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Faculty instructors for the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program bring together a wealth of knowledge in computer science, a collective passion for education, and years of professional experience from the world of game and software development.

Department Faculty

Dani Andia

Lecturer

Dani Andia graduated with a BA in Computer Science from the University of Deusto in 2005. During his college years he developed several projects focusing on video games and real-time simulation. After that he joined the Xerox Corporation team (Dublin based), where he worked as a software developer before moving to Barcelona. His eagerness to expand his knowledge led him to pursue a master’s degree in video game design and programming at the Pompeu Fabra University, where he started to create his first professional video games with developers from Sony, Ubisoft, and Nintendo.

His experience includes working on game projects for the PC, PS3, Xbox, WiiU, and 3DS platforms for companies like Mercury Steam Entertainment, Delirium Studios, and Pixel Cream. Some of the games he has been involved in — including the Castlevania: Lords of Shadow trilogy, The Rivers of Alice, and others — have won awards at important game events like E3, IGF, and GameLab. At DigiPen, Andia teaches computer science courses on operating systems, C programming, C++ programming, and scripting. He also participates in the senior year game project classes. He enjoys sharing his expertise and love for games, as well as helping students find their place in the video game industry.

Iker Silvano

Lecturer

Iker Silvano received a BS in Computer Science and Engineering with an emphasis on real-time software programming from the University of Deusto in 2007. His professional experience as a software engineer includes developing real-time 3D software for experimental networked display systems, as well as participating in the development of non-published video games. Before joining DigiPen, Silvano also worked as a computer science instructor.

Silvano’s main area of focus is programming and general computer science. He currently teaches Advanced C/C++ Programming (CS225), Computer Networks (CS260), Low-Level Programming and Optimization (CS315), Software Engineering (CS365), and Artificial Intelligence for Games (CS380). He also enjoys getting involved in the game classes as much as his schedule allows.

“One of the main reasons I enjoy working at DigiPen is because it demands pushing the limits of my skills, knowledge, and understanding of the subjects I’m in charge of, in order to enable the students to create beautiful, complex systems that combine smart engineering with imaginative art,” Silvano says.

Inés Martín

Lecturer

Inés Martín graduated with a BA in English from the University of Valladolid, Spain. In 1999, she earned a master’s in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second Language/Spanish) from West Virginia University. She then spent nine years working in the U.S.A., where she taught Spanish and English as a foreign language at both the high school and undergraduate levels.

Once Martín returned to Spain, she worked as an international students coordinator at Bircham International University in Madrid before joining DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao. She currently teaches Composition 110, Storytelling 116, Multicultural Literature 246, and Spanish for foreign students.

Jon Sánchez

Lecturer

Jon Sánchez graduated as a Technical Engineer in Computer Systems from Mondragon Unibertsitatea in 2010. He later earned his BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation in 2015 from DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao. He is now working on his master’s degree in visual analytics and big data.

After his graduation he founded Kaia Studios along with other DigiPen graduates and released Dynasty Feud on Steam and PS4 platforms. He currently teaches Introduction to C Programming (CS120), Computer Graphics (CS250), and Data Structures and Algorithms (CS280). As a video game enthusiast, he enjoys seeing the evolution of the student projects during the year and discussing game design with students.

“As a former DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao student, I know what the students are going through, and it is a satisfaction to see how their efforts always pay off,” Sánchez says.

Jorge Usabiaga

Senior Lecturer

Jorge Usabiaga received a BS in Physics from the University of the Basque Country, Spain, and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Nevada, Reno (U.S.A.). He has worked at industry-leading companies such as IBM and International Game Technology, both as a senior software engineer and a manager of engineering teams.

At the University of Nevada, Usabiaga was a research assistant at the Computer Vision Laboratory and worked on NASA’s Virtual Glove Box (virtual reality) project. During Usabiaga’s career in the gaming industry, he developed a number of groundbreaking community slot games, such as eBay and Wheel of Fortune Experience.

During his tenure at DigiPen, Usabiaga has taught the following courses: High-Level Programming I and II; Introduction to Computer Graphics I and II; Data Structures; Advanced Computer Graphics I; Analysis of Algorithms; Spatial Data Structures and Algorithms; Computer Imaging; Advanced Computer Animation and Modeling; Ray Tracing; Physics Simulation/Physics-based Animation; and Advanced Rendering Techniques.

Usabiaga earnestly states that what he enjoys most about teaching at DigiPen is feeling like a student himself and getting to put all the math and physics he has learned over the years into practice. He also enjoys how DigiPen’s unique collaborative environment yields such impressive results from students.

Publications

  • Usabiaga, Jorge, et al. “Global hand pose estimation by multiple camera ellipse tracking.” Machine Vision and Applications 21.1 (2009): 1-15.

  • Usabiaga, Jorge, et al. “Recognizing simple human actions using 3D head movement.” Computational Intelligence 23.4 (2007): 484-496.

Josu Garai

Lecturer

Garai graduated from DigiPen Institute of Technology’s Redmond, Washington campus as the winner of the “Student of the Year” award, among other honors. Hungry to expand his training, he is currently working towards a Masters in European Project Management at the University of Basque Country.

As an industry professional he has developed virtual reality games and real-estate phone apps at start-up companies, carrying the roles of programmer, producer, and business developer. Garai teaches foundational computer science courses such as Operating System Concepts, C/C++ Programming, and Scripting for Artists. He also guides students as instructor for both first-year game project classes.

“I was a student, and I am still a student. I can relate to their goals, dreams, struggles, and expectations,” Garai says. “Being able to empower them with real-world scenarios in the field of games — an industry I love — is truly fulfilling.”

Julia Sánchez Sanz, PhD

Lecturer

Dr. Julia Sánchez Sanz obtained her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University Autónoma de Madrid in 2008. From 2008 to 2010 she worked as an SAP consultant at IBM. In 2011 she obtained her Master of Science in Climate, Energy, and Environmental Risk from the University of Alcalá de Henares. She then joined the Basque Center for Applied Mathematics, where she worked as a predoctoral researcher in topics related to numerical analysis and differential equations applied to life sciences. In 2016 she defended her thesis at the University of the Basque Country and earned her international Ph.D. degree in mathematics.

During her career Dr. Sánchez Sanz joined international projects, universities, and working environments, such as the University of Utrecht and the University of Udine. She has given talks, participated in courses and international conferences, and published her work in top international journals. Since joining DigiPen she has taught several courses involving pure and applied mathematics, from entry-level courses (such as linear algebra and geometry) to more advanced topics like curves and surfaces. Parallel to her teaching activities, she is interested in the dissemination of sciences in society, particularly in the development and dissemination of science considering a gender perspective, with the goal of attracting young girls to study science and engineering.

Naiara Espejo Iturbe

Lecturer

Naiara Espejo Iturbe earned her undergraduate degree in telecommunications engineering at the School of Telecommunications Engineering of Bilbao. While finishing her degree, she worked as a university assistant lecturer at Newton University Academy in Bilbao from 2000 to 2001, teaching systems and signals and devices electronics. She then carried out two projects as an intern engineer: a storm detection system for IBERDROLA and a biometric authentication systems based on digital signal treatment for VICOMTech Technology Centre. From 1999-2000, she served as Deputy Chairwoman at the Telecommunications Congress Committee in Spain.

After graduating, she worked as E-Business Manager in UNCETA Group S.A., where she was in charge of business-to-business solutions and e-commerce, before taking her current position at DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao. She currently teaches many of DigiPen’s intro and intermediate-level mathematics and physics courses. Her hobbies include history, gastronomy, and role-playing games.

Thomas Komair

Senior Lecturer

Thomas Komair graduated with a BS in Real-Time Interactive Simulation from DigiPen Institute of Technology’s Redmond, Washington, campus in 2010. Prior to teaching, Komair worked for DigiPen (USA) Corp., developing in-house tools, applications, and internal technologies.

In 2014, Komair co-founded AHeartfulOfGames, where he was in charge of production and marketing for its first game Heart&Slash, as well as on co-productions such as Dynasty Feud, developed by Kaia Studios.

Although his primary interests lie in the technical knowledge required to develop high-quality video games, Komair’s experience in independent game development has had him tackle new kinds of challenges not directly related to development, such as marketing, community management, and public relations. It is these insights and more that Komair strives to bring to the classroom, helping prepare future generations of game developers for an evolving industry.

At DigiPen Institute of Technology Europe-Bilbao, Komair has taught a variety of courses, ranging from computer graphics, animation, and engine architecture. Additionally, he also supervises the sophomore game projects.

“My favorite part about teaching at DigiPen is the end of the semester, after a year of hard work,” Komair says. “I get to see the confidence in the students’ eyes when they say, ‘We made this game from scratch!’”