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Current Project

Synthetic Audience
My work focuses on developing an intelligent agent that can augment non-expert creative ability. Lubartcite enumerates four ways in which computer interfaces can support creativity:
  • Computer as nanny: The computer provides organizational and classification services and performs routine operations on behalf of the user.
  • Computer as pen-pal: The computer facilitates brainstorming with functionality that captures and transmits to collaborators the userís thoughts.
  • Computer as coach: The computer is knowledgeable about the process and can offer suggestions and stimulate creativity.
  • Computer as colleague: The computer forms half of a human-computer team by contributing to the solution.
We suggest a fifth category of ways in which computer interfaces can support creativity: computer as audience. A computer-as-audience system simulates the recipient of a creative artifact: a community, an individual viewer, reader, watcher, etc. More importantly, a computer-as-audience system could conceivably incorporate this feedback into the creative process itself in stages or as a continual watch-over-the-shoulder approach.

One instance of a computer-as-audience system is a synthetic audience. My efforts on synthetic audience have been towards the development of a computational model of a human readers for stories-in-progress (rather than complete, well-formed stories) and a tool capable of providing feedback to amateur story authors. A synthetic audience agent enables authors to receive more feedback, more frequently than human readers are willing to provide. A synthetic audience works by tracking the narrative as it is being written, computing the response of a human reader at this stage of the in-progress story, and providing feedback to the author in a way that does not interrupt the author's flow.

  • Supporting Human Creative Story Authoring with a Synthetic Audience [PDF]

  • B. O'Neill and M. Riedl. Supporting Hyman Creative Story Authoring with a Synthetic Audience. Poster paper in Proceedings of ACM Creativity and Cognition 2009, (Berkeley, CA, USA, 2009).
  • M.O. Riedl and B. O'Neill, Computer as Audience: A Strategy for Artificial Intelligence Support of Human Creativity. Position paper in the CHI 2009 Workshop on Computational Creativity Support,(Boston, MA, USA, 2009).

Past Projects

Jython Environment for Students (JES)
Upgraded the Jython Environment for Students (JES), an integrated developing environment for Jython and media computation classes, to the most recent version of Jython. Tested and integrated new features of JES.
Available online:

BULB: Bytecode Using Lego Bots
Jointly developed a curriculum for teaching Java bytecode, using Lego Mindstorms robots, with a faculty member at Hope College and three other undergraduate researchers. Resulted in a publication at SIGCSE 2007.

Last modified 16 November 2009 at 1:52 pm by boneill