UNO computer science professor earns narrative intelligence grant

If the research proves successful, it could be the first steps of improving interactions between humans and computers.
If the research proves successful, it could be the first steps of improving interactions between humans and computers. | File photo
Stephen Ware, a computer science professor at the University of New Orleans, recently earned a one-year $157,000 grant to study how computers automatically tell and adapt narratives during video games and training simulations.

With the grant from the National Science Foundation, Ware will teach computers the best ways of telling and adapting these stories during interactive games and simulations. He already runs the Narrative Intelligence Lab to resolve certain problems in computer storytelling.

The goal of the research is to determine how a computer uses technology reasoning to learn what characters know or don’t know. The research will also look at how the computer’s knowledge adapts throughout time.

Today’s current technologies are established on the assumption that the video or simulation characters know everything at all times. This doesn’t happen in real stories; the computer characters learn how to teach, communicate, deceive and learn.

“People tell stories all the time, but computers have a hard time with this task,” Ware said. “This model of character beliefs will eventually be used in an intelligent training simulation that uses interactive stories to teach best practices to people like police officers.”

If the research proves successful, it could be the first steps of improving interactions between humans and computers. This could lead to improvements in online games, smartphone assistants and educational software.

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