Workshop Organizers

Micol Spitale


Postdoc at Affective Intelligence & Robotics (AFAR) Lab
Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge
15 JJ Thomson Ave, Cambridge CB3 0FD, UK

Micol Spitale is currently a PostDoc at the Affective Intelligence & Robotics Laboratory (AFAR Lab), Department of Computer Science & Technology of the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of professor Hatice Gunes. Her research focuses on developing a Socio-emotionally Adaptive Robotic (ARoEQ) platform that can foster wellbeing through coaching and psychologically-proven interventions. She has just finalised her Ph.D. (end of October 2021) in Information Technology (Computer Science and Engineering Area) affiliated with IBM Italy and co-funded by EIT Digital (started in November 2018), I3Lab, Department of Electronics, Information, and Bioengineering at Politecnico di Milano. She has worked as a researcher assistant for six months on different research projects, such as social robots to convey emotions and multisensory rooms for children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Then, she won a Ph.D. fellowship, and she started her Ph.D. on “Conversational Technologies for Children with Cognitive Disabilities”. During her second year of Ph.D., she spent six months at the University of Southern California (USC) in the Interaction Lab. She explored the use of robots to support children with cognitive disabilities. Finally, her doctoral thesis focuses on applying conversational Socially Assistive Robots to assess and train the linguistic skills of children with language impairments.

Sooyeon Jeong


Postdoctoral Fellow at Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University
750 N. Lake Shore Drive, 10th Floor, Chicago, IL, USA

Sooyeon Jeong is a NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Northwestern University. Her research focuses on designing and deploying interactive agents that can improve people’s lives by providing personalized support based on each user’s needs, traits and behaviors. She deploys these agents “in-the-wild” to evaluate how they build relationships/rapport with people over time and improve their wellbeing, health and learning. Sooyeon received the Best Paper Award at the RO-MAN conference in 2020, and her research has been featured in popular press outlets, including in the New York Times, the Wired Magazine, CNN International, etc. She received her B.S. and M.Eng in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and M.S. and Ph.D in Media Arts and Science from MIT Media Lab.

Emilia Barakova


Assistant Professor of Socially Intelligent Systems
Department of Industrial Design
Atlas 4.122, 5612 AZ Eindhoven, Netherlands

Emilia I. Barakova received a Ph.D. degree in mathematics and physics from Groningen University, Groningen, The Netherlands, in 1999 and holds a Masters’ degree from Technical University Sofia, Bulgaria. She is currently with the Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and leads the Social robotics Lab of the Eindhoven University of Technology. She has held research positions at RIKEN Brain Science Institute (Japan), GMD-Japan Research Laboratory (Japan), Groningen University (The Netherlands), and the Bulgarian Academy of Science (Bulgaria). She is an associate editor of the International Journal of Social Robotics and Editor of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing and has organized several IEEE and ACM conferences. She has expertise in social robotics, AI and robotics, modeling emotions and social behavior, and human-centered interaction design.

Hatice Gunes


Professor of Affective Intelligence & Robotics
Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge
William Gates Building, 15 JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 0FD, UK

Hatice Gunes is a Professor of Affective Intelligence and Robotics (AFAR) and the Head of the AFAR Lab at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Computer Science and Technology. Her expertise is in the areas of affective computing and social signal processing cross-fertilising research in multimodal interaction, computer vision, signal processing, machine learning and social robotics. She has published over 125 papers in these areas (H-index=34, citations > 6,000), with most recent works on lifelong learning for facial expression recognition, fairness and affective robotics; and longitudinal HRI for wellbeing. She was one of the Guest Editors of the 2021 IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing Special Issue on Automated Perception of Human Affect from Longitudinal Behavioral Data. Other research highlights include RSJ/KROS Distinguished Interdisciplinary Research Award Finalist at IEEE RO-MAN’21, Distinguished PC Award at IJCAI’21, Best Paper Award Finalist at IEEE RO-MAN’20, Finalist for the 2018 Frontiers Spotlight Award, Outstanding Paper Award at IEEE FG’11, and Best Demo Award at IEEE ACII’09. Prof Gunes is the former President of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC), and was the General Co-Chair of ACII’19, and the Program Co-Chair of ACM/IEEE HRI’20 and IEEE FG’17. She was a member of the Human-Robot Interaction Steering Committee (2018-2021) and was the Chair of the Steering Board of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing (2017-2019). In 2019 she was awarded the prestigious EPSRC Fellowship as a personal grant to investigate adaptive robotic emotional intelligence for wellbeing and was named a Faculty Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute– UK’s national centre for data science and artificial intelligence (2019-2021). Prof Gunes is a Senior Member of the IEEE and a member of the AAAC.