AAAI 2007 Spring Symposia

AAAI 2007 Spring Symposium

Interaction Challenges for Intelligent Assistants

26-28 March 2007, Stanford University, CA, USA

Latest Updates

Slides: Thank you to all presenters. Presented slides are available, linked from the symposium schedule.

Proceedings: The proceedings of the symposium are published by AAAI Press as Technical Report SS-07-04. The report will be available online soon in the AAAI Digital Library. (Proceedings copyright ©2007 AAAI.)

Keynote speakers: We are very pleased that Henry Lieberman of the MIT Media Laboratory has joined Brad Myers of the Human Computer Interaction Institute, Carnegie Mellon University as the keynote speakers at the symposium. Henry will speak on "Interaction Challenges for Agents with Common Sense", while Brad will address "A User Acceptance Equation for Intelligent Assistants".


In an increasingly complex world, a new wave of intelligent artificial assistants have the potential to simplify and amplify our everyday personal and professional lives. These assistants will help us in mundane tasks from purchasing groceries to organizing meetings; in background tasks from providing reminders to monitoring our health; and in complex, open-ended tasks from writing a report to locating survivors in a collapsed building. Some will offer tutelage or provide recommendations. Whether robotic embodiments or software processes, these assistive agents will help us manage our time, budgets, knowledge, and workflow as they assist us in our houses, offices, cars, and public spaces.

To realize the vision of truly useful assistants, four broad requirements must be met. First, our assistants must be personalized: they must learn and be advised about our preferences and adapt to our way of working. Second, they must be capable of learning from us new methods to solve existing or novel problems in their application domain, and to correct their behaviour when mistakes are made. Third, as a consequence, our intelligent assistants must engender our trust over an extended period of time, because their behaviour will materially affect our interests and well-being (and even our own behaviour). Fourth, they must become our partners, able to engage in joint, collaborative problem solving and decision making.

In all these capabilities, an essential aspect of the success of our intelligent assistants is their interaction with us and with other humans and agents in natural ways that are no more obtrusive than necessary. Moreover, this interaction must be uniform and coherent over the various functions of the assistant, and be sensitive to the user's available time and cognitive focus, the interaction conditions and modalities, and subjective factors such as the user's mood.


This symposium will bring together practitioners and researchers of artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, cognitive science, robotics, assistive and agent technologies, and fields that address complex socio-technical systems. We aim to foster interactions among this highly interdisciplinary set of participants by including presentations from distinct perspectives and by allocating ample time for discussions.

Developing intelligent assistants is a challenge that demands collaboration across disciplines. Designing interaction with these assistants challenges us at the level both of fundamental concepts in human-agent communication and of applied research in system building. Hence, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, the symposium will identify the critical issues raised by interaction with personal assistants, the specific challenges faced, and the current state of the art. The ultimate goal is to progress towards the most useful paradigms, methodologies, and implementations for human interaction with intelligent artificial assistants.

Specific topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Collaborative Problem Solving: conversational case-based reasoning; failure recovery; introspection; joint intentions and intention management; knowledge capture; learning for the assistive agent; managing local autonomy in collaborative activities; mixed-initiative interaction and initiative sharing; negotiation and delegation; planning, and task and plan recognition; proactive and opportunistic actions; user modelling over time;

  • Interaction Principles and Modalities: dialogue management and discourse grammars; human-computer collaboration principles for agent systems; human-robot interaction; imitating human behaviour; modalities of interaction; supporting users with impaired capabilities; verbal and non-verbal interaction;

  • Trust: advisability and adjustable autonomy; engendering trust and influencing behaviour over extended operation; ethical, legal, and safety issues for human assistants; explanation; personalization; psychological factors; relational agents; robust and secure agents;

  • Studies and Comparisons of Systems: agent interfaces and architectures; case studies of deployed systems; characterization of domains amenable to assistive agents; comparisons of systems and architectures; evaluation methodologies, metrics, and measures; novel approaches and applications; user studies.

A joint session will be shared with each of two co-located symposia: Multidisciplinary Collaboration for Socially Assistive Robotics and Intentions for Intelligent Systems.

Accepted Papers

Accepted papers will be presented according to the
symposium schedule; presented slides are available on that page.
A Decision-Theoretic Model of Assistance: Evaluation, Open Problems and Extensions (PDF) Sriraam Natarajan, Kshitij Judah, Prasad Tadepalli, Alan Fern
A Meeting Browser that Learns (PDF) Patrick Ehlen, Matthew Purver, John Niekrasz
Adaptive Reification for Intelligent Assistants L. F. Gunderson and J. P. Gunderson
An Adaptive, Emotional, and Expressive Reminding System (PDF) Nadine Richard and Seiji Yamada
An Intelligent Discussion-Bot for Guiding Student Interactions in Threaded Discussions (PDF) Jihie Kim, Erin Shaw, Grace Chern, Donghui Feng
Bringing the User Back into Scheduling: Two Case Studies of Interaction with Intelligent Scheduling Assistants (PDF) Pauline Berry, Bart Peintner, Neil Yorke-Smith
Effective Interaction Strategies for Adaptive Reminding (PDF) Julie S. Weber and Martha E. Pollack
Effectiveness of Mobile Recommender Systems for Tourist Destinations: A User Evaluation (PDF) Marko Modsching, Ronny Kramer, Klaus ten Hagen, Ulrike Gretzel
Enabling Trust with Behavior Metamodels (PDF) Scott A. Wallace
Engendering Trust in Buying and Selling Agents by Discouraging the Reporting of Unfair Ratings (PDF) Jie Zhang and Robin Cohen
Enhancing Interaction with To-Do Lists: Using Artificial Assistants (PDF) Yolanda Gil and Timothy Chklovski
Explaining Task Processing in Cognitive Assistants That Learn (PDF) Deborah L. McGuinness, Alyssa Glass, Michael Wolverton, Paulo Pinheiro da Silva
Eye Gaze for Attention Prediction in Multimodal Human-Machine Conversation (PDF) Zahar Prasov, Joyce Y. Chai, Hogyeong Jeong
Implications of Adaptive vs. Adaptable UIs on Decision Making: Why "Automated Adaptiveness" is Not Always the Right Answer (PDF) Christopher A. Miller, Harry Funk, Robert Goldman, John Meisner, Peggy Wu
Improving Intelligent Assistants for Desktop Activities (PDF) Simone Stumpf, Margaret Burnett, Tom Dietterich
Integrating Multiple Representations of Spatial Knowledge for Mapping, Navigation, and Communication (PDF) Patrick Beeson, Matt MacMahon, Joseph Modayil, Aniket Murarka,Benjamin Kuipers, Brian Stankiewicz
Intent Recognition for Human-Robot Interaction (PDF) Andreas G. Hofmann and Brian C. Williams
Involving Intelligent Assistants in Active Human Communication (PDF) Donald J. Patterson
Learning Interaction Between Conflicting Human Agents and Their Assistants (PDF) Boris Galitsky and Boris Kovalerchuk
Modeling Human-Agent Interaction with Active Ontologies (PDF) Didier Guzzoni, Adam Cheyer, Charles Baur
Supporting Air Traffic Flow Management with Agents (PDF) Shawn R. Wolfe
Supporting Interaction in the ROBOCARE Intelligent Assistive Environment (PDF) Amedeo Cesta, Gabriella Cortellessa, Federico Pecora, Riccardo Rasconi
Task Learning by Instruction: Benefits and Challenges for Intelligent Interactive Systems (PDF) Jim Blythe, Prateek Tandon, Mandar Tillu
The Need for Assistants that Monitor Cognitive Abilities (PDF) Bart Peintner and William Jarrold
The Smart Personal Assistant: An Overview (PDF) Wayne Wobcke, Anh Nguyen, Van Ho, Alfred Krzywicki
Towel: Towards an Intelligent To-Do List (PDF) Kenneth Conley and James Carpenter
User Constructed Data Integration via Mixed-Initiative Design (PDF) Anthony Tomasic, John Zimmerman, Ian Hargrave
VizScript: Visualizing Complex Interactions in Multi-Agent Systems (PDF) Jing Jin, Rajiv T. Maheswaran, Romeo Sanchez, Pedro Szekely
When Is Assistance Really Helpful? (PDF) Wayne Iba
Why and How to Model Multi-Modal Interaction for a Mobile Robot Companion (PDF) Shuyin Li and Britta Wrede

Symposium Proceedings

The proceedings of the symposium will be published as a AAAI Technical Report.

Submission Information

Potential participants are invited to submit either a full paper (up to eight pages) addressing these and related questions, or a position paper (up to two pages) outlining their relevant research activities and how they would like to contribute to the symposium. Submissions will be judged by at least two referees on technical merit and on potential to provoke active discussions.

Submissions, in PDF format, should be sent no later than 23 October 2006 to nysmith AT (remove the spaces) using the subject line "SSS'07 Submission". All submissions should conform to the AAAI style format. Proceedings of the symposium will be published as an AAAI Technical Report.

Download the ASCII Call for Participation.

Important Dates

23 October 2006    Submission deadline (extended)
20 November 2006Notice of acceptance
1 December 2006Graduate student travel grant applications
26 January 2007Camera-ready versions due on the AAAI website
26 January 2007Fax "Permission to Distribute" forms to AAAI at +1 650 321-4457
9 February 2007Registration deadline
2 March 2007Final (open) registration deadline
26-28 March 2007Spring Symposium Series, Stanford University

Student Funding

The symposium offers limited funds to assist with travel expenses for graduate students who have their submissions accepted. To be considered for partial funding, please send an application to the symposium chair by 1 December 2006, including:

  • your academic resume;
  • one paragraph statement of interest;
  • one paragraph statement of support written by your supervisor;
  • detailed budget for your travel expenses.

Organizing Committee

Last updated: 070407