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 has recently organized several workshops on dialog dynamics, including the Workshop on Feedback Behaviors in Dialog, and the MediaEval 2013 Challenge Task on search for on Similar Segments in Social Speech.
Ward's research areas are at the intersection of spoken language and human-computer interaction. Current topics include the subtle non-lexical and prosodic signals that enable inference of a dialog partner's needs, intentions, and feelings at the sub-second level; techniques for modeling these phenomena; and applications of the models for more accurate speech recognition, for better audio search, for more responsive dialog systems, and for more efficient codecs. These projects apply multiple methods --- linguistic, statistical, systems-building, and experimental --- towards the goal of providing excellent user experiences.