ucd-gunrock.jpg
Location: Davis, CA, USA
Faculty advisor: Zhou Yu

Gunrock (2019)

We envision to build an enjoyable, personalized, and dynamic social-bot that is able to engage in deep conversations across topics and adapt to different user types.

Our team consists of 8 graduate Computer Science and Computational Linguistics students with diverse, international perspectives. Our faculty advisor is Zhou Yu, an Assistant Professor of Computer Science who was recently recognized in Forbes' 2018 30 Under 30 and lead us to win Alexa Prize 2018. We envision to build an enjoyable, personalized, and dynamic social-bot that is able to engage in deep conversations across topics and adapt to different user types. With our expertise in NLP, machine learning, dialog system, linguistic and HCI, we can't wait to use Amazon's platform and user pool to tackle the real-world needs.

Kai-hui L. - Team leader

Kai-Hui was a senior software engineer with 3.5 years of hands-on experience developing mobile applications, Android-based WiFi speaker and task-oriented voice assistant at a software company, Sixnology. Before that, she received an M.S. in Chemical Engineering from National Taiwan University. Currently, she is a first-year Master’s student in Computer Science at the University of California, Davis. Her research interests are in dialog system, HCI, and machine learning. Aside from Alexa Prize, she is working with Professor Zhou Yu on multimodal educational dialog systems for children.

Austin C.

Austin is a second year Master’s student at the University of California, Davis. He earned his undergraduate degree in Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has worked on cognitive science and cognitive psychology research. He is currently a student of Prof. Zhou Yu. His current research includes template-based natural language generation and dialog personalization based on context and user attributes. He was a team member of Gunrock of the Alexa Prize Challenge 2018 and was responsible for the template manager, game, and fashion module of the chatbot.

Mingyang Z.

Minyang is a second-year Ph.D student interested in researching the multimodal joint learning system between language and vision. He is also interested in neural language generation with end-to-end framework.

Ishan J.

Ishan is a first-year master’s student in Computer Science at UC Davis. His areas of interest include Software Engineering and NLP. He received his bachelor’s from VIT University and then worked for Ericsson’s Research and Development team as a Software Engineer for 2 years. He is working with Prof Zhou Yu on creating custom Knowledge Graphs specific to social conversation bots.

Dian Y.

Dian is a second year Ph.D. student in Natural Language Processing. His research interests are language understanding, cross-lingual transfer learning, parsing, and dialog systems. He designed the NLU pipeline and the retrieval model for Gunrock, the 2018 Alexa Prize winner.

Yu L.

Yu is a first-year graduate student working with Prof. Zhou Yu at the University of California, Davis. Before this, Yu earned a B.S. in Communication at Zhejiang University and a Masters in Computer Engineering at North Carolina State University. Yu's research interest is NLP and dialog systems. They are responsible for the dialog state manager and topic selection module. Based on the utterance features and user profile, Yu will use machine learning and NLP technologies to select the proper topic submodule for the chatbot.

Sam D.

Sam is a Ph.D. student in the Linguistics Department at UC Davis focusing on computational language modeling and natural language processing. Currently, he is working with Dr. Kenji Sagae on projects involving grammatical error correction of learner text and computational modeling of bilingualism. Sam is also working with Dr. Zhou Yu on dependency parsing of ASR output, and paraphrase generation for dialog systems.

Karen L.

Karen is currently a master's student interested in Visual Grounding and building systems.

Minh N.

Minh is a PhD student at UC Davis. His research interests include the application of machine learning to problems in natural language processing.

Josh A.

Josh is a third year undergraduate CS major, watermelon enthusiast and cologne connoisseur. Passionate about computer science & artificial intelligence, Josh aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in machine learning after his undergraduate degree.

Zhou Yu - Faculty advisor

Zhou is an Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department in UC Davis. She received her Ph.D. in Carnegie Mellon University. She was recently featured in Forbes as 2018 30 under 30 in Science. Her team won the 2018 Amazon Alexa Prize . Her research centers on making conversational systems more situated and easier to train and deploy.

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