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I am a research scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California, and a research faculty member in the department of Computer Science.
I conduct interdisciplinary research across a wide range of topics. My current research focuses on the acquisition and analysis of millions of stories from Internet weblogs, and their use for automated commonsense reasoning. I have led a number of applied research projects to develop story-based learning environments, largely focused on the challenge of leadership development in the U.S. Army. I developed an empirical method for computing the syntactic similarity between words. I also conduct research in the area of knowledge representation. I am the author of the 2004 book, Strategy Representation: An Analysis of Planning Knowledge. As a follow-up effort, I have been collaborating with Jerry Hobbs on a large-scale logical formalization of commonsense psychology: the way that people think they think. Several of my research projects have been subjects of the popular press.
I received my PhD in Computer Science in 1999 from Northwestern University, where my research focused on the representation of commonsense activities and their application to browsing-based image retrieval interfaces. I was among the last students advised by Roger C. Schank, whose research focused on story-based memory and its applications to the development of learning environments. His advisor was Jacob Mey, whose research focused on pragmatics in the linguistic analysis of literature. His advisor was Louis Hjelmslev, whose research focused on the semantics of language and its contribution to epistemology. His advisor was Holger Pedersen, whose research focused on the phonology of languages and its application to historical linguistics.
I was the PhD advisor for Dr. Reid Swanson, whose research focuses on computational linguistics approaches to narrative analysis and its application to massively collaborative interactive storytelling. Try out his interactive storytelling system: Say Anything.
Mining Commonsense Knowledge From Personal Stories in Internet Weblogs
as author at 1st Workshop on Automated Knowledge Based Construction (AKBC), Grenoble 2010,
Identifying Personal Stories in Millions of Weblog Entries
as author at 3rd International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), San Jose 2009,