Justine Cassell

Justine Cassell (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is Associate Dean of the School of Computer Science for Technology Strategy and Impact at Carnegie Mellon University, Co-Director of the Simon Initiative, and until recently was Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science. Cassell comes to CMU from Northwestern, where she was the founding director of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior joint PhD in Communication and Computer Science, and of the Center for Technology and Social Behavior. Before Northwestern, Cassell was a tenured faculty member at the MIT Media Lab, where she headed the Gesture and Narrative Language research group. Cassell’s research focuses on understanding natural forms of communication, and then creating technological tools for those forms of communication and linguistic expression to flourish in the digital world. In particular, she is credited with developing the Embodied Conversational Agent, a virtual human capable of interacting with humans using both language and nonverbal behavior. More recently Cassell has investigated the role that the ECA can play in children’s lives, as a part of a Story Listening System, an interactive support for learning language and literacy skills.

More information is available on Justine’s website.


Timo Baumann

Timo Baumann

Timo Baumann is a Systems Scientist at the Language Technologies Institute at CMU. His research focuses on highly responsive dialog agents that engage in conversations beyond simple task-based interaction, including backchannels and other realtime social behaviour. Timo uses incremental processing to increase the flexibility and speed of SDSs and works on all aspects of interactive speech and language technologies, including recognition, synthesis, prosody, parsing, LMs, NLG and the architectures necessary to facilitate building large and incremental systems. Between joining CMU and completion of his PhD at Bielefeld University, Timo worked as a research and teaching associate at Universität Hamburg. Timo’s side projects include a collaboration in Computational Humanities which recently lead to a 3-year project on prosodic analyses for post-modern poetry, and computer science education for kids, teaching concepts through SDS design. Timos bikes to work and produces electricity as a shareholder in a photovoltaics cooperative.

Yoichi Matsuyama

Yoichi Matsuyama

Yoichi Matsuyama is a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Language Technologies Institute, Carnegie Mellon University. His research interest lies in computational models of human conversations, which combine artificial intelligence, cognitive science and human-computer/robot interaction. At the ArticuLab, he is leading the SARA (Socially Aware Robot Assistant) and the Yahoo! – CMU InMind projects. His Ph.D dissertation project was the SCHEMA, a multiparty conversation facilitation robot, specifically its computational models of facilitation strategies and language generation, as well as its robotic platform development. Prior to CMU, he was a researcher at the Perceptual Computing Group, Waseda University in Tokyo. He received B.A. in cognitive psychology and media studies, M.E. and Ph.D in computer science from Waseda University in 2005, 2008 and 2015 respectively. He was a visiting researcher at the iCub Facility, Italian Institute of Technology, also a committee member of ACM SIGGRAPH Asia.

Zhen Bai

Zhen Bai

Zhen Bai is a post-doctoral fellow at the ArticuLab. She leads the Sensing Curiosity in Play and Responding (SCIPR) project, which focuses on exploring the design space of playful learning environments that foster curiosity, exploration and self-efficacy for science education. Zhen is passionate to design innovative interfaces that augment our cognitive, emotional and social experiences in a playful and accessible way. Her research interests include augmented reality, tangible interfaces, design for children, developmental psychology, education, and computer-supported collaborative work. She received a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Beijing University of Technology in 2006, M.Eng. in Software Engineering from Peking University in 2009, and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Graphics & Interaction Group at the University of Cambridge in 2015. Her Ph.D. research focused on designing augmented and tangible interfaces that support symbolic play for young children with and without autism spectrum condition.

Florian Pecune

Florian Pecune

Florian Pecune is a post-doctoral fellow at the Articulab, working on SARA and Yahoo! – inMind projects, both of which focus on building a socially-aware personal assistant. He is mainly interested in designing embodied conversational agents able to build and maintain long-term relationships with humans by adapting their behavior according to the context of the interaction. Prior to the Articulab, he earned a Master`s degree in Cognition and Engineering from Paris 8 University and received a Ph.D in computer science from Telecom Paristech. His Ph.D research focused on building a decision-making model based on both social and task-oriented concerns. In his spare time, he loves to play and watch soccer or any kind of sports. If he is not in his lab or on a soccer field, he is probably playing some board or video games with friends.

Ph.D Students

Michael Madaio

Michael Madaio

Michael is currently a PhD student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at CMU, focusing on the learning sciences, and is a member of the Program for Interdisciplinary Education Research. He is primarily interested in the ways that technology mediates learning interactions between students, and how a more robust understanding of the dynamics of student collaboration can lead to a more effective design of learning technologies. Prior to the PhD, he completed a Masters of Science in Digital Media at Georgia Tech, focusing on educational technologies, where he was advised by Dr. Ian Bogost. While at Georgia Tech, he conducted research at the Center for 21st Century Universities on faculty usage of educational technology. Before that, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a Masters of Education and a Bachelors of Arts in English Language and Literature, and taught English at a public high school in Maryland for several years.

Master Students

Alankar Jain

Alankar Jain

Alankar is currently pursuing his Master’s in Language Technologies at the School of Computer Science at CMU. At Articulab, he is working on SARA and Yahoo! – CMU InMind projects. More specifically, he is exploring innovative designs for the dialog manager to enable socially aware virtual conversational agents. Prior to joining Articulab, he spent 3 wonderful years at IBM Research, Bangalore working on a variety of machine learning problems involving multi-task learning, Bayesian Networks, time series modeling and sequential pattern mining. He graduated from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Electrical Engineering in 2014. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and analysing films and TV shows.

Bhargavi Paranjape

Bhargavi Paranjape

Bhargavi is a Master’s of Language Technologies student at CMU and is working on the SCIPR project at the Articulab. She is interested in using machine learning, natural language processing and data mining to build robust and practical solutions in education and healthcare. She completed her Bachelors in Computer Science from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and worked as a Research Fellow at Microsoft Research Labs, Bengaluru. In her spare time, she likes to read, listen to music and binge watch movies and TV shows.

Vasu Sharma

Vasu Sharma

Vasu is presently pursuing Masters in Language Technologies at the School of Computer Science at CMU. He’s working on the SARA and the Yahoo! – CMU InMind projects at the ArticuLab which focus on building a socially aware robotics assistant. His primary focus is on trying to combine the user’s visual, vocal and verbal cues to better gauge the ‘rapport’ between the user and the conversational agent and using it to enable the agent to become socially more aware to the user’s emotional needs. His research interests include Multi Modal Machine Learning and applications of Deep Learning Techniques to Natural Language Representation, Understanding and Generation. Prior to joining CMU, he completed his Bachelors in Computer Science degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. In his spare time you may find him playing some sports with friends, swimming or finding his peace of mind by churning out some poetry.

Visiting Scholar

Lab Manager


John Choi

John Choi

A recent graduate of the BCSA Computer Science and Arts student and Innovation Scholar at Carnegie Mellon University, John is an artist, engineer, and entrepreneur all in one. Having over 8 years experience developing computer simulations and 4 years experience building robots, John knows what it takes to develop innovative technology projects either independently or as a team.

David Slebodnick

David Slebodnick

David graduated the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Media Arts and Animation.After a few animating and illustrating jobs in educational games, he started with the Articulab in January 2013 to work on the Alex project. In his leisure time he enjoys anything from outdoor activities to drawing and painting.

Graduate Research Assistants

Yubin Ge

Yubin Ge

Yubin Ge is a second-year master student at University of Pittsburgh majoring in Information Science. He currently works for the SCIPR project and helps with building a reasoning model for the virtual peer. His research interests lie in NLP and deep learning and he wishes to gain more research experiences from this opportunity. During his leisure time, he likes playing games, exercising and spending time with friends.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Jiachun Shi

Jiachun is a master student at Carnegie Mellon University majoring in Chemical Engineering. She currently works as an intern on the InMind project, learning about analyzing human-human data collection and annotating data to train machine learning components. As a person who is coming from a completely different filed, Jiachun is excited about grasping new concepts and working closely with people coming from different backgrounds. In her free time, Jiachun loves to watch thriller movies and read detective novels.


Yoo Jin Shin

Yoo Jin Shin is an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in Decision Science with a minor in Chemistry. She is interested in the application of human behavior in the design process for interactive technology. She is excited to analyze the role of self-disclosures in human-human interaction to refine the computational model of rapport for the personal robot assistant in the InMind project. During her free time, Yoo Jin enjoys nail art, watching movies and TV shows, and capturing photos of her everyday life.


Faraz Faruqi

Faraz Faruqi is a Computer Science Junior at the Manipal Institute of Technology, India. He will be joining the ArticuLab this summer to work on the SCIPR project. His interests lie majorly in the area of Natural Language Processing, where he aspires to combine social sciences together with computer science to create socially-aware systems. His previous work includes creating a Humor Detection System which analysed English sentences for the presence of humor and sarcasm. As a part of the SCIPR team, he is excited to build a system that will enable children to freely explore the world in a fun, interesting and safe way. In his leisure time, he likes to play soccer, play the piano and read classical literature.


Eva Louise Kreiser

Eva Louise is a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh studying Psychology and Linguistics. In line with her work as a behavioral analyst intern on the InMind project, Eva Louise hope to pursue research after finishing college. Outside of the lab, she runs Pitt’s Chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and does related work in harm reduction. In her scarce free time, Eva Louise enjoys writing, dance, and exploring the great outdoors.


Shruti Murali

Shruti is a sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University pursuing a B.S. in Decision Science and a B.A. in Psychology. She is currently a research intern working on the InMind project. At ArticuLab, she hopes to learn more about human conversation and interaction, as well as how humans communicate with AI technologies. She is especially interested in developing intelligent technology to improve education and help children with developmental disabilities.


Daniel Nalitz

Daniel is a rising Senior at the University of Pittsburgh. He studies Psychology and Linguistics while also working toward a Certificate in African Studies. He is interested in the intersection of Psychology, Linguistics and Sociology, leading him to the SCIPR Project. He is excited to play a part in developing a research tool that children may be able to utilize and learn from in the future. In his free time, you may find Daniel hiking, making videos or eating Tostitos Scoops.


Katie Thomas

Katie is going into her senior year at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Mathematics with minors in Computer Science and Linguistics. She is interested in how these subjects overlap and work together, and is excited to join the SCIPR team as an intern this summer. In her free time, Katie enjoys hanging out with friends, going to concerts, and exploring Pittsburgh’s many restaurants.


Jaili Zhang

Jiali Zhang is a junior from Tsinghua University, majoring in automation and double majoring in psychology. She works as a summer intern in InMind project this year, mainly on investigating the discursive features of human data in order to improve the dialogue design of personal assistant virtual agents. She is fascinating with applying psychology theory to the development of software to meet people’s physical and mental need. Outside of the lab, she enjoys painting and watching movies.


Anna Shafer

Anna Shafer is entering her senior year at the University of Pittsburgh, with majors in Neuroscience and Economics and a minor in Computer Science. Anna is interested in research involving learning, motivation, and performance. She hopes to gain more research experience from this opportunity.


Eileen You

Eileen is an undergraduate student working on the SCIPR project at the Articulab. She is planning on majoring in Cognitive Science and Human Computer Interaction. She is interested in user interface and user experience design but wants to explore all the fields HCI has to offer. She has eight years of experience in fine arts and design. In her spare time, she likes to sing, dance, and watch movies and TV shows


Vivian Tsai

Vivian Tsai studies computer science and applied math at Johns Hopkins University, with particular interests in natural language processing and discrete math. Her accomplishments include playing the piano, blurting random snippets of literature, and seeing all 51 U.S. license plates firsthand. She is excited to return to the ArticuLab, where she previously worked on the InMind project, raised two plants, and unwittingly memorized a surprising number of movie release years.


Atlas Yu

Atlas Yu is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where he majored in computer engineering and minored in studio arts. He is particularly interested in new types of interfaces, as in ways human interact with machines, which leads him to the field of human computer interaction. In SARA, he will be developing an interface that combines conversational and touch experience.

Previous Members >>

ArticuLab World Map

The continental distribution of the ArticuLab origins (their previous universities).