Our team is named in homage to Viola Spolin, originator of theater games and mother of improvisational theater.
We are a group of PhD and Master students from University of Southern California, led by Justin Cho and advised by Professor Jonathan May. Our team is named in homage to Viola Spolin, originator of theater games and mother of improvisational theater. By incorporating techniques from improvisational theatre and commonsense reasoning, we will expand the frontiers of neural generation to build an engaging socialbot that is robust beyond preset topics.
Hyundong C. - Team leader
Hyundong is a first year PhD student with a research interest in open-domain dialogue systems and natural language generation. His research is inspired by improvisational theatre (improv), in which actors quickly and effectively bridge information gaps about their shared reality and characters that only start with a simple prompt. Modeling improv is an exciting yet under-explored dimension related to conversational AI that he is passionate about. He received his bachelor's at HKUST in computer science and worked at USC ISI as a programmer analyst, developing automatic anti-phishing systems to combat the exponential growth in social engineering attacks.
Basel is a PhD student at USC and works as a research assistant at USC’s Information Sciences Institute. Basel's research focuses on knowledge graphs and the semantic web with an emphasis on data normalization as a means to solve complex information integration problems. Concurrently, he is investigating methods to leverage neural techniques to establish automatic information extraction for KG construction. Prior to joining USC Basel worked for Apple (2018) as an Embedded Software Engineer in the Flash Storage Software Department and for Mellanox Technologies (2011-2017) as a Senior Firmware Engineer and Team Leader in the Switch Silicon Core Department.
Kartik is an eager learner and an enthusiast in the domain of NLP, ML. He had the opportunity to work on sentiment analysis and insights generation using LDA at Barclays. He previously worked on Computer Vision. He has and further wishes to continue applying ML, AI to solve real world problems.
Shuai is a master’s student in Computer Science at the University of Southern California. His primary research interest is in Natural Language Processing. He is recently working on data crawling for a multilingual fine-grained sentiment analysis project. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Arizona where he worked as a research assistant for astronomical data processing and analysis as well as mathematical data analysis.
Jennifer is a sophomore at USC majoring in Computer Science (BS) and Applied Mathematics (BA) with a minor in 3D animation. Outside of class, she is involved in cyber security research, ACM SIGGRAPH and enjoys 3D modeling.
Nikhil is a first-year MS student with a research interest in natural language processing & Machine Learning, along with a rich background in engineering. He had the opportunity to work on designing highly scalable systems that power modern-day applications. He wishes to further enhance the efficacy of ML and NLP applications by using aptly directed engineering approaches.
I’m currently pursuing a Master’s in Computer Science with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence at USC. I have worked for 2+ years as a Bigdata developer working with Hadoop, Spark, and AWS. Additionally, I have worked on multiple Machine Learning projects with Convolutional Networks, Deep Neural Networks, Genetic algorithms, Predictive forecasting, etc. I wish to gain in-depth knowledge about the real-world applications of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and contribute to advance this field.
Jonathan May - Faculty advisor
Jonathan May is a Research Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department of the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California, as well as a Research Lead with USC’s Information Sciences Institute, where he received a PhD in 2010. He has previously worked at BBN Technologies and at Language Weaver. He was a co-organizer of the International Workshop on Semantic Evaluation (SemEval) and is the current treasurer of NAACL. He has received an outstanding paper award from NAACL and a best demo paper award from ACL. His research interests include translation, generation, and machine learning.