Mariët Theune



My interest in language and communication is reflected in the topics of my research, which include interactive digital storytelling, automatic language generation, embodied conversational agents, and multimodal information presentation.

Currently, the main focus of my research is on interactive digital storytelling. The aim of my research is to make it possible for people to not just passively “consume” stories, but instead to actively experience them, shaping their own story as they interact with intelligent characters in a virtual environment. I have been coordinating the research on digital storytelling at HMI since 2004, first in the context of the Dutch national project GATE (Gaming Research for Training and Entertainment) and currently as part of the Dutch COMMIT project "Interaction for Universal Access". In the latter project, we are building on our work in storytelling to develop a serious game for training police officers.

Another of my current projects is aimed at the analysis of existing stories. Within the FACT project, carried out in cooperation with the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam, we are investigating the automatic classification and clustering of Dutch folktales to support humanities research.

One of my main interests is language generation, with applications in storytelling and dialogue systems. I have been working on the generation of referring expressions since 1997, often in cooperation with colleagues from Tilburg University. Our joint system was the best performing one in the 2009 TUNA Challenge on Referring Expression Generation.

Conferences and workshops I have (co-)organized include the Computational Linguistics in Netherlands (CLIN) conference, a series of workshops on Multimodal Output Generation (MOG) and the European Workshop on Natural Language Generation (ENLG) in 2009. I was also involved in the organisation of the GIVE-2.5 Challenge on Generating Instructions in Virtual Environments.

More details on my past and present activities can be found on my personal homepage.