My overall research program has two branches. The first is Space Exploration and Analog Environments. The second is that of Entertaining and Affective Intelligent Interfaces, and is a continuation of the work I was doing before coming to UH.
Recently, I have been involved in a number of projects investigating how technology can best support human space exploration, in particular in overcoming challenges related to isolation, high-latency low-bandwidth communications, critical data overload, team selection and training, and hazardous/stressful environments (see my recent papers for several examples).
In addition to this research, I have acted as a 'matchmaker' between computer science students and astrobiology research projects. As a co-investigator at the UH-NASA Astrobiology Institute, I have identified a number of needs in the NAI community that are suitable for research projects, ranging from well-specified software engineering projects appropriate for an undergraduate student to open-ended research projects appropriate for a PhD thesis.
Past computational astrobiology projects include:
As part of this effort to bring astrobiologists and computer scientists together, I am organizing the Computational Astrobiology Summer School, a three-week program designed to introduce computer science graduate students to astrobiology.
- A web interface to the Deep Impact observation database, for Prof. Karen Meech, the Deep Impact [A’Hearn et al 2000] team member in charge of coordinating all the ground-based observing support for the mission. Funded by the NASA Space Grant Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.
- A telescope scheduler with a web-based interface that allows high-school students to request observations on a 31 inch telescope at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. [Binsted et al 2005]
- An evolutionary simulation to explore a range of environmental scenarios to which intelligent behaviors (adaptation on an individual time-scale, communication over generations, etc.) are adaptive. [Binsted & Joseph 2004]
- A system for building a network of hypotheses relevant to SETI message decoding. [Binsted & Takazawa 2003]
- A framework for intelligent data gathering and 'triage' techniques in self maintaining ad hoc wireless sensor networks for extreme environments. [Binsted & Nagar 2003]
- A set of software tools for doing statistical analyses of genomes and proteins. [Boal et al 2005]
- A software tool for performing calibrations and signal detection for an in-situ voltammeter used in deep ocean research.
The second branch of my research program is that of Entertaining and Affective Intelligent Interfaces. This includes the continuation of my earlier research on computational humor as well as work on other forms of intelligent interface. Projects include:
- Developing a model of interactive narrative [Tomaszewski & Binsted 2006]
- Extending the linguistic modeling of humor beyond puns to scalar humor (e.g. [Binsted & Bergen 2004]) and to semantic humor in the form of one-line jokes (e.g. [Stark, Binsted & Bergen 2005]).
- Developing a system that recognizes sub-vocalized speech based from the response of electro-myogram sensors placed on the throat of the speaker (e.g. [Binsted and Jorgensen 2006]). This research was supported by the NASA Summer Faculty Fellowship Program.
- Developing a chatbot to support second-language learning with entertaining, accessible conversation.