Broad Area Colloquium For AI-Geometry-Graphics-Robotics-Vision

Representing and Parameterizing Embodied Agent Actions

Norman Badler
Director, Center for Human Modeling and Simulation
Professor, Computer and Information Science Department
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA

Monday, December 2, 2002, 4:15PM
TCSeq 200


The last few years have seen great maturation in understanding how to use computer graphics technology to portray 3D embodied [human] virtual agents. Unlike the off-line, animator-intensive methods used in the special effects industry, real-time embodied agents are expected to exist and interact with us ``live.'' They can be represent other people or function in a virtual environment as autonomous helpers, teammates, or tutors enabling novel interactive educational and training applications. We should be able to interact and communicate with them, intentionally or not, through modalities we already use, such as language, facial expressions, and gesture. Various aspects and issues in real-time embodied agents will be discussed, including consistent parameterizations for gesture and facial actions using movement observation principles, and a representational basis for character believability, personality, and affect. We developed a Parameterized Action Representation (PAR) that embodies certain semantics of human action and allows an agent to act, plan, and reason about its actions or actions of others. PAR is also designed for instructing future behaviors for autonomous agents and aggregates, and for controlling animation parameters that can individualize embodied agents. Our LiveActor virtual environment facility is being constructed to explore such avenues with real-time reactive interpersonal interactions.

About the Speaker

Dr. Norman I. Badler is a Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania and has been on that faculty since 1974. Active in computer graphics since 1968 with more than 200 technical papers, his research focuses on human figure modeling, manipulation, and animation control in real-time 3-D graphics. His current research interests include animation via simulation, embodied agent software, human-computer interfaces, and computational connections between language and action. Badler received the BA degree in Creative Studies Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1970, the MSc in Mathematics in 1971, and the Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1975, both from the University of Toronto. He is Co-Editor of the Journal Graphical Models. He directs the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation with three full time staff members and about 30 students. He is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

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