Nigel G. Ward received the Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991. He was on the faculty of the University of Tokyo for ten years before joining UTEP in 2002. He recently organized the Workshop on Feedback Behaviors in Dialog and the MediaEval 2013 Challenge on search for Similar Segments in Social Speech, and is organizing a set of panel discsussions on Prosodic Constructions in Dialog at IPrA 2015.
Ward's research areas are at the intersection of spoken language and human-computer interaction. Current topics include identifying the subtle non-lexical and prosodic signals that enable inference of a dialog partner's needs, intentions, and feelings at the sub-second level; modeling these phenomena; and using these models to improve speech recognition, audio search, dialog system responsiveness, videoconferencing, and speech synthesis. These projects apply multiple methods --- linguistic, statistical, systems-building, and experimental --- towards the goal of providing excellent user experiences.