Research Interest

The goal of my research is to create a system which allows humans to talk to machines in the same natural way as to humans. To reach this goal, it is essential to answer the following questions: which properties and abilities must a system have to act in a natural manner, which factors make the behaviour of the system to be perceived as natural, and how may this natural interaction be realized from a technical point of view. In other words, we need to understand all the factors that constitue “natural system behaviour”. This research lies on the intersection of human-computer interaction, computational lingusitcs and artificial Intelligence.

One of my latest reserach is on a novel dialogue model for statistical spoken dialogue systems that is centred around entities and is able to model relations as well as multiple entities. Read the paper and watch the talk.

Short Bio

I am Dialogue Research Lead at Mercedes Benz Research & Development working on the next generation of the Mercedes Benz User Experience. Previously, I was a Research Associate at the Spoken Dialogue Systems Group at the University of Cambridge working with Prof. Steve Young and Prof. Milica Gasic within the EPSRC project “Open Domain Statistical Spoken Dialogue Systems”. I have received my Diploma (MSc) in Computer Science from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) in 2010 and my doctorate in engineering (PhD) at the Dialogue Systems Group at Ulm University (Germany) in 2015. The topic of my dissertation was „User-centred Adaptive Spoken Dialogue Modelling“.

I am currently lecturing in the „Dialogue Systems“ class at Ulm University and co-supervising four doctoral students of their Dialogue Systems Group.

Professional Activities

  • Area Chair of „Dialogue and Interactive Systems“ at ACL 2020
  • Publication Chair of the SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue 2020
  • Participation at NSF Future Directions Workshop: Towards User-Oriented Agents Research Directions and Challenges
  • Area Chair of „Dialog and Interactive Systems“ at EMNLP-IJCNLP 2019
  • Publication Chair of the SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue 2019
  • Keynote speaker at the 29th Conference on Electronic Speech Signal Processing (ESSV) 2018
  • Journal Reviewer for Artificial Intelligence, Computer Speech and Language, Dialogue and Discourse, Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments, IEEE Signal Processing Letters, Natural Language Engineering, Review of Managerial Science, Sensors, International Journal of Information Technology & Decision Making
  • Conference / Workshop Reviewer for Meeting of Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL), Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Conference, Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics – Human Language Technologies (NAACL-HLT), Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Interspeech Conference, SIGDial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue, Language Resources and Evaluation Conference Spoken Language Technology Workshop (SLT), International Conference on Computational Linguistics (CoLing), International Workshop on Spoken Dialogue Systems (IWSDS), International Conference on Intelligent Environments (IE), NIPS Workshop on Conversational AI: Today’s Practice and Tomorrow’s Potential, International Conference on Signal Processing and Communication Systems, RE-WOCHAT, WOCHAT
  • Mentor in the Mentoring Program of the SIGDIAL Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue
  • Co-Organizer of the Young Researchers‘ Roundtable on Spoken Dialogue Systems 2014, 2015