University of California, Santa Cruz - Slugbot

Kevin B.

- Team Leader

Kevin is a second year PhD student at the University of California Santa Cruz and has been working under Professor Marilyn Walker in the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems laboratory. Currently his research is focused on open domain conversational AI and NLU for dialogue systems. He previously led team SlugBot in the 2017 Alexa Prize competition which resulted in a competitive open domain social bot. He has previous experience applying this social bot to other chat interfaces and doing multi-modal data analysis. Previously he has also worked with expressing speaker personality in dialogic content, neural generation, and virtual agents.

Jiaqi W.

Jiaqi is a third year PhD student in Nature Language Processing and Dialogue System Lab under the supervision of Professor Marilyn Walker. Her research interests include dialogue system and sentiment analysis. She was in the Slugbot team competing for 2017 Alexa Prize Contest to develop an open domain dialogue system. She is working on the research project of reinforcement learning, and the project to ground the linguistic descriptions of events that users experience in theories of well-being and happiness.

Jurik J.

Jurik is a second-year PhD student working under Marilyn Walker in the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems lab. His current research focuses on applying deep learning methods in NLP, in particular developing data-driven, neural language generation models for task-oriented dialogue systems. He is also interested in bringing the language of chatbots closer in naturalness and diversity to that of a human by augmenting the training data through automated slot alignment, stylistic data selection and variation.

Vrindavan H.

Vrindavan is a first year PhD student at the University of California Santa Cruz. His research interests lie in the general area of Natural Language Understanding. Vrindavan Harrison's current research is directed at Question Answering and Question Generation. His previous work has been in the areas of Sentiment Analysis and Sarcasm Detection.

Wen C.

Wen is a second-year student at the University of California Santa Cruz. Currently she is focusing on dialogue act classification and intent modeling using deep learning techniques in chat-oriented dialogue system. Her previous work includes discourse coherence modeling, sentimental analysis and language generation using adversarial network.

Marilyn Walker

- Faculty Advisor

Marilyn Walker, is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz, and a fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), in recognition of her for fundamental contributions to statistical methods for dialog optimization, to centering theory, and to expressive generation for dialog. Her current research includes work on computational models of dialogue interaction and conversational agents, analysis of affect, sarcasm and other social phenomena in social media dialogue, acquiring causal knowledge from text, conversational summarization, interactive story and narrative generation, and statistical methods for training the dialogue manager and the language generation engine for dialogue systems. Before coming to Santa Cruz in 2009, Walker was a professor of computer science at the University of Sheffield. From 1996 to 2003, she was a principal member of the research staff at AT&T Bell Labs and AT&T Research, where she worked on the AT&T Communicator project, developing a new architecture for spoken dialogue systems and statistical methods for dialogue management and generation. Walker has published more than 200 papers and has 10 U.S. patents granted or pending. She earned a B.A. in computer and information science at UC Santa Cruz, M.S. in computer science at Stanford University, and M.A. in linguistics and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Meet the 2018 Teams

Alexa Prize Socialbot Grand Challenge 3