Dr. Ricardo Jota Awarded Mitacs Postdoctoral Award

Ricardo Jota was awarded the Postdoctoral Award for Outstanding Innovation for his research with Tactual Labs.

Congratulations to Jota for the well-deserved recognition!

Read more about the Mitacs Awards Reception and Jota’s work in this press release.

Photo Courtesy of Mitacs. Pictured Above: Ted Mao (Trojan Technologies), Rafael Falcon (University of Ottawa), Linda Gowman (Trojan Technologies), Daniela Tuchel (Royal Roads University), Minister Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), Minister Ed Holder (Minister of State, Science and Technology), Stephen Dugdale (Universite INRS), Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay (Minister of National Revenue), Dr. Rob Annan (interim Chief Executive Officer, Mitacs), Professor Alan Fung (Ryerson University) and Ricardo Jota (University of Toronto).

Dr. Ali Mazalek Presents a Talk at DGP

Dr. Ali Mazalek, Associate Professor of Ryerson University and Georgia Tech will be visiting our lab on Thursday, December 4th. She will be presenting a talk between 11:00 am until 12:30 pm.

Welcome to DGP, Dr. Mazalek!

“Mind, material, and movement: embodying creativity in the digital era”


We are increasingly tethered to a range of pixelated boxes of varying shapes and sizes. These devices are ever present in our lives, transporting us daily into vast information and computational realms. And while our interactions with digital devices are arguably becoming more fluid and “natural”, they still make only limited use of our motor system and largely isolate us from our immediate physical surroundings. Yet a gradual shift in the cognitive sciences toward embodied paradigms of human cognition can inspire us to think about why and how computational media should engage our bodies and minds together. What is the role of physical movements and materials in the way we engage with and construct knowledge in the world? This talk will provide some perspectives on this question, highlighting research from the Synaesthetic Media Lab that supports creativity and expression across the physical and digital worlds.

Dr. Ali Mazalek has spent over 15 years trying to get digital technologies to fit better into her physical world and life, rather than letting them drag her into the pixelated depths of her computer screens. At the same time, she has a deep interest in how computational media can support and enhance creative practices and processes, supporting new forms of expression and new ways of thinking and learning. She is a Canada Research Chair in Digital Media and Innovation and Associate Professor in the RTA School of Media at Ryerson University, as well as Associate Professor of Digital Media at Georgia Tech. Her Synaesthetic Media Lab ( synlab.gatech.edu) is a playground where physical materials, analog sensors, and digital media happily co-exist and come together in novel ways to support creativity and expression across both science and art disciplines.

Professor Michael Terry Speaking at DGP

Professor Michael Terry will be presenting a talk on Thursday, November 20th from 11:00 am until 12:30 pm in room BA5187.

Please join us in welcoming Professor Terry!

“Interactive Systems Need to Know How to Read the Web and Watch YouTube”

In this talk, Professor Michael Terry will argue that there is great value in interactive systems that can learn how to accomplish tasks by “reading” web-based tutorials and “watching” how-to videos. He will focus primarily on text-based documents and search queries, and show how techniques from the fields of machine learning and information retrieval can be leveraged to extract streams of “how-to” information from web-based resources and instrumentation logs. These information sources enable a new class of interactive system that is more aware of the tasks it can perform, as well as how to accomplish these tasks. Importantly, this awareness continually evolves and tracks how the user community actually uses the system.

Michael Terry is an associate professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, where he co-directs the HCI Lab. His research lies at the intersection of HCI, machine learning, and information retrieval. His current projects include machine understanding of instructional materials, task-centric user interfaces, and interactive machine learning systems designed to assist the digitization and cataloging of millions of biological specimens in London’s Natural History Museum.

Karen Myers of SRI International

As part of the Distinguished Lecture Series, Dr. Karen Myers is presenting a talk at the Bahen Centre this Tuesday, November 18th. The lecture is hosted in BA1170 at 11:00 am.

Learning from Demonstration Technology: A Tale of Two Applications

Learning from demonstration technology has seen increased focus in recent years as a means to endow computers with capabilities that might otherwise be difficult or time-consuming for a user to program. This talk describes two efforts that employ learning from demonstration technology to quite distinct ends. The first is to provide a capability that supports users with no programming experience in the creation of procedures that automate repetitive or time-consuming tasks. This capability has been operationally deployed within a collaborative planning environment that is used widely by the U.S. Army. The second is to support automated performance evaluation of students as they seek to acquire complex procedural skills through training in virtual environments. In this second case, instructional content developers employ learning from demonstration technology to create solution models for training exercises. An automated assessment capability employs soft graph matching to align a trace of a students response to an exercise with the solution models for that exercise, providing a flexible basis for evaluating student performance. In contrast to intelligent tutoring systems that force students to follow a pre-specified solution trajectory, our approach enables meaningful feedback in domains where solutions can have significant variability.

Karen Myers is a Principal Scientist within the Artificial Intelligence Center at SRI International, where she leads a team focused on developing intelligent systems that facilitate man-machine collaboration. Myers has led the development of several AI technologies that have been successfully transitioned into operational use in areas that span collaborative systems, task management, and learning from demonstration. Her research interests include autonomy, multi-agent systems, automated planning, personalization, and mixed-initiative problem solving