AI Seminar

Human-Centered Computing: Using Speech to Understand Behavior
Academic Matchmaking: Pairing Faculty with Graduate Student Applicants

Emily Mower Provost and Rada MihalceaUniversity of Michigan

Emotion has intrigued researchers for generations. This fascination has permeated the engineering community, motivating the development of affective computational models for classification. However, human emotion remains notoriously difficult to interpret in part due to the presence of complex emotions, emotions that contain shades of multiple affective classes. Proper representations of emotion would ameliorate this problem by introducing multidimensional characterizations of the data that permit the quantification and description of the varied affective components of each utterance. In this talk I will discuss methods to characterize emotion, focusing on quantifying the presence of multiple shades of affect and avoiding the need for hard-labeled assignments. This set of techniques can be used to determine a most likely assignment for an utterance, to map out the evolution of the emotional tenor of an interaction, or to interpret utterances that have multiple affective components. I will demonstrate how these representation techniques can be used as a component of classification and how they provide insight into the temporal flow of emotion in speech. I will also discuss our ongoing speech-based assistive technology research, highlighting our work estimating speech quality for individuals with aphasia and our work classifying mood for individuals with bipolar disorder using naturally collected cell phone data.

The success of our research program largely depends on the graduate students who join our department. With more than one thousand graduate student applicants every year, finding the right faculty to review each applicant can be a daunting task. We explore natural language processing and information retrieval techniques that use academic publications to build a research profile for each faculty, and consequently match these profiles to the statement of purpose written by the applicants to our graduate program. I will discuss several methods, and show results obtained on 2013-2014 applicant data.

This is joint work with Shibamouli Lahiri, Lauren Molley, Joseph Zimmer.
Emily Mower Provost received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering (summa cum laude and with thesis honors) from Tufts University, Boston, MA in 2004 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA in 2007 and 2010, respectively. Emily is a member of Tau-Beta-Pi, Eta-Kappa-Nu, and a member of IEEE and ISCA. She has been awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2004-2007), the Herbert Kunzel Engineering Fellowship from USC (2007-2008, 2010-2011), the Intel Research Fellowship (2008-2010), and the Achievement Rewards For College Scientists (ARCS) Award (2009 "“ 2010). Her research interests are in human-centered speech and video processing, multimodal interfaces design, and speech-based assistive technology. The goals of her research are motivated by the complexities of human emotion generation and perception.

Rada Mihalcea is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in computational linguistics, with a focus on lexical semantics, graph-based algorithms for natural language processing, and multilingual natural language processing. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of the Journals of Computational Linguistics, Language Resources and Evaluations, Natural Language Engineering, Research in Language in Computation, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, and Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. She was a program co-chair for the Conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2011) and the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (2009), and she currently serves as general chair for the Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (2015). She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award (2008) and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (2009). In 2013, she was made an honorary citizen of her hometown of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

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