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About me

Biography

Born (1983) and raised in Ede I moved out of my parents house in 2002 to study Computer Science at the University of Twente in Enschede (Netherlands). After 3 years I received my bachelor and continued to study in Enschede by starting the master Human Media Interaction. The topics of this master are about natural modes of interaction and intelligent media, with topics such as speech and natural language processing, virtual reality, robobits and artificial intelligence.

During this master I did an internship in Los Angeles at the Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT) under the supervision of Jonathan Gratch. Here I worked on a virtual doctor, and especially on giving it human-like listening behaviour (mostly focussed on backchannels). It was in L.A. that I became interested in doing research.

In 2007 I received my MSc degree on a virtual conductor. In this project a virtual character was put in front of a real orchestra with the goal to conduct it. Its input was the musical score (the notes) and the music played by the orchestra. I studied the interaction between a conductor and the orchestra and used this information to design and implement a flexible architecture for the virtual. In November 2007 I finished my Master's Thesis and received my MSc title.

In 2011 I received my PhD degree from the University of Twente in the Human Media Interaction group on turn taking behaviour and response selection for a listening virtual character. I did this work in the Semaine project. This project aimed to build a virtual character that can listen to human speakers while performing appropriate listening behaviour and motivating the speakers to keep on talking. I mainly worked on the dialogue management of this system, which has to decide how the virtual character should behave based on the detected behaviour of the human speakers.

In December 2011 I started as a postdoctoral researcher at HMI. My goal is to combine software we made or use at HMI into a full multimodal virtual character with video and audio input, different ways of processing this information, and an avatar that can gesture and speak.

The accordion passion

When I was about 10 years old I started playing Accordion. Not the most common instrument, but I liked it. After a year I started playing in the youth orchestra of RAC. In the following years I moved up the ladder and started playing in their B-orchestra and finally (my last year in Ede) even in the A-orchestra. In the mean time I also played in the NJAO (Dutch Youth Accordion Orchestra), an orchestra with members from every corner of the Netherlands.

As stated above, in 2002 I moved to Enschede and I had to leave RAC. However, I found another accordion orchestra in Hengelo called Animato. In this orchestra I still play, in the so-called Big Orchestra (the orchestra with most of the members) and the Project orchestra, which plays pieces on a project basis.