University of Bielefeld - Faculty of Technology - Knowledge-Based Systems Group

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Virtual Environments and Agents: The VIENA Project

Version in deutscher Sprache

VIENA was a project in the research area "Artificial Intelligence and Computer Graphics", started in 1993 at the University of Bielefeld with support by the Ministry of Science and Research. The project, which was completed in 1997, achieved significant advancements in intelligent human-computer interaction for a virtual design environment; interior design was chosen as an example domain. Instead of having to use mouse and menus to manipulate objects, alterations are conveyed to the system by way of natural language input and pointing gestures. The aim is to keep the user (designer) free from technical considerations such as planning of geometric details, etc. The VIENA working environment is based on SGI graphics workstations.

In the VIENA system a multi-agent system mediates qualitative multimodal instructions by translating them to quantitative commands that are used to update the visualization scene model.

By the help of a multimodal user interface a user instruction is processed to an internal deep-level representation which outputs to the mediating agents. To support situated communication, a bookkeeping agent is authorized to acess and modify the augmented data base to supply current situation information to agents on request. A collection of space agents translates qualitative relations such as "left of" to according scene coordinates. Thereby, the system can adapt dynamically to individual user preferences. Other agents, in a similar way, take special responsibilities in mediating an instruction. All agents cooperate with each other to offer a goal scene corresponding to a user's inquiry. The offer can be changed by a further interaction, that is, the user can negotiate the computed semantics of an instruction. A special Adaptor unit is used to convert data back and forth between the mediating agents and the 3D graphical system.

A running version of the VIENA virtual design environment can be seen in our contribution to the IJCAI-95 Videotape Program (Cao et. al, 1995).

Research in the VIENA Project was partly supported from 1993-96 in the research network KI-NRW ("Applications of Artificial Intelligence in North-Rhine-Westphalia") by the Ministry of Science and Research of the Federal State North-Rhine-Westphalia under grant no. IVA3-107 007 93.

System documentation (internal information; postscript)

Prof. Dr. Ipke Wachsmuth, Marc Latoschik, Britta Lenzmann, Martin Fröhlich

and till summer of 1995 Dr. Yong Cao.

Student staff:
Norbert Siekmann (till 1994), Tanja Jörding, Dirk Evers (till 1995), Ralf Nolte and Timo Sowa

email: ipke@TechFak.Uni-Bielefeld.DE

Project Publications (selection):

List of Project Publications (postscript)

List of VIENA Diploma Theses (postscript in German)

List of VIENA Project Reports (KI-NRW Reports)

Anke Bodzin, 1994-11-29, 1995-05-10
Martin Fröhlich, 1996-01-29
Kay Kampeter, 1996-10-25
Britta Lenzmann, 1998-02-04