human communication tool for making sense of the world, and I am interested in how we use it to describe, create and share experiences. Video games are not only an exciting, dynamic narrative medium but a more tractable environment to carry out research on narrative. Games create simplified virtual worlds, where the actions and events are limited by the complexity of the world simulation. Game stories surround those formalized elements with a free-form narrative about open-ended topics. I believe that we can leverage that partial constraint to make progress in developing richer computational models of language that can lead to more dynamic forms of storytelling in games.

As an educator, I am interested in how we can better teach analytical problem-solving skills, from K through college, that will prepare students in all disciplines to succeed in an increasingly technical world. I am exploring video games to develop intuitive, fundamental processes that make early problem-solving compelling and satisfying. These gateway experiences are intended to motivate, equip and build confidence for a more rigorous study.


Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Computer Science, Northwestern University, 2009
  • MS, Computer Science, Northwestern University, 2007
  • BS, Computer Engineering, Northwestern University, 1997
  • BS, Electrical Engineering, Northwestern University, 1997

Courses Taught

CSCI 1170 Computer Science I Lab

CSCI 1370 Computer Science I

CSCI 3342 Internet Programming

CSCI 3370 Introduction to Game Development

CSCI 4185 Research Seminar

CSCI 4318 Cyber Security