Dr. Andrew S. Gordon publishes his first book

Strategy Representation: An Analysis of Planning Knowledge describes an innovative methodology for investigating the conceptual structures that underlie human reasoning. This work explores the nature of planning strategies–the abstract patterns of planning behavior that people recognize across a broad range of real world situations. With a sense of scale that is rarely seen in the cognitive sciences, this book catalogs 372 strategies across 10 different planning domains: business practices, education, object counting, Machiavellian politics, warfare, scientific discovery, personal relationships, musical performance, and the anthropomorphic strategies of animal behavior and cellular immunology. Noting that strategies often serve as the basis for analogies that people draw across planning situations, this work attempts to explain these analogies by defining the fundamental concepts that are common across all instances of each strategy. By aggregating evidence from each of the strategy definitions provided, the representational requirements of strategic planning are identified. The important finding is that the concepts that underlie strategic reasoning are of incredibly broad scope. Nearly 1,000 fundamental concepts are identified, covering every existing area of knowledge representation research and many areas that have not yet been adequately formalized, particularly those related to common sense understanding of mental states and processes. An organization of these concepts into 48 fundamental areas of knowledge and representation is provided, offering an invaluable roadmap for progress within the field.

Buy the book here.

Wenji Mao, Jonathan Gratch: “The Social Credit Assignment Problem”

Social credit assignment is a process of social judgment whereby one singles out individuals to blame or credit for multi-agent activities. Such judgments are a key aspect of social intelligence and underlie social planning, social learning, natural language pragmatics and computational models of emotion. Based on psychological attribution theory, this paper presents a preliminary computational approach to forming such judgments based on an agent’s causal knowledge and conversation interactions.

USC wins another prestigious award

Negotiations over Tasks in Hybrid Human-Agent Teams for Simulation-Based Training by David Traum, Jeff Rickel, Jonathan Gratch and Stacy Marsella received the Best Innovative System/Application Paper Award at the AAMAS conference in Melbourne Australia.

Read the paper.

David Traum, Jeff Rickel, Jonathan Gratch, Stacy Marsella: “Negotiation over tasks in hybrid human-agent teams for simulation-based training”

The effectiveness of simulation-based training for individual tasks — such as piloting skills — is well established, but its use for team training raises challenging technical issues. Ideally, human users could gain valuable leadership experience by interacting with synthetic teammates in realistic and potentially stressful scenarios. However, creating human-like teammates that can support flexible, natural interactions with humans and other synthetic agents requires integrating a wide variety of capabilities, including models of teamwork, models of human negotiation, and the ability to participate in face-to-face spoken conversations in virtual worlds. We have developed such virtual humans by integrating and extending prior work in these areas, and we have applied our virtual humans to an example peacekeeping training scenario to guide and evaluate our research. Our models allow agents to reason about authority and responsibility for individual actions in a team task and, as appropriate, to carry out actions, give and accept orders, monitor task execution, and negotiate options. Negotiation is guided by the agents’ dynamic assessment of alternative actions given the current scenario conditions, with the aim of guiding the human user towards an ability to make similar assessments.

Stacy Marsella, Jonathan Gratch: “Modeling Coping Behaviors in Virtual Humans: Don’t worry, be happy”

This article builds on insights into how humans cope with emotion to guide the design of virtual humans. Although coping is increasingly viewed in the psychological literature as having a central role in human adaptive behavior, it has been largely ignored in computational models of emotion. In this paper, we show how psychological research on the interplay between human emotion, cognition and coping behavior can serve as a central organizing principle for the behavior of human-like autonomous agents. We present a detailed domain-independent model of coping based on this framework that significantly extends our previous work. We argue that this perspective provides novel insights into realizing adaptive behavior.

ICT’s new Army training aid wins Best Original Game and Best Simulation Game @ E3

Full Spectrum Warrior, the US Army squad-level X-Box training aid set to be published by Los Angeles publisher THQ, was previewed for the public at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Exposition, May 13-16. The definitive gamers’ conference, this year’s “E3” drew more than 62,000 industry and game enthusiasts from over 80 countries.

Recognizing achievement in game development and production, the “Game Critics Best of E3 2003”, with judges drawn from leading game industry publications, is the definitive score card for this community.

ICT is proud to report that our new Army training aid, “Full Spectrum Warrior”, won in two categories:

  • Best Original Game
  • Best Simulation Game

Additionally, “Full Spectrum Warrior” was the most-nominated title at E3 this year:

  • Best Original Game
  • Best Console Game
  • Best Simulation Game
  • Best of Show

Here’s what the critics had to say:

“Full Spectrum Warrior’s could be called many things: A dark horse, a sleeper hit, a hidden gem. But we will settle for saying that this military simulation game was the best original title at E3. Watching the demo, you felt like a reporter embedded with a US Army division as it maneuvered through a fictional Middle Eastern location. That level of realism isn’t surprising, given that the game was conceived as a training simulator for the US Army. (The troops get to start playing this July). Besides its stunning realism—just watch the tree branches sway as your chopper lands—Full Spectrum Warrior stands out because of its rich squad-based gameplay. Players control a light infantry squad of nine and guide troops through threatening city streets using an intuitive point-and-click interface. Ultimately, even though E3 was filled with sequels and licensed games, Full Spectrum Warrior proves that a well-executed original game can break through the clutter. Somewhere, an independent game developer is cheering.”

– Geoff Keighley, Associate Chairman, Game Critics Awards
Contributing Writer, Business 2.0

“When a game publisher throws an exclusive rooftop party at E3 for just one game, you can expect something extraordinary. This was exactly the case at E3 2003, where THQ debuted Pandemic’s Full Spectrum Warrior. Lucky attendees were introduced to a game initially created for US Army training purposes, which was subsequently acquired for commercial release by THQ. Gamers use real-life Army tactics and play the part of a squad leader in command of two urban combat fire teams. Instead of a first person, Rainbow Six-style perspective on the action, FSW utilizes an incredibly detailed third-person viewpoint to tell its story. Apart from Full Spectrum Warrior’s amazing visual and aural presentation, the two standout elements in the game are its context sensitive AI (which in this case could stand for “Actually Intelligent”) and its revolutionary user interface. Full Spectrum Warrior came into 2003 silently. It won’t leave that way.”

–Victor Lucas, Executive Produder, Electric Playground & Judgment Day

ICT salutes our research team led by Dr. Michael van Lent and our production and development partners: Legless Productions, Pandemic Studios and Sony Imageworks. Congratulations and “hooah”!!

Jonathan Gratch, Wenji Mao: “Automating After Action Review: Attributing Blame or Credit in Team Training”

Social credit assignment is a process of social judgment whereby one singles out individuals to blame or credit for multi-agent activities. Such judgments are a key aspect of social intelligence and underlie social planning, social learning, natural language pragmatics and computational models of emotion. Based on psychological attribution theory, this paper presents a preliminary computational approach to forming such judgments based on an agent�s causal knowledge and conversation interactions.

ICT puts Tinseltown talent to work on military defense

In the Washington Post article, “Thinking Outside the Tank”, Sharon Waxman writes about how the Institute for Creative Technologies “puts Tinseltown Talent to work on military defense.”

Read the article.

FlatWorld: Combining Hollywood Set-Design Techniques with VR

Members of ICT published “FlatWorld: Combining Hollywood Set-Design Techniques with VR.”

Read the paper.