2 Positions at the University Pierre and Marie CURIE (France)

Our project partner, the University Pierre and Marie CURIE is hiring for the Council of Coaches project:

The European Horizon-2020 project Council of Coaches aims to develop a tool in which virtual embodied coaches form a team of experts that can discuss among themselves and with the user how the user could improve his healthy lifestyle behaviors. The project combines state of the art 3D Virtual Avatars with language and reasoning technology and applies this to the area of lifestyle and behavior change coaching.

The goal of the 2 openings (PhD or post-doc) is to design, implement and evaluate user/agent interaction with the team of virtual agents, the council of coaches (Home Interface). In particular it focuses on

Opening 1:

  • Modelling coaches with their own specific agenda and behavior style aiming at creating unique social relationships with users.
  • Adapting virtual coaches’ behavior to ensure that user maintains his involvement in the relationship with the coaches.

Opening 2:

  • Managing group interaction and turn-taking
  • Maintaining user’s engagement during the interaction with the coaches.

Specific attention will be given to the development of virtual coaches with a wide variety of behavioral characteristics and personality traits. Several studies have shown how low level features such as behavior expressivity and high level characteristic (e.g. personality traits ) affect user’s involvement in their interaction with the virtual characters and impact his performances (McRorie et al., 2011) (Paiva et al., 2017).

Agents will be endowed with the capacity to handle turn-taking in a dyad and in a multi-party scenario that involves human user and virtual agents. The exchange of speaking turns could be driven by the human or by the agents to ensure mixed initiative. It will also consider the role and social relationship between the user and virtual coaches.
The work in these positions will make use of and build upon the GRETA/VIB platform developed at UPMC (Pecune et al., 2014) for multimodal behavior generation and for visualizing virtual coaches.

To apply, email your CV, names of reference, and master grades to Catherine Pelachaud.

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