About me

I am a Research Fellow in the Interaction Lab in the School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. I have previously worked in the Robotics and Embedded Systems Group at the Technical University of Munich and in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.

My primary research interest is embodied communication. In particular, I am interested in designing, implementing, and evaluating practical systems supporting embodied interaction with human users, such as embodied conversational agents and multimodal and human-robot dialogue systems.

More about my research

Selected publications

  • Mary Ellen Foster, Amol Deshmukh, Srinivasan Janarthanam, Mei Yii Lim, Helen Hastie, Ruth Aylett, "Influencing the Learning Experience Through Affective Agent Feedback in a Real-World Treasure Hunt", In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2015), Istanbul, 2015.
  • Simon Keizer, Mary Ellen Foster, Zhuoran Wang, Oliver Lemon, "Machine Learning for Social Multi-Party Human-Robot Interaction", In ACM Transactions on Intelligent Interactive Systems, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 14:1-14:32, 2014.
  • Simon Keizer, Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, Manuel Giuliani, Amy Isard, Oliver Lemon, "Handling uncertain input in multi-user human-robot interaction", In Proceedings of the 23rd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (IEEE RO-MAN 2014), Edinburgh, Scotland, pp. 312-317, 2014.
  • Mary Ellen Foster, "Validating Attention Classifiers for Multi-Party Human-Robot Interaction", In Proceedings of the HRI 2014 Workshop on Attention Models in Robotics, 2014.
  • Mary Ellen Foster, Manuel Giuliani, Amy Isard, "Task-Based Evaluation of Context-Sensitive Referring Expressions in Human-Robot Dialogue", In Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, vol. 29, no. 8, pp. 1018-1034, 2014.
  • Manuel Giuliani, Ronald P. A. Petrick, Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, Amy Isard, Maria Pateraki, Markos Sigalas, "Comparing Task-based and Socially Intelligent Behaviour in a Robot Bartender", In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2013), Sydney, Australia, 2013.
  • Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, Manuel Giuliani, "How Can I Help You? Comparing Engagement Classification Strategies for a Robot Bartender", In Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2013), Sydney, Australia, 2013.
  • Ronald P. A. Petrick, Mary Ellen Foster, "Planning for Social Interaction in a Robot Bartender Domain", In Proceedings of the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS 2013), Special Track on Novel Applications, Rome, Italy, 2013. Novel Applications Track Best Paper.
  • Mary Ellen Foster, Andre Gaschler, Manuel Giuliani, Amy Isard, Maria Pateraki, Ronald P. A. Petrick, "Two People Walk Into a Bar: Dynamic Multi-Party Social Interaction with a Robot Agent", In Proceedings of the 14th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI 2012), Santa Monica, 2012.
  • Mary Ellen Foster, Jon Oberlander, "User preferences can drive facial expressions: evaluating an embodied conversational agent in a recommender dialogue system", In User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 341-381, 2010.

Full publications list

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