Representing and Parameterizing Embodied Agent Behaviors


Norm Badler

Department of Computer and Information Science

University of Pennsylvania





The last few years have seen great maturation in understanding how to use computer graphics technology to portray 3D embodied [human] virtual agents. Unlike the off-line, animator-intensive methods used in the special effects industry, real-time embodied agents are expected to exist and interact with us “live”.  They can be represent other people or function in a live VR environment as autonomous helpers, teammates, or tutors enabling novel interactive educational and training applications.  We should be able to interact and communicate with them, intentionally or not, through modalities we already use, such as language, facial expressions, and gesture.  Various aspects and issues in real-time virtual humans will be discussed, including consistent parameterizations for gesture and facial actions using movement observation principles, and the representational basis for character believability, personality, and affect.  Our work is based on a Parameterized Action Representation (PAR) that allows an agent to act, plan, and reason about its actions or actions of others.  Besides embodying the semantics of human action, the PAR is designed for building future behaviors into autonomous agents and controlling the animation parameters that portray personality, mood, and affect in an embodied agent.



Brief Biography:


Norman I. Badler is a Professor of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania and has been on that faculty since 1974. Active in computer graphics since 1968 with more than 200 technical papers, his research focuses on human figure animation, embodied agents, and computational connections between language and action. Badler received the BA degree in Creative Studies Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1970, the MSc in Mathematics in 1971, and the Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1975, both from the University of Toronto. He is Co-Editor of the Journal Graphical Models.  He was the Cecilia Fitler Moore Department Chair of Computer and Information Science from 1990-94. He directs the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation and is also the Director of the Digital Media Design undergraduate degree program at Penn.  Since January 2001 he is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.