Desmond Ong
Desmond C. Ong, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Information Systems and Analytics
School of Computing
National University of Singapore

Office: COM2-04-29
dco (at)
Research Scientist
Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC)
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

desmond (underscore) ong (at)
Github Github: desmond-ong
Google Scholar


  • February 2021: I will be giving an invited talk at the Emotion Preconference at SPSP, which will be held virtually on 10 Feb. Hope to see you there!

  • December 2020: Grateful to be able to round off the year with an accepted AERA Open paper (on a really cool explore-exploit-prune model of student resource regulation, together with Patricia Chen and colleagues) and an AAAI paper (on aspect-based sentiment analysis, led by my student Zhengxuan). I hope everyone reading this stays safe as we come to the end of a very difficult year. And here's hoping that 2021 will be a much better year!

  • August 2020: My Final Year Project student Terence Lim has won the NUS Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize! Congratulations to Terence!

I am a cognitive scientist interested in how people (and computers) reason about other people: how they think and what they feel.

I am an Assistant Professor of Information Systems and Analytics within the School of Computing at the National University of Singapore. I am affiliated with the NUS Artificial Intelligence Lab (νSAIL, pronounced "NU-SAIL"), and with the Institute for Applied Learning Sciences and Educational Technology (ALSET).

I also hold a concurrent appointment as a Research Scientist in the Institute for High Performance Computing, A*STAR, where I contribute to Integrative Social Science and human-centric AI research efforts (an initiative formerly known as the A*STAR Artificial Intelligence Initiative). The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the national agency that coordinates Singapore's publicly-funded research and development.

I earned my Ph.D. in Psychology and a Master's degree in Computer Science from Stanford University. For my dissertation research, I worked primarily with Noah Goodman (Computation and Cognition Lab) and Jamil Zaki (Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab). I also hold an undergraduate degree in Economics and Physics from Cornell University.

You can find my CV here (dated October 2020).

And you can read a recent feature about my research here! (and a shorter one, mostly about my scholarship, here)

If the research that I do sounds interesting to you, I am always looking for enthusiastic and capable psychologists, computer scientists, information scientists and researchers in closely-related fields, to join my team. Do get in touch with me! There may be availabilities open at all levels: Full-time post-baccalaureate, post-masters, and post-doctoral positions; post-graduate and PhD opportunities in the School of Computing (for Singaporeans considering a PhD with me, do look into funding sources like the Graduate Tutorship Scheme), as well as shorter-term internships and other potential research attachment opportunities (e.g., NUS Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, or UROP).


At NUS I teach BT1101: Introduction to Business Analytics, a first-year course covering statistics and data analytics in R. I am compiling my notes from the class (as well as several more advanced topics) into a draft web book, here.

In Semester 1 of AY2020/2021, I taught a new course, IS4152: Affective Computing.