Nigel Ward earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 for work on improving the quality of Japanese-English machine translation. His bachelors degree is from the University of Michigan. Before joining UTEP he served for 10 years on the Engineering faculty at the University of Tokyo, becoming the first non-Japanese to receive tenure in over 100 years. At Tokyo he was co-director of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory.
His primary research area is real-time responsiveness in spoken dialog systems. Building from empirical studies of human communication practices, he is developing ways to make interactions with spoken dialog systems less error prone, less cognitively demanding, more efficient, and more satisfying for users. He and his students are also prototyping other new forms of human-computer interaction. At UTEP he co-directs the Interactive Systems Group.