General Information

On this page, find some general information about myself.

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Research Interests

Throughout my career, I have been investigating how new technology and research results can be of benefit for the average user. Over the years I worked with cutting edge technologies (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Semantic Web, Web 2.0, mobile applications) and investigated their potential to be employed in daily life, by non-experts. In 2012, I oversaw and directed the transformation of a prototypical research result of our lab into a full-grown commercial product, VastCast, which is now used by a number of conferences and organizations. Also, over the years while serving as a group leader, student supervisor and teacher, I have learned a lot about how to transform young researchers and students into creative, independent individuals. I have managed several international research projects, involving researchers from Europe and China.

Work Experience

I am an associate researcher at the e-learning lab of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I'm also an Head of Laboratory, CeLTech – Centre for e-Learning Technology at the DFKI, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, where I arrange and direct the international collaboration between SJTU and CeLTech. Since 2012, I'm in charge of the university spin-off project Acclamate and its product VastCast, a live video lecture solution.

Skills

Technical

As a researcher in computer science, I have the opportunity to explore different programming languages and technologies: HTML and JavaScript (personal web-based learning environments, mobile applications); Python (automatic skill extraction and matching, machine learning analysis); Java (pedagogical core component for the web-based learning environment ActiveMath); Ruby (student Twitter interaction analysis); PHP (scientific workbench based on Semantic Web technology); Lisp (expert system and problem solver based on analogy).

Social

As a group leader, student supervisor and teacher, I have learned a lot about how to transform young researchers and students into creative, independent individuals. I have managed several international research projects, involving researchers from Europe and China.

Projects

At Shanghai Jiao Tong University, I am in charge of several international projects such as the ROLE project, which investigates personal learning environments, CEDEM (Cross-Cultural Educational Data-Mining in Large-Scale Multimedia Learning), and others. I also serve on advisory boards of Shanghainese start-ups focusing on education.

Since 2012, I am charge of the university spin-off project Acclamate and its product VastCast, the easy way to have the world watching and learning from your conferences and lectures. As Acclamate's director, I oversaw and directed the transformation of a prototypical research result of our lab into a full-grown commercial product, VastCast, which is now used by a number of conferences and organizations.

In my PhD thesis I developed a course generation framework that enables the formalization and application of complex and realistic pedagogical knowledge. Compared to previous course generation, this approach generates structured courses that are adapted to a variety of different learning goals and to the learners' competencies. This work is based on techniques from various fields, such as AI planning, user modeling, knowledge representation (Semantic Web), and of course pedagogical expertise.

This work was done in the ActiveMath group within the scope of the FP7 project LeActiveMath. In the final review of the project, the reviewers commented that my course generator "clearly represents an advancement of the-state-of-the-art in the fields of computer-aided learning".

One part of the work was an ontology of instructional objects that captures pedagogical purposes of learning objects. Take a look at the human readable or the formal description (in owl).

A detailed description of this work is published by Springer-Verlag, as a Lecture Note in Artificial Intelligence. An earlier and free description of this work is given in my PhD thesis. Read the English and German abstract on my publications page and the complete thesis, if you like.

In my diploma thesis, I worked on problem solving by analogy. I added a component for knowledge-based proof planning by analogy in the mathematical support system Omega. My thesis is available online (in German).

Competencies

My work allowed me to gain experience in various fields, such as

  • Artificial Intelligence: Semantic Web, AI-planning, expert systems, knowledge representation, ontologies
  • Technology-supported learning: Web 2.0, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, User Modeling, course generation, adaptive hypermedia
  • Programming: Java, Lisp, Prolog, Ruby (on Rails), Javascript, HTML, CSS, XML

Interests others than Computer Science

My interests are not restricted to computer science. I'm in love with my gorgeous wife, watch gruesome movies, like to read all kinds of books, including philosophy (still struggling to understand Rudolf Steiner and Sri Aurobindo).

Being interested in China, I'm trying to learn Chinese and understand this fascinating country and its people. Since 2012, I'm practicing Tai Chi, and helping my teacher building up his Tai Chi school in Shanghai.