Computer Science

Contact Information

Fuller Laboratories, B21
Phone: +1-508-831-6637
Fax: +1-508-831-5776

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Candace L. Sidner

I'm a research professor at WPI, which means I participate in research activities with students and faculty. I am a computer scientist, and my specialties include natural language processing, AI, intelligent user interfaces, and human-robot interaction.

I find students at WPI are excellent to work with! My job is to introduce them to new ideas, and then I find they run with those ideas in new directions. I currently head a large NSF project about creating virtual agents and robotic agents that "live" in people's homes for long periods of time as companions. Prof. Charles Rich is a co-head of this effort. These companion agents are always aware of the human resident, participate in conversations throughout the day on a wide range of topics, and reason about the relationship between the agent and the human. We have succeeded in building a system that allows a robot or virtual agent to have daily conversations with users on ten different activities, three of which are specifically to help isolated adults interact more with other people.  Our agents are going in people’s homes this fall in a month long study.

My photo is one of me taken this past spring in Paris. I love to travel, and being a scientist gives me many opportunities to do so.

Research Interests

  • Natural Language Processing
  • AI
  • Intelligent User Interfaces
  • Collaboration
  • Human Robot Interaction


  • B.A. Math, Kalamazoo College 1971
  • M.S. Computer Science, Univ of Pittsburgh, 1975
  • Ph.D. Computer Science, MIT, 1979

Featured Publications

  • B. Nooraei, C. Rich and C. Sidner. "A Real-Time Architecture for Embodied Conversational Agents: Beyond Turn-Taking." 7th International Conference on Advances in Computer-Human Interactions. May, 2014.
  • Bickmore, T., Schulman, D., Sidner, C. "Automated Interventions for Multiple Health Behaviors Using Conversational Agents. "Journal of Patient Education and Counseling." 92(2):142-148, 2013.
  • W. Coon, C. Rich and C. Sidner. "Activity Planning for Long-Term Relationships". Proceedings of the International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces. 2013.
  • C. Rich and C. Sidner. Procedural Dialogue Authoring with Hierarchical Task Networks and Dialogue Trees. 12th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2012
  • L. Pfeifer Vardoulakis, L. Ring, B. Barry, C. Sidner, T. Bickmore. Designing Relational Agents as Long Term Social Companions for Older Adults. 12th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2012.

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Labs and Centers

  • Interaction Lab, Fuller Laboratories

Professional Highlights

  • Fellow Assoc for Advancement of AI
  • Fellow, Assoc for Computational Linguistics
  • Senior member, IEEE
  • Past President, Assoc. for Computational Linguistics
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