I am interested in what makes people and computers intelligent. Why are they such effective communicators and decision-makers? When are they not? The quest for answers to these questions leads me to computational, predictive models that help us solve not only scientific problems, but also address technical challenges.
As a computer scientist, I study neural and cognitive models that describe how we encode and use information obtained from a rich, multimodal environment. Dialogue and dialogue systems have been my specific focus.
As a cognitive scientist, I study how humans process and store information, how they make decisions, and how they communicate. At the intersection of science and engineering, I adopt big-data modeling methods to inform scientific theories of cognition. At the same time, I translate insights about how people process information into optimized algorithms and models.
I have produced technical applications in predicting the success of collaborations, in machine learning and multi-agent systems, as well as in HCI with the Aquamacs project.
I am a research scientist at Google Research, New York City. I also held a position as Associate Professor (tenured) at the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Penn State, where I co-directed the Applied Cognitive Science Lab. I am part of the Data Science program and the Center for Language Science. I am author of more than 70 papers on topics related to computational cognitive science, artificial intelligence, psycholinguistics, and others. My work as a professor was funded, primarily, by the National Science Foundation.
Before joining Penn State, I held a post-doc position in the Department of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. My PhD is from the University of Edinburgh, in Cognitive Science (School of Informatics). I am most grateful to my academic mentors and mentees.
I have worked in research, industry R&D, and I have experience in natural language processing technology and software development. I founded and ran the Aquamacs project. Before my research career, I worked briefly as a freelance radio journalist in the German ARD network. I am a private and commercial pilot and fly airplanes and sailplanes and have helped manage some great flying clubs in Edinburgh, Pittsburgh, and Central Pennsylvania.
Contact: David Reitter, Google. E-mail or