I'm Nirmal Patel, CEO of Smart Paper and Chief Data Scientist at Playpower Labs. I'm based out of GIFT City, Gujarat, India.

I build innovative technologies to solve challenging problems in digital education. I have fifteen years of hands-on experience spanning across software engineering, data science, AI, and learning science. I have published award-winning research around educational data, and I actively work with the education community to materialize visionary ideas.

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Email: nirmal@playpowerlabs.com


Smart Paper (CEO & Co-Founder)

Smart Paper is democratizing access to educational data! Winner of Learning Engineering Tools Competition and Aegis Graham Bell Awards.

Playpower Labs (Chief Data Scientist)

Published award-winning learning engineering research, founding and chief learning engineer of Playpower Labs.


Smart Paper - Measuring Learning at Scale

Impacting ~5 million students at 65,000 public schools in India's Rajasthan state

Smart Paper impacts nearly 5 million students in India's Rajasthan state by enabling equitable educational data collection in 65,000 public schools. The government uses Smart Paper to measure the competency levels of the students and enables nearly 300,000 teachers to personalize learning in their classrooms. 

Fairness & Equity in India's National Tests

I directly worked with India's Ministry of Education on test data forensics and learning analytics. 

Technology for Learning Science

I work with Dr. Steve Ritter, Founder & Chief Scientist at Carnegie Learning to build UpGrade - an open-source platform for A/B testing in education.


Winner, 2022 Aegis Graham Bell Awards (AI for Education)

Winner, 2021-2022 Learning Engineering Tools Competition (30 Worldwide Winners)

Winner, 2022 Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice (EM:IP) Cover Graphic/Data Visualization Competition

Best Short Paper, 2022 IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Trends and Pattern Recognition

Winner #2, 2019 NAEP Data Mining Challenge

Best Short Paper, 2018 Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference

Honorable Mention, 2017 ACM CHI

Winning Team, 2011 National STEM Video Game Challenge

Research Articles

 First authored in bold

Improving Mathematics Assessment Readability: Do Large Language Models Help? Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 2023

Equitable Access to Intelligent Tutoring Systems Through Paper-Digital Integration. International Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference, 2022

Variable Length Digit Recognition for the Gujarati Language. IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Trends and Pattern Recognition, 2022.

Modeling NAEP Test-Taking Behavior Using Educational Process Analysis. Journal of Educational Data Mining Vol. 13 No. 2, 2021

UpGrade: An open source tool to support A/B testing in educational software.  First Workshop on Educational A/B Testing at Scale (at Learning@ Scale), 2020.

Optimizing an Educational Game Using UpGrade: Challenges and Opportunities.  First Workshop on Educational A/B Testing at Scale (at Learning@ Scale), 2020.

Explainable Knowledge Tracing Models for Big Data: Is Ensembling an Answer? arXiv preprint arXiv:2011.05285, 2020.

Visualizing Cronbach's Alpha for a Large Number of Assessments.  First Workshop on Educational Data Visualization (at Learning Analytics and Knowledge), 2019.

Curriculum pacing: A new approach to discover instructional practices in classrooms. International Intelligent Tutoring Systems Conference, 2018

Is difficulty overrated? The effects of choice, novelty and suspense on intrinsic motivation in educational games. CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, 2017.

Mining frequent learning pathways from a large educational dataset. arXiv preprint arXiv:1705.11125, 2017.

Interface design optimization as a multi-armed bandit problem. CHI conference on human factors in computing systems, 2016.

Academic Workshops

A Workshop on Process Analysis Methods For Educational Data, In Educational Data Mining Conference, Paris, France. 2021.

A Workshop on Educational Data Visualization, In Learning Analytics and Knowledge Conference, Arizona, United States. 2019.


How Covid-19 Created a New Wave of Digital Learning in India, American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, 2022

A Talk on Process Mining and A/B Testing in Educational Applications, CMU Open Learning Initiative AI/ML Group, 2022

Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day!