The Team

The 2018 SlugBot Team is composed of five Ph.D. students at the University of California Santa Cruz.

Wen, Jurik, Kevin, Vrindavan, Jiaqi, and Prof. Marilyn Walker

Kevin Bowden – Team Leader
Kevin represents the Natural Language and Dialogue Systems (NLDS) Laboratory, with research focusing on open domain conversational artificial intelligence. He also led the SlugBot team in last year’s Alexa Prize competition.

Jiaqi Wu – Technical Lead
Jiaqi also works in the NLDS Lab, with research interests that include dialogue systems and sentiment analysis. She hopes to integrate linguistic descriptions of events into theories of well-being and happiness. Jiaqi was part of the 2017 Alexa Prize team.

Jurik Juraska
Like Kevin and Jiaqi, Jurik is a Ph.D. student in the NLDS Lab. His research emphasizes deep learning methods in task-oriented dialogue systems. He is particularly interested in making the language capabilities of social bots more natural through stylistic analysis.

Vrindavan Harrison
Vrindavan is a Ph.D. student whose research interests lie in Natural Language Understanding, particularly question generation and answering as well as sentiment analysis and sarcasm detection.

Wen Cui
Wen’s research includes dialogue act classification and intent modeling using deep learning techniques in chat-oriented dialogue systems. She is also familiar with discourse coherence modeling, sentiment analysis, and language generation using adversarial networks.

Marilyn Walker –¬†Faculty Advisor
Marilyn Walker is a Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz, and a fellow of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Her contributions to statistical methods for dialogue optimization, centering theory, and expressive generation of dialogue are widely recognized as fundamental to the field.