CMU logo
Expand Menu
Close Menu

HCII Seminar Series -Antti Oulasvirta

Open in new window

Antti Oulasvirta

Antti Oulasvirta
Professor, Aalto University, School of Electrical Engineering


Newell-Simon Hall 1305

Video link


"Towards Artificial Users: Rethinking Predictive Modeling in HCI in the Era of ML" 

Predictive models are used to infer users’ preferences, predict behavior, and generate and adapt user interfaces. Such models are hard to create, however, fundamentally because human behavior is complex. Early research started from theoretical principles rooted in cognitive sciences, while  recent work, building on advances in machine learning, has taken the opposite approach of learning models from data. In this talk, I discuss the viability of “artificial users”, or user simulations that combine theoretical principles with machine learning in a new way. I start by charting the history of the area from rule-based systems to LLMs. I then revisit desired data for models in the light of a fundamental question: Which principles of behavior should come from theory and which should be learned from data? I discuss emerging work on such ‘grey box’ models rooted on the theory of computational rationality, using text entry as the case. The approach allows encoding key principles of behavior but does not necessitate large labeled datasets.

Speaker's Bio

Antti Oulasvirta leads the Computational Behavior Lab ( at Aalto University and the Interactive AI research program at FCAI (Finnish Center for AI). Prior to joining Aalto, he was a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction at Saarland University. He received his doctorate in Cognitive Science from the University of Helsinki in 2006, after which he was a Fulbright Scholar at the School of Information in University of California-Berkeley in 2007-2008 and a Senior Researcher at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT in 2008-2011. He was awarded the ERC Starting Grant (2015-2020) for research on computational design of user interfaces and again in 2024 for research on computational models of user behavior. Dr. Oulasvirta serves as an associate editor for ACM TOCHI. His work has been awarded the Best Paper Award and Best Paper Honorable Mention at CHI fifteen times between 2008 and 2022.

Speaker's Website