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, the Challenge on Search for Similar Segments in Social Speech, and the panel on Prosodic Constructions in Dialog at IPrA 2015. He gave a tutorial on Dialog Models and Dialog Phenomena at Interspeech 2015. In 2015-2016 he was a Fulbright scholar at Kyoto University.
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, language teaching, assessment, videoconferencing, and speech synthesis. These projects apply multiple methods, linguistic, big-data, systems-building, and experimental.