University of Pittsburgh
June 2, 2003

Pitt's School of Information Sciences to Host Conference on User Modeling


PITTSBURGH—The School of Information Sciences (SIS) at the University of Pittsburgh will host the 9th International Conference on User Modeling from June 22 to 26 in the conference center at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus.

The conference, a major forum for the presentation and discussion of latest developments in academic research on user modeling and adaptive systems as well as industrial experience in deploying adaptive and personalized systems in "real-world" applications, is organized under the auspices of User Modeling Inc. User Modeling Inc. is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1994 to serve the user modeling research community. The primary purpose of the organization is to sponsor an international conference on user modeling every two years. Previous conferences have been held at sites that include Sonthofen, Germany; Banff, Canada; Sardinia; and Hawaii.

"Computer systems suffer from an inability to satisfy the heterogeneous needs of many users," said Peter Brusilovsky, SIS assistant professor and conference chair. "Being unable to take into account unique features of their individual users, they can be compared to a store that sells 'one-size-fits-all' clothing.

"A remedy for the negative effects of this approach is to develop systems with an ability to adapt their behavior to the goals, tasks, interests, and other features of individual users. These systems are known as user-adaptive computer systems. A distinctive feature of an adaptive system is an explicit user model that represents user knowledge, goals, interests, and other features that enable the system to distinguish among different users. Due to that, the field of research that explores and develops adaptive systems is briefly called 'user modeling.'"

The International Modeling Conferences bring together researchers and practitioners from fields, such as artificial intelligence, linguistics, psychology, and human-computer interaction. The conference series is characterized by high quality technical programs and discussions.

More than 200 researchers are expected to attend the conference. Among the invited speakers are Michael Pazzani, professor of information and computer science, University of California-Irvine; Rosalind Picard, director of affective computing research and associate professor of media arts and sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Kurt VanLehn, professor of computer science and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Constructive Learning Environments (CIRCLE), at Pitt.

For more information about the conference, contact Brusilovsky at or 412-624-9404.

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