Nilay Ozge Yalcin

Building from a background in Cognitive Science, Nilay’s PhD research focuses on  the role of emotions and especially empathy in multi-modal human to machine communication. She uses an interdisciplinary approach that combines computer science methods with the theories of psychology, linguistics and sociology to understand and explore the mechanisms of human communication and dialog. Nilay is working to develop an Affective Intelligent Agent system which acts as an interactive assistant for language-based communication. She is investigating the social, emphatetic and affective behavior as well as the notion of personality in artificial agents and their effects on human-agent interaction. She also works on achieving computational abstraction techniques for anonymization without losing emotional content.

She is involved in two projects at iVizLab and is a teaching assistant for COGS100 course.


Position: PhD


AI Affective Virtual Human

Our affective real-time 3D AI virtual human project with face emotion recognition, movement recognition and full AI talking, gesture and reasoning.

BioSensing 2D / 3D / VR Systems

Our lab has extensive experience in using different sensing technology including eye tracking and facial emotion recognition (DiPaola et al 2013), as well as gesture tracking and  heart rate and EDA bio sensing (Song & DiPaola, 2015) to affect generative computer graphics systems.

AI Anonymization

Bringing together an interdisciplinary team, we created a wholly new AI technique to anonymize interview subjects and scenes in regular and 360 videos to create a technique that would be much better at conveying emotional and knowledge information than current anonymization techniques.

Deep Learning AI Creativity For Visuals / Words

Using Cognitive Science as a basis for our work, we attempt to model aspects of human creativity in AI. Specially we are using Neural Networks (and evolutionary systems) in the form of Deep Learning, CNNs, RNNs and other modern techniques to model aspects of human expression and creativity.

AI Empathetic Painter

We will combine our AI work in Empathy based modeling for AI Character Agents with our Deep Learning-based Creativity system (see papers and work in PDF) that realizes a fine art portrait from sitters.


Social Prescribing Across the Lifespan with Virtual Humans
Conference Proceedings: IVA '20: Proceedings of the 20th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2020

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

Empathic AI Painter: A Computational Creativity System with Embodied Conversational Interaction
Conference Proceedings: Proceedings of Machine Learning Research (NeurIPS 2019 Competition and Demonstration Track), 2020
10 Pages

N. Yalcin, N. Abukhodair, S. DiPaola

A multi-layer Artificial Intelligence and sensing based Affective Conversational Embodied Agent
Conference Proceedings: IEEE Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACIIW), 2019

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

Empathy Framework for Embodied Conversational Agents
Journal Article: Cognitive Systems Research, (In press) 2019

N. Yalcin

M-Path: A Conversational System for the Empathic Virtual Agent
Conference Proceedings: Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures Meeting, August 15, 2019 2019
pp. 597-607. DOI:

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

Seattle, USA

Springer, Cham

Modeling empathy: building a link between affective and cognitive processes
Journal Article: Artificial Intelligence Review, August 21, 2019 2019
pp. 1-24. DOI:

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

Springer Netherlands

Evaluating Empathy in Artificial Agents
Conference Proceedings: ACII 2019 Conference, August 2019 2019

N. Yalcin

Cambridge, UK

Evaluating Levels of Emotional Contagion in an Embodied Conversational Agent
Conference Proceedings: The 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2019

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

Modeling Empathy in Embodied Conversational Agents
Conference Proceedings: Proceedings of the 2018 on International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, October 2, 2018 2018

N. Yalcin

Boulder, USA


A computational model of empathy for interactive agents
Journal Article: Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures Journal, 2018

N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola


Embodied Interactions with a Sufi Dhikr Ritual: Negotiating Privacy and Transmission of Intangible Cultural Heritage in “Virtual Sama”
Conference Proceedings: Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, British Computer Society, July 2017
pp. 365-372, DOI:

A. Kadir, K. Hennessy, N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

London, UK

British Computer Society

Engagement with Artificial Intelligence through Natural Interaction Models
Conference Proceedings: , July 2017
pp. 296-303. DOI:

S. Salevati, N. Yalcin, S. DiPaola

London, UK

BCS Learning and Development Ltd.