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Research Interests

I am interested in technology that plays an active role in human connection. An example is technology for providing behaviour support to vulnerable citizens such as dementia patients, visually or mentally impaired people, or children. These technologies need to involve a supported person's network of family, friends and caregivers in order to provide effective support. With the rise of AI and Data Science supportive technology increasingly takes decisions on our behalf, such as which data to share with whom or who to contact if help is needed. I develop theory and technology for creating software that understands and adapts to our norms and values in taking such decisions, which I call Socially Adaptive Computing.

I wrote about why I love Computer Science in my acceptance speech for the Dutch ICT Prize 2014. I am inspired by multidisciplinary collaboration and bringing together different viewpoints and expertises towards a unified vision for shaping the digital society of the future. My research is situated at the intersection of AI/Data Science, human experience, and ethics/philosophy. We use formal methods for precisely defining the knowledge structures and reasoning techniques required for socially adaptive software, building on my background in formal semantics and logics for agent programming languages. This yields a fundamental understanding of the developed knowledge representation and reasoning techniques by allowing rigourous investigation of their properties. We combine development of formal models with user-centered design to investigate how people experience the technology in practice. This in turn guides and informs development of the theory. Our work is inspired by research in philosophy of technology that studies and conceptualizes human-technology relations.

Background

From September 2006 until August 2008, I worked as a postdoc in the Programming and Software Technology (PST) group lead by Prof. Dr. Wirsing at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich on the SENSORIA project. The aim of SENSORIA was to develop a novel comprehensive approach to the engineering of software systems for Service-Oriented Overlay Computers, integrating foundational theories, techniques, and methods and pragmatic software engineering. I worked on the development of service orchestration languages, and on languages for specifying the functionality of a service using description logic.

From September 2002 until August 2006 I did a PhD in the Intelligent Systems group at Utrecht University, The Netherlands under supervision of J-J.Ch.Meyer, Frank de Boer, and Mehdi Dastani. The title of my thesis is Cognitive Agent Programming: A Semantic Approach. Cognitive agent programming languages and frameworks aim at programming agents using cognitive notions such as beliefs, goals, plans, intentions, obligations, etc. My thesis describes research regarding formal aspects of cognitive agent programming languages, with a focus on formal semantics. Much of the work is related in one way or another to the cognitive agent programming language 3APL. Please send me an e-mail if you would like to receive a hard copy of the thesis.