Josep Valls-Vargas

Josep Valls-VargasWelcome to my home page.

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Drexel University under the supervision of Dr. Santiago Ontañón Villar and Dr. Jichen Zhu. My research focus is on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the particular application domain of digital entertainment. I am interested in topics related to Natural Language Understanding, Computational Narrative, Drama/Experience Management and Procedural Content Generation.

I received a B.S. in Computer Science from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2010, a M.S. in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision from UAB/IIIA-CSIC in 2011 and a M.S. in Computer Science from Drexel University in 2014.


  • J. Valls-VargasJ. Zhu, S. Ontañón (2017). Towards Automatically Extracting Story Graphs from Natural Language Stories. AAAI WNAIG 2017 [AAAI]
  • S. Ontañón, J. Valls-VargasJ. Zhu (2017)Bridging the Gap Between Computational Narrative and Natural Language Processing (position). AAAI WNAIG 2017 [AAAI]
  • J. Valls-VargasJ. Zhu, S. Ontañón (2016). Predicting Proppian Narrative Functions from Stories in Natural Language. AIIDE 2016. [PDF]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, J. Zhu, S. Ontañón (2016). Error Analysis in an Automated Narrative Information Extraction Pipeline. IEEE Transactions on Computational Intelligence and AI in Games. [IEEE]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, S. Ontañón, J. Zhu (2015)Exploring Player Trace Segmentation for Dynamic Play Style Prediction. AIIDE 2015. [PDF PPT]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, J. Zhu, S. Ontañón (2015)Narrative Hermeneutic Circle: Improving Character Role Identification from Natural Language Text via Feedback Loops. IJCAI 2015. [PDF]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, A. Kahl, J. Patterson, G. Muschio, A. Foster, J. Zhu (2015). Designing and Tracking Play Styles in Solving the Incognitum. GLS 2015. [PDF pp. 241-247]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, J. Zhu, S. Ontañón (2014)Toward Automatic Role Identification in Unannotated Folk Tales. AIIDE 2014. [PDF PPT Poster]
  • J. Valls-VargasS. Ontañón, J. Zhu (2014)Toward Automatic Character Identification in Unannotated Narrative Text. INT 7 at ELO 2014. [PDF]
  • J. Valls-VargasS. Ontañón, J. Zhu (2013)Toward Character Role Assignment for Natural Language StoriesINT6 at AIIDE 2013. [PPT PDF]
  • J. Valls-Vargas, S. Ontañón, J. Zhu (2013). Towards Story-Based Content Generation: From Plot-Points to Maps. In CIG 2013. [PPT PDF (mirror)]
  • Josep Valls-Vargas and Santiago Ontañón (2012). Natural Language Generation through Case-based Text Modification. In ICCBR 2012. [SpringerLink]
  • Josep Valls-Vargas and Santiago Ontañón (2011). Text Modification Methods for Natural Language Generation. Master's thesis. [PDF]

Other Publications

  • Santiago Ontañón, Bruce Char, Jichen Zhu, Evan Freed, Brian K. Smith, Anushay Furqan, Michael Howard, Anna Nguyen, Justin Patterson, and Josep Valls-Vargas (2017). Designing Visual Metaphors for an Educational Game for ParallelProgramming. SIGCHI Play 2017 [PDF] 
  • Natalie Lyon, Josep Valls, Caroline Guevara, Ning Shao, Junyu Zhu, Jichen Zhu (2014). Little Newton: an educational physics game. SIGCHI Play 2014. [PDF Poster


  • Bridging the Gap Between Computational Narrative and Natural Language Processing (position) and Towards Automatically Extracting Story Graphs from Natural Language Stories. 2017-02-04 AAAI 2017 Workshop on What's next for AI in games. [PDF, PDF]
  • Predicting Proppian Narrative Functions from Stories in Natural Language. 2016-10-10 AIIDE 2016. [PDF]
  • Requiem for a theory: the ‘story grammar’ story. 2016-10-05 Narrative readings group. [PDF]
  • Automated Narrative Information Extraction Using Non-Linear Pipelines. 2016-07-12 IJCAI Doctoral Consortium.
  • What is Artificial Intelligence? UPE Ex Machina movie screening and discussion. [Online
  • Automated Narrative Information Extraction Using Non-Linear Pipelines (work-in-progress). 2016-04-01 Mid-Atlantic Student Colloquium on Speech, Language and Learning (MASC-SLL)
  • Procedural Content Generation (for videogames). 2016-01-26 Entrepreneurial Game Studio. [Online]
  • Introduction to Player Modeling. 2015-07-14 AI&G Lunch presentation. [PDF]
  • Player Modeling. Literature Review for TAEMILE. 2015-04-13.
  • Approaches to Storytelling and Creativity. 2015-03-03 AI&G.
  • Introduction to Weka. 2014-12-03 AI&G Lunch presentation. [PDF]
  • Extraction of Computational Models of Narrative from Natural Language2014-06-12 Candidacy Defense. [PDF PPT]
  • Narrative Extraction, Processing and Generation for Interactive Fiction and Computer Games. 2013-10-18 Doctoral Consortium at AIIDE 2013. [PPT]
  • A Case-Based Reasoning Approach to Text Generation. 2013-07-08 Doctoral Consortium at ICCBR 2013. [PPT]
  • Story-Based Map Generation. 2013-04-18 Drexel Research Day 2013. [PDF]
  • Text Modification Methods for Natural Language Generation. 2012-09-05 Master's thesis.


  • Voz, a system that explores techniques for automatic extraction of narrative information from text. Josep Valls, Santiago Ontañon, Jichen Zhu.
  • Parallel, NSF-funded project that explores teaching of parallel programming topics and personalized content generation. PI: Santiago Ontañón, Co-PI: Brian Smith, Jichen Zhu, Bruce Char.
  • TAEMILENSF-funded project examining how game AI, integrated with play-based pedagogy, can facilitate learning in interactive environment. PI: Jichen Zhu, Co-PI: Glen J. Muschio, Aroutis N. Foster.
  • A lightweight template and utilities for developing skills for the Amazon Alexa Skill Kit using Python.
  • Story2Map, a map generator for stories from a story space defined as plot points.
  • Case Based Text Adaptation (CeBeTA), a text realization module to improve the output of the Riu interactive narrative system
  • Little Newton, an educational physics-based game. [PDF]
  • Co-founder, R&D, AI, software architecture consultant at Referup S.L.,; talentclue.comBachelor's thesis. [PDF]

Teaching at Drexel University

  • No office hours at the moment.
  • Graduate student mentor for the REThink program (Research Experiences for Teachers in Engineering and Computer Science) (Summer 2015)
  • TA for CS 338 - Graphical User Interfaces (Winter 2015)
  • TA for CS 140 - Multimedia Programming (Fall 2014)
  • TA for Drexel University Computing Academy (Summer 2013)
  • TA for CS 171 - Computer Programming I (Winter 2013)
  • TA for CS 164 - Introduction to Computer Science (Fall 2012)

Service, Community and Involvement

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