Dr. Paul Fishwick

Director of Creative Automata Laboratory and professor of computer science

ATEC Distinguished University Chair

Dr. Paul Fishwick holds dual appointments as the ATEC Distinguished University Chair and as a professor of computer science.

He leads a lab aimed at bringing human elements to the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Fishwick builds models that show what abstract concepts and complex equations really represent.

“I am bringing a human interaction to the STEM fields by creating physical representations of mathematical formulas and computer software to help us better understand how these abstract artifacts work,” Fishwick said.

Fishwick’s lab is called the “Creative Automata Lab,” which challenges students to create models to illustrate difficult concepts in science and mathematics.

“Models are common to all disciplines within the University. They are designed and constructed to help us understand a breadth of subjects from extreme weather to business trends. And, creating a model is really an artistic process, so what we’re doing in the lab fully embodies the spirit of the Arts and Technology (ATEC) program,” Fishwick said.

Fishwick has six years of industry experience as a programmer analyst working at Newport News Shipbuilding, the sole designer, builder and refueler of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, and at the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia as a systems analyst. He served on the faculty at the University of Florida beginning in 1986, and was director of the digital arts and sciences programs there.

Fishwick earned his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and is a fellow of the Society for Computer Simulation International. He chairs the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group on Simulation and Modeling (ACM SIGSIM), an international organization.

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Dr. Paul Fishwick

School of Arts and Humanities

Erik Jonsson School of Engineering
and Computer Science


An anonymous gift established the ATEC Distinguished University Chair to enable the School of Arts and Humanities to recruit and retain outstanding faculty engaged in research for the Arts and Technology program. Fishwick assumed the chair in January 2013.


Fishwick has pioneered the area of aesthetic computing, bringing together elements of art, modeling, simulation and engineering, with the goal of exploring new representational approaches.


“UT Dallas is unique in its ambition to bridge computing and engineering with the arts and humanities. There are a lot of possibilities here.”