University of Pittsburgh

Expressive Generation for Interactive Stories

Friday, April 13, 2012 - 12:00pm


In this talk, I will discuss our recent work on developing the technical capabilities needed to automatically generate dialogue for characters interactive digital stories.  In previous work, we developed a personality based generation engine, PERSONAGE, that produces dialogic restaurant recommendations that varied according to the speaker's personality.  More recently we have results that indicate that:  (1) our expressive generation engine can operate on content from the story structures of a role playing game (RPG); (2) PERSONAGE parameter models can be learned from film dialogue; (3) PERSONAGE rule-based models for extraversion and neuroticism are perceived as intended in a new domain, i.e. SpyFeet character utterances in our prototype SpyFeet RPG; and (4) that the parameter models learned from film dialogue are generally perceived as being similar to the characters and dialogue partners, for a broad range of types of interactive stories and role playing games.


Marilyn Walker is a Professor of Computer Science and head of the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems Lab in the Baskin's School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).  She received her Ph.D. in 1993 in Computer Science from University of Pennsylvania.  Before coming to UCSC, she was a Professor of Computer Science at University of Sheffield where she was a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Fellow, recruited to the U.K. under Britain's "Brain Gain" program.  From 1996 to 2003, she was a Principal Member of Research Staff in the Speech and Information Processing Lab at AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Research.  At UCSC, her lab is part of the Computational Media Group, whose research focuses on next-generation computer games, incorporating concepts from dynamic theory and social interaction, and notably extending the language capabilities of current interactive games focusing specifically on training, assistive and educational games.  She has given keynote addresses at AAAI 97, LREC 2004, the NSF workshop on Question Generation 2008, IVA 2009 and SIGDIAL 2010.  She has served on many program committees both as a reviewer and as senior area chair, organized dozens of workshops, and was the Program Chair for ACL 2004.  She was a member of the founding board for the North American ACL, serving to set up and orchestrate its first conference between 1998 and 2001.  Her H-index, a measure of research excellence is 43.  She has published over 200 papers, and has 13 U.S. patents.

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