Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day 2010: Dr Rana el-Kaliouby

For this year's Finding Ada, March 24, 2010, I'm nominating MIT's Dr Rana el-Kaliouby , an inspirational young female scientist for Ada Lovelace Day 2010.

Rana el-Kaliouby holds a BS and MS in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo, and a PhD from the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge. She co-founded Affectiva, Inc., a spin-out from MIT's Media Laboratory with Rosalind W. Picard to measure and communicate emotions.

Among Rana el-Kaliouby's achievements is "wearable technology she helped develop that may aid people with autism spectrum disorders" (from MIT news.

Organiser of the 2009 Royal Society event on Computation of emotions in man and machines, Rana el-Kalouby's research interests include:

"inventing new affective technologies that enable the real-time and offline measurement of people's affective and cognitive experiences to enhance understanding of oneself and communication with others. She is a founding member of the Autism Communication Technology Initiative at MIT. Her current research developing the first in the world suite of wearable prostheses designed to enrich the social interactions of individuals on the autism spectrum ... rated among the top 100 innovations of the year 2006 by New York Times. Her work has been featured in the NewScientist, New York Times, Reuters, CNET, Wired, the Boston Globe and Slashdot. El Kaliouby is the 2006 recipient of the Global Women and Inventors Network, Higher Education & Learning Institutes (Gold Award). ." (from here).

Attempting to build an emotionally intelligent machine, one that can

".. detect your mood and can make decisions based on that. For example, it can alert you if you are falling asleep while driving, detect if you are frustrated when you can’t find what you are googling for, or can switch to a music genre that will cheer you up [when] you are sad. MindReader API enables the real time analysis, tagging and inference of cognitive affective mental states from facial video. The API builds on Rana el Kaliouby's doctoral research, which presents a computational model of mind reading as a framework for machine perception and mental state recognition. (From here).

Rana el-Kalioubt "exhibits her work regularly to engage the public in research, and to encourage more under-represented individuals to pursue a career in technology innovation. She has been invited to present her work at Google".

A mother of a five yea-old daughter, Rana el-Kaliouby is a most fitting and inspiring young female scientist to be associated with Lord Byron's daughter, Lady Ada Lovelace, another extraordinary woman, 19th century mathematician and first computer programmer.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Flash Forward Returns

Flash Forward returns on Five; will we learn the cause of the global blackout? Can't wait!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Making of Bellamy's People

Mock 'behind the scenes' view of BBC2's comic series on what makes British people British: Bellamy's People.

Episode 6

Hilarious: 'What is the question?'

The Modern British Army:

More clips here.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

James Cameron Speaking on TED

Good timing TED (ideas worth spreading), posting last year's James Cameron talk now, just before OSCARS 2010!

This is the way to impress, not the way Nicholas Chartier, producer of HURT LOCKER, chose - censured for explicit and aggressive campaigning, resulting in a ban from attending the Oscars.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

2010 Chatterbox Challenge

Chatterbox Challenge (CBC) is an annual contest held over the Internet that compares artificial conversational entities - ACE, across categories including 'best system'. The contest is loosely based on Alan Turing's notion to gauge whether a machine can think, conveyed through its answers to questions from a judge. The judge is not allowed to hear, see or touch the ACE, and must use their own interrogation technique via text-based questioning to assess.

The 2010 Chatterbox Challenge is looking for a small number of judges for this year's contest beginning March 15th. Judging requires access to an Internet-enabled computer. Judging is fun and also allows an insight into a broad area including the fields of natural language study, psychology, philosophy, software engineering and computer science.

Having participated in the 2005 CBC contest, I can say it was very interesting, and allowed for a paper write up for the Natural Language Understanding and Cognitive Science workshop, part of ICEIS 2006 (

If anyone is interested to act as a judge in the 2010 Chatterbox Challenge, please contact the Sponsor on support[at]chatterboxchallenge[dot]com

For more information on the contest, please see CBC's site here:

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