PhD Candidate at UCL

As a PhD candidate in the VECG Group at University College London, I conduct research on asymmetric collaborative mixed reality in both indoor and outdoor environments. In parallel, I am a part-time research intern at Niantic Labs. I have a BSc and MSc in Computer Science and previously worked at Microsoft Research and TNO Research as a research intern and at IBM as a data scientist.

My work has spanned various topics within the field of computer science, including human-computer interaction, computer-supported cooperative work, computer vision, and generative artificial intelligence. However, a common thread throughout my work has been a focus on building human-centered systems that are both effective and enjoyable to use.

Jul. 2021 — Nov. 2025

Ph.D. Computer Science

Topic: Asymmetric (Outdoor) Collaborative Mixed Reality. Supervisors: Prof. Anthony Steed and Prof. Simon Julier.
Feb. 2018 — Oct. 2020

M.Sc. Computer Science

Track: Data Science & Technology. Graduated with the thesis titled “Generative RGB-D Face Completion for Head-Mounted Display Removal”, supervised by Prof. Pablo Cesar (TU Delft, CWI) and Dr. Frank ter Haar (TNO). A paper based on this thesis was published to the Virtual Humans and Crowds for Immersive Environments (VHCIE) workshop at IEEE VR 2021.
Sep. 2013 — Feb. 2018

B.Sc. Computer Science

Graduated with the thesis titled “A Comparative Performance Analysis of Feature Description Algorithms”, supervised by Prof. Michael Lew.
Working Experience
Oct. 2023 — Jun. 2024

Research Intern

Conducting research on the future of collaborative outdoor mixed reality under the mentorship of Jessica van Brummelen and Gabriel Brostow as a part-time internship during my Ph.D. studies.
May 2023 — Sept. 2023

Research Intern

  • Conducted research within the EPIC group (Extended Perception, Interaction & Cognition) and HCAIX group (Human-Computer & Artificial Intelligence Experiences) under the mentorship of Bala Kumaravel, Nicolai Marquardt, and Andy Wilson.
  • Contributed to two co-first author papers at the intersection of CSCW and generative AI; one exploring 2D content generation (with a pending patent), and the other, in preparation, focusing on 3D content generation.
Oct. 2020 — Jul. 2021

Data Scientist

  • Worked on advanced systems driven by custom machine learning models, delivering direct business impact for enterprise clients.
  • Communicated analytical findings to diverse audiences, steering strategic decision-making for internal and external stakeholders.
Feb. 2020 — Oct. 2020

Cloud Solution Architect Intern (Data & AI)

  • Designed and engineered advanced data models and analytics solutions for global clients and internal Microsoft teams.
  • Proposed and designed a data-centric methodology to enhance efficiency in data center construction process management.
Jul. 2019 — Aug. 2020

Research Intern

  • Conducted research towards a novel approach to head-mounted display (HMD) removal within RGB-D images at the Intelligent Imaging group under the mentorship of Frank ter Haar.
  • Designed and evaluated a generative adversarial network (GAN) for the joint inpainting of RGB-D images.
  • Described the results in my master’s thesis as well as a paper presented during the VHCIE workshop at IEEE VR 2021.
Mar. 2024

BlendScape: Enabling Unified and Personalized Video-Conferencing Environments through Generative AI

Shwetha Rajaram*, Nels Numan*, Balasaravanan Thoravi Kumaravel, Nicolai Marquardt, Andrew D. Wilson
  • Under review
  • Mar. 2024

    DreamCodeVR: Towards Democratizing Behavior Design in Virtual Reality with Speech-Driven Programming

    Daniele Giunchi, Nels Numan, Elia Gatti, Anthony Steed
    31st IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR 2024)
  • Conference
  • Mar. 2024

    StreamSpace: A Framework for Window Streaming in Collaborative Mixed Reality Environments

    Daniele Giunchi, Riccardo Bovo, Nels Numan, Anthony Steed
    31st IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (IEEE VR 2024)
  • Conference Poster
  • Oct. 2023

    Extending the Open-Source Social Virtual Reality Ecosystem to the Browser in Ubiq

    Sebastian Friston, Ben Congdon, Nels Numan, Klara Brandstätter, Lisa Izzouzi, Felix Thiel, Jingyi Zhang, Daniele Giunchi, David Swapp, Anthony Steed
    28th International ACM Conference on 3D Web Technology (Web3D 2023)
  • Conference
  • Mar. 2023

    Ubiq-Genie: Leveraging External Frameworks for Enhanced Social VR Experiences

    Nels Numan, Daniele Giunchi, Benjamin Congdon, Anthony Steed
    OAT: 2nd Workshop on Open Access Tools and Libraries for Virtual Reality (IEEE VR 2023)
  • Conference Workshop
  • Mar. 2023

    Towards Outdoor Collaborative Mixed Reality: Lessons Learnt from a Prototype System

    Nels Numan, Ziwen Lu, Benjamin Congdon, Daniele Giunchi, Alexandros Rotsidis, Andreas Lernis, Kyriakos Larmos, Tereza Kourra, Panayiotis Charalambous, Yiorgos Chrysanthou, Simon Julier, Anthony Steed
    ReDigiTS: 2nd Workshop on 3D Reconstruction, Digital Twinning, and Simulation for Virtual Experiences (IEEE VR 2023)
  • Conference Workshop
  • Doctoral Consortium
  • Mar. 2023

    Immersive Competence and Immersive Literacy: Exploring How Users Learn about Immersive Experiences

    Anthony Steed, Daniel Archer, Lisa Izzouzi, Nels Numan, Kalila Shapiro, David Swapp, Dinah Lammiman, Rob Lindeman
    Frontiers in Virtual Reality
  • Journal
  • Nov. 2022

    Exploring User Behaviour in Asymmetric Collaborative Mixed Reality

    Nels Numan, Anthony Steed
    28th ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (VRST 2022)
  • Conference
  • Oct. 2022

    Ubiq-Exp: a Toolkit to Build and Run Remote and Distributed Mixed Reality Experiments

    Anthony Steed, Lisa Izzouzi, Klara Brandstätter, Sebastian Friston, Benjamin Congdon, Otto Olkkonen, Daniele Giunchi, Nels Numan, David Swapp
    Frontiers in Virtual Reality
  • Journal
  • Mar. 2021

    Generative RGB-D Face Completion for Head-Mounted Display Removal

    Nels Numan, Frank ter Haar, Pablo Cesar
    VHCIE: 6th Workshop on Virtual Humans and Crowds for Immersive Environments (IEEE VR 2021)
  • Conference Workshop
  • Mar. 2019

    Star Tag: a Superhuman Sport to Promote Physical Activity

    Nels Numan, Ayla Kolster, Niels Hoogerwerf, Bernd Kreynen, Jeanique Romeijnders, Tomas Heinsohn Huala, Nestor Z. Salamon, J. Timothy Balint, Stephan Lukosch, Rafael Bidarra
    SHS: 1st Workshop on Superhuman Sports (IEEE VR 2019)
  • Conference Workshop
  • Teaching and Mentorship
    2021 — 2023

    Postgraduate Teaching Assistant at UCL

    • Virtual Environments (COMP0113) with Prof. Anthony Steed
    • Systems Engineering (COMP0016) with Prof. Dean Mohamedally
    2022 — 2024

    Thesis Project Supervisor

    • Angela Yu (MEng Computer Science): Interactive Avatar Appearance Modelling with Generative AI
    • Praveen Selvaraj (MSc Computer Science): Escape Room in Asymmetric Collaborative Mixed Reality

    ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM CHI)

  • ★ Special Recognition for Outstanding Review
  • 2024

    IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR)

    Grants and Awards
    Jul. 2021 — Jul. 2024

    Ph.D. Studentship

    European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program (Project RISE), grant no. 739578.
    Oct. 2023

    Honorable Mention for Best Design Award at ISMAR 2023 Student Competition

    Reviving the Euston Arch: A Mixed Reality Approach to Cultural Heritage Tours
    Mar. 2019

    Conference Travel Grant

    Delft Sports Engineering Institute
    Interests and Skills
    Current Fields of Interest
  • Mixed Reality
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision
  • Generative Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer-Supported Collaborative Work
  • Interaction Design
  • User Experience
  • Visualization
  • Programming Languages and Frameworks
  • Python
  • C++
  • C#
  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • PHP
  • R
  • SQL
  • Apache Spark
  • TensorFlow
  • PyTorch
  • MRTK
  • Software and Services
  • Unity
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • GCP
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Current Work Eligibility
  • European Union
  • United Kingdom (part-time)
  • United States