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Professor Shai Ben-David has been appointed a University Research Chair in recognition of his outstanding contributions to machine learning theory, logic, the theory of distributed computation and complexity theory. This prestigious title may be held for up to seven years and is conferred to recognize the exceptional achievements of Waterloo faculty members and to acknowledge their pre-eminence in a field of knowledge.

Researchers in artificial intelligence have developed an innovative way to identify a range of anti-social behaviour online. The new technique, led by Alex Parmentier, a master’s student at Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, detects anti-social behaviour by examining the reaction to a post among members of an online forum rather than examining features of the original post itself.

Researchers at the Cheriton School of Computer Science have pioneered a new method that could be used to develop more natural automated virtual assistants to help people suffering from mental illness. 

Called SMERTI (pronounced smarty), the new method enables virtual assistants to use natural language and emotional cues that change depending on the relationship and situations in which they are used. The result allows for the development of virtual assistants that better connect with people they are used to help.

People suffering from the early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease often have difficulty remembering things that recently happened to them. As the disease takes root, a person’s reasoning and behaviour can change. Day-to-day routines — like handwashing — may become challenging for them and they begin to need more assistance from caregivers for simple tasks.

But now there is technology that can help.

The key to people trusting and co-operating with artificially intelligent agents lies in their ability to display human-like emotions, according to a new study by Postdoctoral Fellow Moojan Ghafurian, Master’s candidate Neil Budnarain and Professor Jesse Hoey at the Cheriton School of Computer Science.