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What we do

The Interaction Lab is located in the School of Mathematical and 
Computer Sciences (MACS) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

We have recently received funding to create ISIS: an Intelligent Space for Interaction Science

Our research addresses some of the central problems in computer science and AI, by
developing intelligent interactive systems which can collaborate effectively and adaptively with humans, and combining a variety of interaction modalities, such as speech, graphics, gesture, vision, and Natural Language.  Our methods combine statistical and symbolic information processing, and we are developing data-driven machine learning approaches to build robust agents which can adapt autonomously in uncertain and dynamic interactions. 
    These techniques are applied in a variety of domains, such as mobile search, automated support, technology enhanced learning, healthcare informatics, and human-robot interaction. We evaluate the performance of our models and algorithms both in simulation and in trials with real users.
Some of our research projects:
  • a fully statistical approach for adaptive and incremental Spoken Dialogue Systems (CLASSiC and PARLANCE projects, EC FP7)
    • Reinforcement Learning, User Simulations, Information Presentation, Natural Language Generation, POMDPs, incremental dialogue processing.
  • socially intelligent human-robot interaction: the JAMES project (EC, FP7): video
  • adaptive spoken interaction for an intelligent city guide: the SpaceBook project (EC, FP7), SpeechCity Impact Acceleration Grant (EPSRC)
  • Human-Robot Interaction for teaching and learning: the EMOTE project (EC, FP7)
  • an intelligent multimodal interface for communication skills learning in children (ECHOES project, ESRC/EPSRC TEL)
    • combining multitouch,  vision, planning, and animation for intelligent interactions with virtual characters.
  • integrating symbolic and statistical methods for large-scale POMDPs (EPSRC project)
    • representing uncertainty and planning over complex goals in large state spaces using Automatic Belief Compression.
  • adaptive interfaces for patient monitoring and treatment (Help4Mood, EC FP7)
    • autonomously adapting to different types of user during interaction.
We are interested in joining further  international and national research collaborations in the above areas.

Please see our webpages on PhD opportunities and Job openings.

We are part of the Intelligent Systems Lab, and SICSA (the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance). We are currently funded by grants from the EPSRC, European Commission (FP7 Cognitive Systems), and ESRC/EPSRC (Technology Enhanced Learning).

News:

James Watt studentships available.

BBC article on Parlance project, "How to turn Siri into Samantha", Feb2014

JAMES project: on german TV, 2014

SemDial'14 is hosted by iLab.

MSc in AI with Speech and Multimodal Interaction starting Sept 2014.

Welcome to Katrin Lohan, our new lab member (21/10/13)

2 papers accepted for ICMI 2013

5 papers accepted for SIGDIAL 2013

Jason Williams from Microsoft Research visited us on 14/6/13

Oliver Lemon joins Advisory Board for Dialog State Tracking Challenge II (2013 -)

ENLG 2013 paper accepted.

Oliver Lemon gave an invited talk at Nuance Communications Inc, Sunnyvale Research Lab on 29/5/13

Verena Rieser is area chair for discourse & dialogue for EACL'14.

Verena Rieser gave an invited talk at ICSI Berkeley on 14/07/13. Watch on YouTube.

Mary Ellen Foster's paper with Ron Petrick from Edinburgh Uni has been named Novel Applications Track Best Paper for ICAPS'13.

2 papers accepted for ACL 2013

25/3/13 Verena Rieser elected to the Scientific Advisory Committee of SIGDIAL

Jan 2013: Verena Rieser  elected to the board of SIGGEN

6/11/12: SpaceBook and JAMES at the SICSA DemoFest

1/11/12 New book:


1/10/12: Welcome to our new Research Fellow Heriberto Cuayáhuitl 

1/10/12: Welcome to our new Phd students Kevin O'Connor and Ioannis Efstathiou !


Hiring:  new RA post in NLP and dialogue  (june 2012)

ECHOES project: video
Human-Robot Interaction: VIDEO

May 2012: call of the wired: Conversational Interface work at HWU and Cambridge

Faculty positions in Computer Science: join us!


New project EC FP7 Parlance started November 1st. 
See here for details
@ParlanceProject

New forum for recruiting subjects at Heriot-Watt. Website here
@ParticipateHW

3/11/11 Invited talk introducing Machine Learning to medics and psychologists at the Western General Hospital. Slides Available here.

1/11/11 Verena Rieser joined as a new faculty member.

1/11/11 ECHOES project at ESRC Festival of Social Science

Trialling a new spoken dialogue system for Edinburgh restaurants. ABC SDS prize draw.

Dialogue data released from CLASSiC project in our archive.

Heriot-Watt has been named as Scottish University of the Year 2011/12 by the Sunday Times.



2 papers accepted for SIGDIAL 2011

New projects James and Spacebook kick off this month (March 2011).

Outreach activity (4/3/2011): Tommy the Robot visits local school.

New project Help4Mood kicks off (January 2010).

ECHOES project features in "Britain in 2010" magazine (p. 94)

Interaction Lab joins the Vision and Language Network (Feb 2010)

InteractionLab joins EuCOG II:  European network for researchers in artificial cognitive systems, interaction, and robotics (16/10/2009)

The new Interaction Lab at Heriot-Watt up and running (posted 9/10/09).