Note: I kept babbling about episode 10 in the introduction only to realize this is episode 9! My mistake. Please mentally switch all utterance of episode 10 to episode 9 when you hear it. Sorry!
Ehsan Hoque is an assistant professor of Computer Science and the Robin & Tim Wentworth Director of the Goergen Institute for Data Science at the University of Rochester. He leads the Rochester Human-Computer Interaction (ROC HCI) Group and received his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2013.
Over the years he has been the recipient of many accolades. Notably among them are the NSF Career Award in 2018, Google Faculty Research Award in 2014 and 2016 and Best Paper Award at the 2013 ACM Ubiquitous Computing Conference.
MIT has placed him on their list of Top 35 Innovators under 35 and Science News mentioned him as 10 Scientists to Watch in 2017.
Answer to the billboard question
His research focus lies in a very interesting intersection between machines and human behavior. He studies human behavior through a computational lens to generate new insights and theories about human behavior that are "written nowhere, known by none, and understood by all.” A particular area of focus is developing emotionally aware virtual assistants that can improve our soft skills.
His Ph.D. thesis yielded the first scientific evidence that it is possible for humans to improve their face-to-face interpersonal skills through a virtual assistant. The project was highlighted by MIT Museum as one of the most unconventional inventions at MIT.
In this conversation we talk about Ehsan’s little-known hobby of acting, delving into academia, cultivating resilience, overcoming doubt, asking better questions, the paper writing process, parenting and protecting one’s time.