September 09, 2019

The city as a personal assistant

  • Acer U.
  • Kawsar F.
  • Van Den Broeck M.

Publication rights licensed to ACM. Conversational agents are increasingly becoming digital partners in our everyday computational experiences. Although rich, and fresh in content, they are oblivious to users? locality beyond geospatial weather and traffic conditions. We introduce conversational agents that are hyper-local, embedded deeply into the urban infrastructure providing rich, purposeful, detail, and in some cases playful information relevant to a neighborhood. These agents are spatially constrained, and one can only interact with them once she is in close vicinity at street-level granularity. In other words, the city provides personal, stateful, spontaneous service to its citizens through the agents installed in urban landmarks. Drawing lessons from two user studies, we identify the requirements for this system. We then discuss the architecture of these agents that leverage covert communication channels and machine learning algorithms that run on the edge and wearable devices to offer meaningful conversational experience in urban settings.

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Recent Publications

August 01, 2019

Protecting photonic quantum states using topology

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The use of topology to protect quantum information is well-known to the condensed-matter community and, indeed, topological quantum computing is a bursting field of research and one of the competing avenues to demonstrate that quantum computers can complete certain problems that classical computers cannot. In photonics, however, we are only ...

May 01, 2019

Digital networks at the nexus of productivity growth

  • Kamat S.
  • Prakash S.
  • Saniee I.
  • Weldon M.

This paper takes a fresh look at the debate over the relationship between digital technology and productivity. The argument of economic historian Robert J. Gordon is that digital technology will not lead to increases in productivity such as we saw in the last century, based on his analysis of the ...

January 01, 2019

Friendly, appealing or both? Characterising user experience in sponsored search landing pages

  • Bron M.
  • Chute M.
  • Evans H.
  • Lalmas M.
  • Redi M.
  • Silvestri F.

© 2017 International World Wide Web Conference Committee (IW3C2), published under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 License. Many of today's websites have recognised the importance of mobile friendly pages to keep users engaged and to provide a satisfying user experience. However, next to the experience provided by the sites themselves, ...