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Spotlight on Roblox Research

By Roblox

Product & Tech

At Roblox, our researchers drive our vision to reimagine the way people come together. We have over 100 PhDs collaborating across the fundamental Roblox Research team and applied Data Science & Analytics, User Research, and advanced engineering R&D teams. Together, they invent the future of Roblox, helping us truly deliver on our value of “taking the long view.”

The Roblox Research scientists publish findings in academic conferences, release open source and data, collaborate with universities, and bootstrap transferring results into production. Here are the team members responsible for that innovation.

Morgan McGuire

Chief Scientist
Recent Publications

Prof. McGuire accelerates innovation across Roblox by coordinating all of the research groups and directly managing Roblox Research as well as the engineering development of the Game Engine product.

Morgan has co-authored hundreds of papers and patents, spanning many areas of computer science from networking and compilers to 3D graphics, as well as several textbooks including Computer Graphics: Principles & Practice 3rd Edition, The Graphics Codex, and Creating Games. Morgan co-founded the Journal of Computer Graphics Techniques and chaired ACM SIGGRAPH NPAR, I3D, HPG, and several other conferences. Morgan’s product contributions include NVIDIA RTXGI and Reflex SDKs and RTX GPUs; the Skylanders®, Call of Duty®, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance®, and Titan Quest® video games series; the Unity game engine; the E Ink display used in the Amazon Kindle®; and the open source G3D Innovation Engine and Markdeep document system.

Morgan holds current faculty appointments at the University of Waterloo and McGill University, was a full professor at Williams College, and received a PhD and MS in computer science from Brown University and an MEng and BS in electrical engineering from MIT.

Victor Zordan

Principal Scientist
Recent Publications

Prof. Zordan investigates the broad area of computer graphics and interactive techniques, with specializations in computer animation with physical models, VR, motion capture, and interfaces.

Victor is the Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the ACM in Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (PACMCGIT), chaired and organized the ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Computer Animation (SCA) and the ACM SIGGRAPH Motion, Interaction, and Games (MIG) conferences, and served on many program committees.

He was a faculty member for twenty years, most recently as a full professor leading the Visual Computing Division of the School of Computing at Clemson University, where he continues to hold an adjunct research faculty member position. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Maneesh Agrawala

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Agrawala investigates how cognitive design principles can be used to improve the effectiveness of audio/visual media, working across computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and visualization. The goals of this work are to discover the design principles and then instantiate them in both interactive and automated design tools.

Maneesh received an Okawa Foundation Research Grant in 2006, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and an NSF CAREER Award in 2007, a SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in 2008, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2009. He is an associate editor of ACM Transaction on Graphics as well as an advisor for the Human Computation Journal.

Maneesh is currently the Forest Baskett Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford University. He received both his PhD and BS from Stanford University.

Arjun Guha

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Guha has broad interests in programming languages and systems and researches problems that arise in web security, software-defined networking, distributed systems, and robotics. At Roblox, Arjun is working to make the platform dramatically more scalable and easier to program.

Arjun holds a position as Associate Professor of Computer Science at Northeastern University and leads an academic group there. He received his PhD from Brown University and BA from Grinnell College.

Andreas Haeberlen

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Haeberlen’s research focuses on distributed systems, and on ways to improve their scalability, robustness, and security. His recent work includes massive-scale decentralized systems, techniques for privacy-preserving federated analytics, and a new way to provide fault tolerance in systems with sensitive timing. Currently he is working on a radically different architecture for large-scale data centers.

Andreas is currently a Professor in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a PhD from Rice University and spent some time at the newly founded Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. He is the recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Ford Motor Company Award, and the Max Planck Society’s Otto Hahn Medal.

Cem Yuksel

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Yuksel investigates computer graphics and related fields, including physically-based simulations, realistic image synthesis, rendering techniques, global illumination, sampling, GPU algorithms, graphics hardware, modeling complex geometries, and knitted structures, along with hair modeling, animation, and rendering. His introductory and advanced graphics lecture videos that are freely available online are watched by thousands of graphics students, professionals, and enthusiasts worldwide.

Cem chaired and organized the ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics High-Performance Graphics (HPG) and ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (I3D) conferences, in addition to contributing to numerous conferences as a program committee member. He is the Real-Time Live! program chair for SIGGRAPH 2023 and the founder of graphics software company Cyber Radiance LLC.

Cem currently holds an Associate Professor position in the School of Computing at the University of Utah. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University after receiving his PhD degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University.

Linh Thi Xuan Phan

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Phan works on real-time systems, cyber-physical systems and distributed systems. Her research focuses on theoretical foundations and systems techniques for building efficient large-scale systems with guaranteed performance, fault tolerance, safety and security. Her recent work includes real-time clouds, real-time resource allocations, compositional scheduling, timing-aware fault-tolerance, and methods for defending distributed systems against DDoS and Byzantine attacks.

Linh is currently an Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania. She has received best paper awards at RTAS and RTNS, as well as best paper award nominations at RTAS, RTSS, EMSOFT and ICRA. She is a recipient of Penn’s Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Linh has served on the Executive Committee of the IEEE Technical Committee on Real-Time Systems and the Steering Committees for RTSS, RTAS, EMSOFT and RTNS, and she recently was the Secretary-Treasurer of ACM SIGBED.

Sheldon Andrews

Visiting Professor
Recent Publications

Prof. Andrews studies physics-based animation, 3D character animation, motion capture, and measurement-based modeling for virtual environments.

Sheldon is currently a professor of Software and IT Engineering at the École de technologie supérieure (Université du Québec) in Montreal, Canada. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2015 from McGill University under the supervision of Paul Kry, and later was a postdoctoral researcher at Disney Research (2014-2015) and CM Labs Simulations (2016).

Tania Lorido-Botrán

Research Scientist
Recent Publications

Dr. Lorido-Botrán is currently a Research Scientist at Roblox. Prior to that, she worked at Microsoft and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Her research interests lie across machine learning, systems, and optimization.

Tania received her PhD from the University of Deusto in Spain with a cum laude distinction, and her master’s degree in Distributed Systems from University of the Basque Country with a highest marks distinction.

Hsueh-Ti Derek Liu

Research Scientist
Recent Publications

Dr. Liu researches in digital geometry processing, geometric computation, and 3D machine learning. Derek’s work mainly focuses on developing easy-to-use 3D content creation tools and scalable numerical methods for processing geometric data. He co-organized the Toronto Geometry Colloquium, an online seminar series on geometry processing research.  

Derek obtained his PhD at the University of Toronto, partially supported by an Adobe Research Fellowship. During his PhD studies, he interned at Adobe Research and NVIDIA Toronto AI lab. He was a visiting scholar at École Polytechnique in France and a consultant at Urus Entertainment. Previously, he received his MS from Carnegie Mellon University and BS from National Taiwan University.

Tony Liu

Research Program Manager
Recent Publications

Tony Liu researches mental wellness, healthcare, and digital civility by combining techniques from causal inference and machine learning. He previously worked at IBM Watson Health and has published in Nature Computational Science as well as ICML and AAAI workshops. He coordinates academic collaboration, technology transfer, and external communication for Roblox Research.

Tony holds a BA in Computer Science with highest honors from Williams College. He is completing a PhD in Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania advised by Profs. Lyle Ungar and Konrad Kording.

Layla Mah

Senior Technical Director

Layla Mah optimizes all aspects of the Roblox distributed system for runtime scalability and internal engineering efficiency.

She is also known for her work as CEO of InsightfulVR, developing their decoupled light field rendering and streaming engine, and their PerfLab performance automation system; co-founder of Fringe Studios, which specializes in AAA game engine optimization; Lead Architect of VR and Advanced Rendering at AMD; and contributions to shipping many PC and console game titles, including the Sid Meier’s Civilization, Thief, BioShock, and Infinite Crisis game series.

Layla performed undergraduate and graduate research in computer graphics, physics simulation, and robotics at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Kiran Bhat

Senior Director

Dr. Bhat is the Senior Director of Engineering in Roblox’s Game Engine division, overseeing the research and development of real-time deep learning technologies for 3D avatars. Kiran was the co-founder/CTO of, which merged with Roblox in December 2020. Kiran’s team at built lifelike human face visualizations by automatically converting selfies into expressive 3D avatars that interact in real time with visual and audio signals.

Kiran won the 2017 Sci-Tech Oscar for architecting ILM’s facial performance capture engine that was used to create several iconic movie characters like the Hulk in Marvel’s The Avengers, the Orcs in Warcraft, and to “bring back” Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Kiran received his PhD in Robotics from the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.

Mitesh Shah

Senior Director

Mitesh Shah is the Senior Director of Programming Languages for the Game Engine product and directly manages research and development of languages and programming models that power the creation of millions of experiences on Roblox. Previously, he built and led high-performance R&D teams at Meta, Synopsys, and start-ups delivering state-of-the-art solutions in the PL domain. Throughout his career, Mitesh developed compilers and programming models for a vast variety of processor architectures including massively parallel processors, network processors, highly embedded RISCs, Vector DSPs, VLIW machines, and neural network ML accelerators.

Mitesh holds an MS in computer science from Texas A&M University and his research interests include parallelizing compilers and processor architecture, along with exploiting perf, efficiency, reliability, and security through PL and runtime.

Kenny Mitchell

Technical Director
Recent Publications

Prof. Mitchell is a Technical Director of Rendering at Roblox. He has patented over 50 inventions and authored and co-authored over 100 technical papers.

He delivers creative technologies to the widest audiences including the BAFTA award-winning BoomBlox® with Steven Spielberg; the Command & Conquer®, Disney Infinity®, Harry Potter® series of video games; Star Wars® & Avatar® rides/animatronics; and the Finding Dory® and Pirates of the Caribbean® movies. 

A founding co-editor-in-chief of the ACM Games journal and associate editor of Proceedings of the ACM Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques (PACM CGIT) and Elsevier Computers & Graphics (C&G) journals, he has chaired ACM SIGGRAPH Interactive 3D Graphics and Games (I3D), CVMP and RVCAI international conferences and is a member of the SIGGRAPH conference advisory group. Kenny is a co-founder of 3Finery™, bringing objects to life and non-executive director of Cobra Simulation™ disrupting immersive software.

Kenny holds a position as full professor and chair of Video Game Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. He earned his PhD and MS from the school of computing, and an honor’s degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh University.

Alan Jeffrey

Principal Software Engineer
Recent Publications

Dr. Jeffrey coordinates the design and implementation of the Luau type system, which helps drive many of the features of development in Roblox Studio.

Alan has over 30 years of experience with research in programming languages, including publishing papers and serving on the program committees of Principles Of Programming Languages (POPL), International Conference On Functional Programming (ICFP), and Logic In Computer Science (LICS). He has served on the Steering Committee and Organizing Committee of ICFP, and as General Chair of LICS. He has been an active member of open source software projects such as LaTeX, Agda, Servo, and Luau.

Alan has a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford.

Mahesh Nandwana

Principal Machine Learning Scientist
Recent Publications

Mahesh leads audio ML projects at Roblox. His areas of expertise include speech and speaker recognition, voice activity detection, audio classification, and speech enhancement.

Before Roblox, Mahesh was a technical lead in the Siri Perception team at Apple. He also worked as an Advanced Computer Scientist at SRI International and was involved in DARPA RATS and MediFor programs

He has published more than 20 papers. He has served as a reviewer for conferences and journals including NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR, IEEE/ACM TASLP, Speech Communication, Interspeech, and ICASSP. He earned an MS degree from UT Dallas.

Linwan Song

Research Assistant

Linwan works on open source projects for Roblox Research and helps facilitate technology transfers from Research to Roblox Engineering.

She completed an undergraduate research assistantship with Prof. Toshiya Hachisuka at the University of Waterloo, as well as internships at Google and Autodesk.

Linwan holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo.