The Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing seeks a Postdoctoral researcher in emotional AI/ML and LLMs for empathic patient-robot conversations to join the Nyamathi lab.
An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, and Purdue University have teamed up with clinicians and care facilities to implement an ambitious 2-years research project with the title: Establishing the Foundations of Emotional Intelligence of Care Companion Robots to Mitigate Agitation among High-Risk Dementia Patients via Empathic Patient-Robot Interactions.
As part of this project, we will design and validate real-time multimodal machine-learning models for sensing dementia patients' emotions from conversations, facial expressions, body movements, and physiological data. Further, we will design conversational AI models that respond to changes in a patient's emotions with empathic conversations and personal storytelling. Such conversations will be conveyed via a novel Care Companion Robot using text displayed on a monitor, speech communicated via a speaker, as well as images and basic robot movements. These conversational interactions will be tested in a lab as well as in four caregiving facilities. To realize such empathic conversations, we will design a unique ML architecture that integrates an open LLM with event-oriented knowledge graphs representing a patient's personal stories and alignment through prompt engineering, deep reinforcement learning, and linguistic rules for empathy. Successful candidates will join the vibrant and interdisciplinary Research Group, which bridges the scientific fields of ML/AL, informatics, software engineering, and nursing and closely collaborates with caregivers and experts in dementia.
The Postdoctoral candidate will be responsible for: Designing and validating new real-time AI/ML models for emotions and agitations Designing AI/ML models for temporal knowledge graphs to represent and continuously update a patient's personal stories Aligning open LLM models by designing new prompt engineering approaches and reinforcement learning models integrating linguistic rules for empathy Designing and implementing user experiments with robots in simulated environments Collaborating with software engineers to implement the new models into the software architecture of a Care Companion Robot to be used in real-world operations using state-of-the-art software engineering processes Collaborating with other researchers in implementing a field study to introduce conversational caregiving-patient interactions in real caregiving settings Provide guidance to PhD students involved in the project Disseminate results through scientific publications in leading conference journals Prepare project deliverables
The candidate's expertise/skills: PhD degree in Computer Science, Computational Linguistics, Information Sciences, Computers and Information Systems (Engineering), Robotics, Applied Mathematics, or a related field Strong knowledge of computational research methods and tools to design and validate deep learning models for conversational AI and affective computing; training in NLP and LLMs; ideally, interest and evidence of research experience in prompt engineering and alignment of LLMs Interdisciplinary research background, ideally focused on the social and emotional aspects of AI/ML and human-AI interactions and affective computing, exposure to cognitive science and neuroscience a plus (e.g., cognitive modeling, etc.) Proficiency in one of the major programming languages like Python and ML libraries such as Pytorch or Tensorflow, OpenLLaMA, and other NLP libraries A collaborative team player with a desire to have a personal impact within our interdisciplinary research group by transforming the future of care for dementia patients The commitment to participate in the design, implementation, and theoretical elaboration of high-quality solutions that solve significant problems Self-initiative, creativity, curiosity, flexibility , and enthusiasm to work
Since 1965, the University of California, Irvine has combined the strengths of a major research university with the bounty of an incomparable Southern California location. UCI's unyielding commitment to rigorous academics, cutting-edge research, and leadership and character development makes the campus a driving force for innovation and discovery that serves our local, national and global communities.