Seminars & Colloquia

Brian Magerko

Digital Media, School of Literature, Communication and Culture, Georgia Institute of Technology

"The Digital Improvisation Project"

Monday May 03, 2010 02:00 PM
Location: 3211, EB2 NCSU Centennial Campus
(Visitor parking instructions)



Most research on improvisation has focused on the study of jazz musicians, relying on observational methods or on music theory to explain the decisions made during improvisation. Alternatively very little work has been done on studying theatrical improvisation, which has a significant relationship to the kinds of situations and behaviors we strive for in the creation of synthetic characters. Computational approaches to creating theatrical improvisational agents have relied on representing a single aspect of how improvisation is taught, eschewing a deeper understanding of what improvisers actually do on stage as individuals or as a group. We content that by studying how people improvise on stage we may come to a better understanding of how to create AI for synthetic characters in narrative-based situations, computer games, assistive technology, etc.

This talk will present the motivation, experimental design, and initial findings for the Digital Improv project, an NSF-funded project at the Georgia Institute for Technology dedicated to empirically study the cognition underlying improvisational behaviors in theatre. We will present the design of our initial and current study of improvisational actors, our current results, and our initial computational efforts to represent our findings.

Attendees interested in artificial intelligence, cognitive psychology, performance studies, and game design are suggested to attend.

Short Bio:

Dr. Brian Magerko is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and director of the ADAM Lab. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006 and his B.S. in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1999. Dr. Magerko has dedicated his research to understanding how to create more adaptive digital media experience that tailor themselves to fit the individual using them. He has published numerous articles and book chapters on interactive narrative, AI for serious games, and believable characters. Dr. Magerko is currently the lead organizer for the Creativity + Cognition + Computation group at Georgia Tech. His personal experiences in improvisation - from playing jazz trombone and guitar to performing in and directing an improv comedy troupe - have heavily influenced his interest and enthusiasm in the Digital Improv project.

Host: R. Michael Young, Computer Science, NCSU

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