I am a senior research engineer in the speech recognition team at Nuance Communication. At Nuance, I work on optimizing different algorithms in the speech to text pipeline (from signal processing to utterance detection and language models).
Prior to joining Nuance, I obtained my Ph.D. from Khoury college of computer science at Northeastern University, where I worked in the Relational Agents Group under the supervision of Prof. Timothy Bickmore.
My PhD research has been focused on leveraging AI and conversational agent technology to support some of the humans' tasks in a group decision-making setting.
Prior to coming to Northeastern, I received my B.Sc. in computer engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2012 (Tehran, Iran).
Shamekhi, A., Bickmore, T., "A Multimodal Robot-Driven Meeting Facilitation System for Group Decision-Making Sessions" (ICMI 2019) (PDF)
Trinh, H., Shamekhi, A., Kimani, E., Bickmore, T., “Predicting User Engagement in Longitudinal, interventions with Virtual Agents” (IVA 2018) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Liao, Q. V., Wang, D., Bellamy, R., Erickson, T., "Face Value? Exploring the Effects of Embodiment for a Group Facilitation Agents" (CHI2018) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Bickmore, T., "Breathe Deep: A Breath-sensitive Interactive Meditation Coach" (Pervasive Health 2018)
Bisafar, F., Panoda, A., Shamekhi, A., Parker, A., "A Sociotechnical Study of a Community-based Rewards Program: Insights on Building Social, Financial and Human Capital" (CSCW2018)
Liao, Q. V., Shamekhi, A., Wang, D., "Lessons from Designing and Studying a Conversational Agent for Group Facilitation" (CHI 2018 Workshop on Voice-based Conversational UX Studies and Design)
Shamekhi, A., Trinh, H., Bickmore, T., DeAngelis, T., Ellis, T., Houlihan, B., Latham, N., "A Friendly Face in the Storm: Self-care Support System Requirements for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury" (CHI2017- WISH workshop) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Bickmore, T., Gardiner, P. "Augmenting Group Medical Visits with Conversational Agents for Stress Management Behavior Change" (Persuasive Technology2017) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Czerwinski, M., Mark, G., Novotny, M., Bennett, G., "An Exploratory study toward the preferred conversational Style for compatible virtual agents" (IVA2016) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Trinh, H., Bickmore, T., DeAngelis, T., Ellis, T., Houlihan, B., Latham, N., "Virtual Coaches to Promote Self-care for Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury". (ASSETS2016) (PDF)
Shamekhi, A., Bickmore, T., "Blissful Agents: Adjuncts to Group Medical Visits for Chronic Pain and Depression" (IVA2016)
Shamekhi, A., Bickmore, T. "Breath with me: Virtual Meditation Coach" (IVA2015)
Gardiner, P., McCue, K., Shamekhi, A., Hempstead, MB., Yinusa,L., and Bickmore, T., "Using an Embodied Conversational Agent to Discuss Nutrition Among Young African American Women" (Integrative Medicine Conference at Harvard University 2014)
"An Exploratory Study Toward the Preferred Conversational Style for Compatible Virtual Agents" Based on a linguistics theory, we designed and developed a voice-based virtual human with two conversational styles. We conducted an empirical study to examine how people would react to the agent with matched vs. not-matched conversational styles. We also examined "language style matching" in human-virtual agent interactions. I was very fortunate to be advised by Mary Czerwinski during my internship
"Exploring the Effects of Embodiment for a Group Facilitation Agent" We designed and developed a conversational agent system that supports group decision- making tasks. We explored the impacts of agent's embodiment on the perception of the facilitation agent as well as the task outcome. Vera Q. Liao and Dakuo Wang were my great mentors and I was thrilled to be advised by Rachel Bellamy and Thomas Erickson in my internship.
My research has been focused on the design and development of Intelligent Conversational Agents in different contexts such as health, persuasion and group collaboration in the past four years.
My Ph.D. work is particularly focused on designing conversational agents that support collaborative tasks in the group setting. In my research, I seek to investigate how a conversational agent can facilitate group decision-making processes, such as enforcing the meeting structure, mediating intragroup conflicts, and reducing implicit bias with the goal of improving the overall quality of the group outcome.
You can read more about my research and thesis project here.
We developed a multimodal robotic meeting facilitator that can improve the quality of small group decision-making meetings. This automated group facilitation system uses multimodal sensor inputs (user gaze, speech, prosody, and proxemics), as well as inputs from a tablet application, to intelligently enforce meeting structure, promote time management, balance group participation, and facilitate group decision-making processes.
I was involved in this project to design and develop the meditation module. ECAPal is an NIH-funded project in which a virtual character provides patients with palliative care. I expanded the meditation module and added couple of features to make it more suitable and consistent with the nature of mindfulness activities.
I am the second lead in this project, designing a virtual agent-based system to help people with Spinal Cord Injury.
I have been technical project lead on a PCORI grant-funded project to develop a relational agent to help patients manage chronic pain using meditation, yoga, and diet. The project is in collaboration with physicians in the Integrative Medicine group at Boston Medical Center.
I would always love to chat about research and other common interests. So please feel free to drop me a line here or email me if you are interested.
You can also follow me, my works, and activities on social media.