Dr. Varma is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. He is also a faculty member in the Cognition and Brain Science program in the School of Psychology. He earned his B.S. in Mathematics and Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University and his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Vanderbilt University. He completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University and was the Huebner Chair in Education and Technology at the University of Minnesota before coming to Georgia Tech.
Dr. Varma is a cognitive scientist who uses computational modeling and behavioral experiments to understand those complex forms of cognition that are uniquely human, and indeed make us human. His primary lines of research includemathematical cognition (e.g., human intuitions about geometric and topological concepts), computational thinking (e.g., human solutions of computationally hard problems such as the TSP), language understanding (e.g., the cognitive plausibility of large language models), learning (e.g., continual learning in humans and machines), and problem solving (e.g., optimization under constraints). He also investigates the neural correlations of cognitive mechanisms and the educational implications of cognitive learning principles.