SpeakerBarbara Grosz
DateMay 22, 2014
Time11:00AM 12:30PM
LocationIF G.07
TitleHealth Care Coordination and Health Literacy: The Need for Smart Multi-agent Systems
I recently argued that Turing, were he alive now, would conjecturedifferently than he did in 1950, and I suggested a new “Turingchallenge” question, “Is it imaginable that a computer (agent) teammember could behave, over the long term and in uncertain, dynamicenvironments, in such a way that people on the team will not notice itis not human”. In the last several decades, the field of multi-agentsystems has developed a vast array of techniques for cooperation andcollaboration as well as for agents to handle adversarial or strategicsituations. Even so, current generation agents are unlikely to meet thisnew challenge except in very simple situations. Meeting the challengerequires new algorithms and novel plan representations. This talk willexplore the implications of this new “Turing question” in the context of my group’s recent work on developing intelligent agents able to work on a team with health care providers and patients to improve carecoordination. Our goal is to enable systems to support a diverse,evolving team in formulating, monitoring and revising a shared “careplan” that operates on multiple time scales in uncertain environments.The coordination of care for children with complex conditions, which isa compelling societal need, is presented as a model environment in whichto develop and assess such systems. The talk will focus in particular onchallenges of interruption management, information sharing, andcrowdsourcing for health literacy.


Barbara J. Grosz is a Higgins Professor of Natural Sciences at HarvardUniversity.  Grosz specializes in natural language processing andmulti-agent systems. She established the research field of computationalmodeling of discourse and developed some of the earliest computerdialogue systems, pioneered models of collaboration, and developedcollaborative multi-agent systems and collaborative systems forhuman-computer communication. Grosz is known for her leadership in thefield of artificial intelligence and her role in the establishment andleadership of interdisciplinary institutions, and she is widelyrespected for her contributions to the advancement of women in science.

From 2007-2011, Grosz served as interim dean and then dean ofHarvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and from 2001-2007 shewas the Institute’s first dean of science, designing and building itsscience program.


Professor Grosz's visit is supported through the generosity of SICSA, the Royal Society of Edinburgh and ESSENCE.

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