Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi Faculty Directory

William Roy Swartout

Profile picture

Research Professor of Computer Science

Education

  • 1981, Other, Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1981, PhD, Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1977, Masters, EECS, MIT
  • 1977, Masters, Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1974, Bachelors, Math Sciences, Stanford
  • 1974, Bachelors, Other Mathematics, Stanford Univ

Biography


William Swartout has been involved in the research and development of artificial intelligence systems for over 30 years. He is the director of technology at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies and a research professor in the computer science department at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. His particular research interests include virtual humans, explanation and text generation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge representation, intelligent computer based education and the development of new AI architectures.

At ICT, Swartout provides overall direction for the institute's research programs. He is the ICT PI on the New Dimensions in Testimony project, a collaboration with the Shoah Foundation which is creating a new, interactive approach to preserving holocaust survivor testimony. He leads the Personal Assistant for Life-Long Learning project, which is creating virtual human mentors to help sailors manage their training and transition from classroom based instruction to fleet-based operations. He led the National Science Foundation-funded museum guides project, which is brought ICT-created virtual humans to the Museum of Science, Boston. He oversaw the Mission Rehearsal Exercise project, which garnered awards for outstanding innovation in modeling and simulation from the National Training and Simulation Association and first place for innovative application of agent technology at the 2001 International Conference on Autonomous Agents. In 2009, Swartout received the Robert Engelmore Award from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence for seminal contributions to knowledge-based systems and explanation, groundbreaking research on virtual human technologies and their applications, and outstanding service to the artificial intelligence community. He is a Fellow of the AAAI, has served on their Board of Councilors and is past chair of the Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence (SIGART) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He has served as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, the Board on Army Science and Technology of the National Academies and the JFCOM Transformation Advisory Group. Prior to joining ICT in 1999, Swartout was director of the Intelligent Systems Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute. He received his Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from MIT and his bachelor's degree from Stanford University.

Research Summary


Swartout has been involved in cutting edge research and development of artificial intelligence systems throughout his career. His particular research interests include virtual humans, explanation and text generation, knowledge acquisition, knowledge representation, intelligent computer based education and the development of new AI architectures. He oversaw the Mission Rehearsal Exercise project, which garnered awards for outstanding innovation in modeling and simulation from the National Training and Simulation Association and first place for innovative application of agent technology at the 2001 International Conference on Autonomous Agents.

Later, he led the National Science Foundation-funded museum guides project, which brought ICT-created virtual humans to the Museum of Science, Boston, where over 250,000 visitors interacted with this novel technology. The project was selected for exhibition in the NSF booths at the 2010 AAAS conference and the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Swartout was Principle Investigator for ICT effort on the New Dimensions in Testimony project which developed the ability to present Holocaust survivor stories in an interactive, conversational format, preserving their stories for future generations. The project was recently featured on the NBC Today Show. He is currently leading the ONR-funded Personal Assistant for Lifelong Learning project, which is developing a learning coach to help service members with career transitions and knowledge decay.

Awards


  • 1987 SIGART Elected Chair of ACM Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence
  • 1992 American Association for Artificial Intelligence Elected Councilor
  • 1992 American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) Fellow of Professional Society
  • 2001 Best Paper
  • 2001 Research Award
  • 2004 Best Paper
  • 2007 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation & Education Conference Best Paper Award
  • 2009 Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence Robert Engelmore Memorial Lecture Award
  • 2010 NSF Virtual Museum Guides featured in NSF Exhibit at AAAS
Appointments
  • Computer Science

Office
  • ICT 4000
  • Institute For Creative Technologies
  • 12015 Waterfront Drive Los Angeles, CA 90094-2536
  • USC Mail Code: 0

Contact Information
  • (310) 574-5705
  • swartout@ict.usc.edu

Websites

Return to Faculty Directory