Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ACM-W Scholarship recipient wins Best Presentation Award

Congratulations to ACM-W travel scholarship recipient Tasneem Kaochar, University of Arizona, who received the Best Presentation Award at the IJCAI 2011 workshop on Agents Learning Interactively from Human Teachers (ALIHT), which concluded this past weekend.

The conference was held in Barcelona. Tasneem's travel was supported by three sources:
The abstract for the paper that was presented follows.

Raquel Torres Peralta, Tasneem Kaochar, Ian Fasel, Clay Morrison, Tom Walsh and Paul Cohen.
Challenges to Decoding the Intention Behind Natural Instruction (Extended Abstract).

Abstract: Currently, most systems for human-robot teaching allow only one mode of teacher-student interaction (e.g., teaching by demonstration or feedback), and teaching episodes have to be carefully set-up by an expert. To understand how we might integrate multiple, interleaved forms of human instruction into a robot learner, we performed a behavioral study in which 44 untrained humans were allowed to freely mix interaction modes to teach a simulated robot (secretly controlled by a human) a complex task. Analysis of transcripts showed that human teachers often give instructions that require considerable interpretation and are not easily translated into a form useable by machine learning algorithms. In particular, humans often use implicit instructions, fail to clearly indicate the boundaries of procedures, and tightly interleave testing, feedback, and new instruction. In this paper, we detail these teaching patterns and discuss the challenges they pose to automatic teaching interpretation as well as the machine-learning algorithms that must ultimately process these instructions. We highlight the challenges by demonstrating the difficulties of an initial automatic teacher interpretation system.

ACM-W, with funding from Wipro Technologies, provides support for women undergraduate and graduate students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. Exposure to the CS research world can be an important factor in encouraging a student to continue on to the next level (Undergraduate to Graduate, Masters to Ph.D., Ph.D. to an industry or academic position). The student does not have to present a paper at the conference she attends. Interested students should visit the ACM-W travel scholarship page.