IVA09 - 9th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents


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Latest news

September 2011:
Your Presentation information added

Technical Program updated

Social Program added

August 2011:
Useful info added

July 2011:
Extended deadline for CMVC 2011

June 2011:
Accommodation updated

Registration open

Accepted papers announced

May 2011:
Conference submissions are closed

April 2011:
Submissions opened

BML working meeting announced

March 2011:
Link to CMVC Workshop

IVA Poster made available.

Online Message Board

This is a virtual post-it board reserved for the participants of IVA 2011 to share information, event details, photos, and whatever. Everyone can read this board (it is completely public), but to post you need to create an account, but it is quite simple. Please remember to include your name in your posts, any anonymous abuse won't be tolerated. Press the "Sun" symbol on the blue bar to create a new account.

 IVA 2011 is over!


Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are interactive characters that exhibit human-like qualities and communicate with humans or with each other using natural human modalities such as speech and gesture. They are capable of realtime perception, cognition and action that allows them to participate in dynamic social environments.

IVA 2011 is an interdisciplinary annual conference and the main forum for presenting research on modeling, developing and evaluating intelligent virtual agents with a focus on communicative abilities and social behavior. In addition to presentations on theoretical issues, the conference encourages the showcasing of working applications. Researchers from the fields of human-human and human-robot interaction are also encouraged to share work with a relevance to intelligent virtual agents.

IVA 2011 will be hosted by Reykjavík University in Iceland, and held at the nearby Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura.

The Technical Program and Social Program have been updated! Make sure to check out the Useful Info before you arrive. Note that registration is now closed.

Co-Located Workshop: Culturally Motivated Virtual Characters

Consider attending the co-located workshop on Culturally Motivated Virtual Agents that takes place the day before IVA starts. Read more...

Co-Located Meeting: Special interest group on the Behavior Markup Language (BML)

A BML working meeting will be held the day before IVA starts. If you are interested in contributing to the ongoing development of the BML specification, and especially if you are implementing BML related tools, please contact Dennis Reidsma or Herwin van Welbergen

Sponsored by


In Cooperation with

AAAI Eurographics

BML SIG Meeting Sponsored by


Social Program

Reception at Reykjavik University

Thursday 18:00-19:30

The heart of Reykjavik University is only a 10 minute walking distance from the conference hotel. The IVA 2011 poster session and reception will take place on the 2nd floor of the central lobby of the university, right above the main entrance. This part of the university is called "The Sun", and from this center one can access all of the university's departments, housed in the various orbiting "Planets".

Sumptuous finger food, beer and wine will be served, while participants present posters and live demonstrations. Musical ambience will be produced live by veteran experimental electronic music artists Gunni Ewok and Subminimal.

Dinner at Restaurant Reykjavík

Friday 19:00-22:00

The conference dinner will take place in one of Reykjavik's oldest buildings, located in the center of the downtown area. The building was originally a warehouse on the docks, built in 1863. After serving a variety of merchants, the house is now a restaurant that provides a cuisine with local flavor.

Icelandic folk music performed by Ástvaldur Traustason on accordion and Ţorgrímur Ţráinsson on acoustic base.

Golden Circle Nature Tour

Saturday 15:00-21:30
Cost: 7.000 ISK

Departure from Reykjavik Natura at 15.00 After approximately a 40 minutes drive we reach Ţingvellir, the most important historic site in Iceland and now a national park. The oldest parliament of the world was founded here in 930. The Ţingvellir area is part of a fissure zone running through Iceland, being situated on the tectonic plate boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The faults and fissures of the area make evident the rifting of the earth's crust. Ţingvellir was officially added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2004.

From Ţingvellir we drive via Laugarvatn school center to Geysir geothermal area with its spouting hot springs, and geysers, among them the world´s most active geyser, Strokkur, which ejects regularly every 5-10 minutes.

After Geysir we will visit Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall, considered by many to be the most beautiful of Iceland´s numerous waterfalls.

A drive back to Reykjavik, passing Hveragerđi greenhouse village enroute. Estimated arrival in Reykjavik: 21:30-22:00. Drop off at conference hotels.

Good walking shoes (no high heals or open shoes) and some warm clothes recommended.

Price per person: ISK 7.000 (book at conference registration desk).

Supplementary Videos

Authors of all published IVA2011 papers were invited to submit supplementary video materials. These materials are all made accessible here:

Demonstrating and Testing the BML Compliance of BML Realizers
Herwin van Welbergen, Yuyu Xu, Marcus Thiebaux, Wei-Wen Feng, Jingqiao Fu, Dennis Reidsma, Ari Shapiro
[WMV] (18 MB)

Control of speech-related facial movements of an avatar from video
Guillaume Gibert, Catherine Stevens
[WMV] (11 MB)

A Framework for Motion Based Bodily Enaction with Virtual Characters
Pugliese Roberto, Klaus Lehtonen
[MP4] (30 MB)

Backchannels: Quantity, Type and Timing Matters
Ronald Poppe, Khiet Truong, Dirk Heylen
[AVI (original)] (3 MB) [AVI (random)] (3 MB)

Expressing Emotions on Robotic Companions with Limited Facial Expression Capabilities
Tiago Ribeiro, Iolanda Leite, Ana Paiva, Jan Kedzierski, Adam Oleksy
[AVI] (44 MB)

Don't Scratch! Self-adaptors Reflect Emotional Stability
Michael Neff, Nicholas Toothman, Robeson Bowmani, Jean Fox Tree, Marilyn Walker
[AVI] (16 MB)

Virtual Rapport 2.0
Lixing Huang, Louis-Philippe Morency, Jonathan Gratch
[MP4] (5 MB)

Presenter's Guide

Oral Presentations

Long paper presentations should not exceed 20 minutes, short paper presentations should be limited to 10 minutes. This is a very hard limit. In addition to the presentation times, after each talk there will be time for some questions and discussion.

Use the break before your session starts to report to your session chair inside the lecture hall and either upload your presentation to the presentation computer or test your own laptop with the projection equipment.

Poster Presentations and Demos

The posters/demo session will take place during the opening reception on the first day of the conference from 18:00 - 19:30. It will be hosted at Reykjavik University's central building. You are expected to set up your posters before the reception starts, that is, anytime between 17:00-18:00. Please go through the main entrance of the central lobby and up the big stairs to the second floor foyer.

Poster stands will be numbered, and your stand will have the same number as your poster in the Technical Program.

The poster stands will fit posters up to size 150cm x 95cm (height x width). Materials to fasten the posters will be available and student volunteers will be there to help. There will also be tables with electricity plugs for those who plan to give a live demo (internet connection will be via Wi-Fi). Please contact the poster/demo chair, Yngvi Bjornsson (yngvi [at] ru [dot] is) asap if you require a demo table.

Co-Located Workshop: Culturally Motivated Virtual Characters

The International Workshop on Culturally Motivated Virtual Characters 2011 takes place at Reykjavik University on September 14th, the day before IVA starts. This is therefore a golden opportunity to attend both events.

Make sure to check out the CMVC 2011 Call for Papers.

The paper submission date for the workshop is July 20th (Note the extension!). You will be able to register for the workshop at the same time you register for IVA. For more information about the workshop, please visit the CMVC 2011 Workshop Website or contact the organizers Asad Nazir (A.Nazir@hw.ac.uk) and Sandy Louchart (Sandy@macs.hw.ac.uk).


Conceptual Frameworks for IVAs

Design and Evaluation of IVAs

Implementation and Applications of IVAs

2011 Special Topic: Language and Culture

Invited Speakers

Dr. Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir (DAY 1)

Svanhildur Óskarsdóttir is Associate Research Professor and Head of the Manuscript department at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies in Reykjavík, Iceland. She gained her first degree in Iceland and pursued further studies at the universities of Toronto, Copenhagen and London where she completed her Ph.D. She was Lecturer in Icelandic at University College London for six years before taking up her current post at the Árni Magnússon Institute. Her published work includes articles on medieval Bible translations and the development of universal history in Iceland, as well as philological studies and textual criticism. She co-edits the complete edition of the works of poet Hallgrímur Pétursson (1614-74) which is under way at the institute, and heads a research project, funded by The Icelandic Research Fund, on the manuscript transmission of Njáls saga. In 2003 she received the RANNÍS Motivation Award for Young Researchers and in 2010 she was awarded the Dag Strömbäck prize by Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien in Uppsala, Sweden.

Touching the Past: The challenge of mediating cultural heritage

The talk introduces the medieval literature of Iceland, principally the so-called Sagas of Icelanders, and discusses its transmission through the centuries and its role in modern nation-building. The talk then focuses on the challenge of mediating this literature in the 21st century while paying due regard to the preconceptions and the needs of the modern reader, but without losing sight of the medieval culture that gave birth to these texts. Icelanders often pride themselves on their ability to read the sagas in unmediated form - but the issue is more complex as the talk endeavours to show.

Dr. Jens Edlund (DAY 2)

After studies of linguistics and computational linguistics in the 90s, Jens Edlund started working with speech technology at Swedish telecom Telia's research department in 1996, working mainly with spoken dialogue systems such as Telia's ATIS system. After a brief spell of similar work at SRI's now-defunct Cambridge branch, he joined KTH Speech, Music and Hearing and the Centre for Speech Technology in Stockholm in 1999, where he has since worked with all aspects of spoken dialogue system research, with a persistent focus on humanlikeness. In recent years, the study of human-human interaction has become an increasingly prominent part of his work.

Talking with humans and with humanlike machines

An illustrated walk-through of visionary goal: to learn enough about human face-to-face interaction that we are able to create an artificial conversational partner that is humanlike. I will present background and motivation for the long-term research goal of creating humanlike spoken dialogue systems together with examples of first steps: examples of humanlike components for human-machine interaction and studies of human-human interaction, with a focus on interactive phenomena at the expense of propositional content and syntactic constructs.

Dr. Srinivas Naryanan (CANCELLED)

Prof. Srini Narayanan is a core faculty member in the Cognitive Science Division and at the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences (ICBS) at the University of California at Berkeley and leads the strongly interdisciplinary ICSI Artificial Intelligence group comprising of computer scientists, linguists, and neuroscientists studying language, computation, and cognition. Prof. Narayanan is a Principal Investigator (PI) on the Neural Theory of Language (NTL) project at ICSI and UC Berkeley. His current research interests include artificial intelligence, natural language understanding, computational biology, semantic search, and information technology for developing regions.

Simulation Semantics: A computational framework for exploring the links between communication, cognition, and action.

The Berkeley/ICSI NTL project is an ongoing attempt to model language behavior in a way that is both cognitively plausible and computationally practical. Work within these projects coupled with a variety of converging evidence from cognitive linguistics, psychology and neuroscience suggests that language understanding involves embodied enactment which we call "simulation semantics". Simulation semantics hypothesizes the mind as "simulating" the external world while functioning in it. The "simulation" takes the best-fitting model of the noisy linguistic input together with general knowledge and makes new inferences to figure out what the input means and to guide response. Monitoring the state of the external world, finding the best-fitting analysis, drawing inferences, and acting jointly constitute a dynamic ongoing interactive process. In terms of language processing, simulation semantics integrates probabilistic dynamic inference with deep semantic analysis based on construction grammar, frame semantics, and cognitive linguistics. This talk reports on a computational realization of the simulation semantics hypothesis and preliminary results on applying the model to vexing problems in language understanding. Based on these results and those from a variety of ongoing imaging and behavioral experiments, I will argue that simulation semantics provides a crucial bridge that ties the multi-disciplinary evidence together to produce new insights into the nature of language.

The GALA 2011 Video Festival

GALA is an annual festival, held in conjunction with IVA, to showcase the latest Animated Lifelike Agents created by university students and academic or industrial research groups. GALA consists of: (a) A final video screening event to demonstrate the state-of-the-art in the technology of virtual humans; (b) The GALA Jury Award for student projects and the GALA Public Award for any entry; (c) The permanent GALA Gallery on the web with the best entries exhibited for further study; and (d) The possibility of a short paper (2 pages) publication in the IVA proceedings.

Please visit the GALA 2011 web site for detailed information about submitting your video!

Special topic: Language and Culture

In 2011 the IVA conference will focus on Language and Culture. This topic will touch on many aspects of Intelligent Virtual Agent theory and application. To name a few areas, we will especially encourage submissions that deal with spoken language interaction with agents, including dialog and story-telling agents. Application areas include language and culture training, heritage preservation and entertainment. Interesting issues include how systems deal with a variety of languages, linguistic and cultural modeling, and cultural differences in human-agent interaction.

Sagas This topic is very appropriate for the Icelandic venue for several reasons: Icelandic is only spoken by 320 thousand people, and therefore the study, preservation and expansion of the language is of great national concern. One of Iceland's greatest cultural heritages is in the form of Sagas written in Icelandic in the 12th century. These chronicles of family life, as well as Viking conquest, started a literary tradition that pervades Icelandic society still today. Iceland publishes far more books per capita every year than any other nation (excluding the Vatican!), a large portion of which are personal histories. Technology is playing an increasing role in the Icelandic linguistic and cultural landscape, especially in the growing creative industry. For example, in 2011 a 3D animated feature movie based on Norse mythology will be released by the Icelandic animation studio Caoz.

The Venue in Iceland

A Nordic island of 320 thousand people, Iceland sits on the Atlantic ridge that divides the American and European continents. Breathtaking natural phenomena ranging from steaming mud pools and geysers, to northern lights and glacial lakes, have inspired artists and scientists here for over 1000 years. The home of several universities, countless museums and galleries, and a world renowned music scene, Iceland offers a unique blend of cosmopolitan life and arctic tranquility.


Campus Iceland's city of Reykjavik is the world's northern most capital of a sovereign state. However, Reykjavik is much warmer than most locations at similar latitude. The average mid-winter temperatures are not significantly lower than those in New York City. In September, we can expect temperatures around 8 °C (46 °F). It is worth noting that all buildings in Reykjavik are heated with geothermal energy.

Reykjavik University Campus

Campus The site we have chosen for IVA 2011 is the Nauthólsvík area, only 20 minute walking distance from Reykjavik downtown. This is the new home of the Reykjavik University campus, and is also the location of one of Reykjavik's largest green parks, highest viewing decks (at Perlan restaurant) and warmest beaches. This is a favorite recreational area for the city inhabitants.

Conference Site

Campus The main conference will take place at the Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura, which is a four star hotel in this area. Shuttles connect the hotel to downtown (could also be walked in 20-30 minutes) and the international airport. The hotel is about 10 minute walk from the heart of the RU campus.

NOTE: During the conference, special IVA buses will connect the conference hotel with the other hotels. Please refer to the updated Useful Information Guide for the bus schedule.

The IVA 2011 Map

You can view the relevant locations on the IVA 2011 Reykjavik Map.

Travel to Iceland

Iceland Traveling to Iceland is very easy and relatively inexpensive. Two Icelandic airlines fly to major destinations in both the US and Europe, including New York, Boston, Seattle, London, Paris, Berlin, Geneva and Barcelona to name a few. One of those airlines is a low-cost carrier (Iceland Express), offering round-trips from New York at approx. 250 EUR and round-trips from London at approx. 130 EUR in the fall. Other airlines include SAS and Delta.

The Keflavik International Airport in Iceland is a 40 minute drive from downtown Reykjavik, but frequent coaches (Flybus) make the trip comfortable and the scenic drive only adds to the experience. The Flybus stops at the BSI Central Bus Station in Reykjavik which is actually quite close to the conference venue. Passengers have the option of taking shuttles all the way to their hotels from the BSI Central Bus Station at a slight extra cost.

Camera-Ready Submission

Strict Deadline: June 24th, 2011 (Midnight GMT)


Carefully revise your camera-ready copy of your paper according to the comments and suggestions of the reviewers. You must also follow the detailed Springer formatting instructions for "Proceedings and Other Multiauthor Volumes"

You must submit the following (in a ZIP file) via the IVA 2011 ConfMaster System by June 24th:

  1. Completed Copyright Form. (Scanned copyright forms or digital signatures are acceptable. One author may sign on behalf of all the authors of a particular paper). The editors of the proceedings are Stefan Kopp, Stacy Marsella, Kristinn Thorisson and Hannes Vilhjalmsson. Please do not send the copyright form directly to Springer.
  2. Source files for your camera-ready paper copy. This should either be based on LaTeX or RTF (We cannot accept DOC or DOCX! For these you should save as RTF). Make sure to check the author instructions for more information.
  3. Final PDF file of your camera-ready copy (for reference).
  4. A text file (TXT) that contains the name, email and phone number of the BEST person to contact during the summer if any formatting issues arise.


Please review the following check-list when preparing your camera-ready copy.


Please remember that at least one author must attend the conference to present your paper. We strongly recommend that you make use of early registration which ends on July 10th


The IVA 2011 conference is soliciting full papers (12 pages), short papers (6 pages), and poster papers (1-2 pages) that cover one or more of the conference topics. Accepted full length papers will receive a slot for oral presentation in the conference. Accepted short papers will be presented orally or, at the discretion of the conference chairs, presented in the poster session. Poster papers will be presented in the poster session.

All submissions are evaluated in a double-blind peer-review process. The reviewers' main criteria for evaluation are originality, relevance, significance, presentation quality, adequate assessment of the state-of-the-art, and overall quality of the contribution. All accepted papers (full, short, poster) will be published by Springer.

Submission Guidelines

Anonymous submissions should be made electronically in PDF format, and prepared following the formatting instructions of Springer: Information for LNCS Authors (see under Proceedings and Other Multiauthor Volumes). For the sake of anonymity, remove any information from your submission that identifies you or any of the other authors, or any of your institutions or places of work. Authors may also submit a companion video (see below).

Submissions are not closed

Companion Video

A companion video can underline qualities of your actual system and provide supplementary information. For each paper submission, we accept one companion video (QuickTime, AVI, WMV file formats, with MPEG or DivX compression) with a maximum length of 5 minutes and a maximum file size of 100 MB. Simply zip or tar the video along with your paper and submit both through ConfMaster. Please make sure that the video does not reveal the identity of the authors.

Demo Session, Journal Publication, Best Paper Award

All authors of accepted papers will be encouraged to give demo in the demo session (details will follow). Selected papers will be invited for re-submission for a special issue of a high-quality journal (details will follow). As every year, a Best Paper Award will be given by a dedicated jury to the most outstanding conference contribution.




For further information send your inquiries to iva2011@ru.is.

Important Dates in 2011

Papers and Posters


The conference secretariat, RS Travel Solutions, has secured rooms at the following hotels in conjunction with the conference. The rooms will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

The special conference room rates are in most cases lower than if booking directly with the hotel. Hotel reservation is handled by the conference secreatariat so please do not contact the hotel directly for booking the secured conference rooms. You should reserve your rooms when you register for the conference. All changes in hotel reservations as well as cancellations are to made with the conference secretariat, RS Travel Solutions, directly by sending an e-mail. The conference secretariat can also be contacted directly if there are any wishes for other accommodation than the conference hotels/guesthouses. Such wishes will be handled on a request-basis.

Room rates at the hotels below are in ISK per night including breakfast buffet. You can use a currency converter to check the rate in your currency

Icelandair Hotel REYKJAVIK NATURA (Venue)

Icelandair Hotel Reykjavik Natura (formerly Hotel Loftleidir) is a 220-room four-star accommodation in Reykjavik, it's located next to one of Reykjavik's only wooded areas, the beautiful and tranquil Oskjuhlid Hill, where the striking landscapes were fashioned during an ice age. Iceland capital only public beach, the geothermal-heated Nautholsvik, lies in a secluded bay just a short walk away, while Reykjavik’s main centre, including many shops, restaurants and museums, are only -15 minutes by foot. We also offer a complementary shuttle bus into town and to Kringlan shopping mall several times a day.

Price in ISK: Single room Double room
Standard room 17.900 23.400

Hotel FRÓN

Hotel Frón is a modern and friendly hotel situated in the heart of Reykjavik on the main shopping street, Laugavegur. The hotel is simple in design yet elegant and structured to suit all guests’ individual needs.Only a few steps away are the centre’s bustling cafés, restaurants, shopping, galleries and theatres. The hotel encompasses a total of 90 rooms on four floors, offering a wide range of accommodation from single and double rooms to studio apartments as well as larger apartments. You are assured of a warm welcome at Hotel Frón in a friendly and a modern hotel right in the heart of Reykjavik’s city centre.

Price in ISK: Single room Double room
Room 15.200 17.800


Hotel Cabin is specially designed for the modern traveller, who likes his Home away-from Home to be completely efficient and with all the modern facilities that makes him feel free and in touch with the rest of the world. And last but not least -for the the best price possible. The Laugardalur recreational area, with its excellent swimming pool and other recreational attractions, is also within walking distance. Hotel Cabin is well-situated at Borgartún and has a beautiful view of the bay nearby.

Price in ISK: Single room Double room
Standard room 9.200 10.400
Deluxe room 11.900 14.800

The standard rooms are quite small as the hotel name “cabin” indicates but have all necessary facilites (phone,TV, private bathroom). The deluxe rooms are considerably bigger and have a bathtub with a shower.

Guesthouse SUNNA

Guesthouse Sunna is a modern, family owned accommodation in a "country hotel style". Well located in the old city center. Across the street from Hallgrims church and the beautiful sculpture garden of The National Einar Jónsson Gallery. Only a few minutes walk away from the busy streets with popular cafes and restaurants, good variety of shops, museums and art galleries. Choose between the comfort of having a private bathroom by booking a room, studio or an apartment, or save money and take a room with shared facilities.

Price in ISK: Single room Double room
Room without private bath 12.100 15.200
Room with private bath 14.800 19.200
Studio with private bath 19.000 23.800

Capital Inn

Capital-Inn offers spacious and newly renovated budget rooms with mostly shared facilities. All rooms have TVs, washbasins and free wireless internet access. Free Wi-Fi internet access avaliable in the whole building. Guests are welcome to use the shared kitchen, which has 2 workstations with stoves, ovens and microwaves and a large fridge. Guests can also make use of the fully equipped laundry facilities. Ironing equipment can be borrowed from the reception.The Capital-Inns lounge has a large flat-screen TV with multiple channels, a DVD player and a surround sound system.The hotel is just a short walk from the Kringlan Shopping Centre and the beach, which has geothermal heated seawater.Guests at Capital-Inn also benefit from complimentary private parking.

Price in ISK: Single room Double room
Room 9.000 11.800
Sleeping bag accommodation in quadruple room (includes linen and breakfast): ISK 5.100 per person

Cancellation and Refund Policy

A written notification of cancellation should be sent to the conference secretariat (letter or e-mail).

Accommodation (if booked through conference secretary) Cancellations made up to 1 week before arrival: full refund less credit card cost if applicable. Cancellations made less than 1 week before arrival: please contact the conference secretariat for details. No-show at hotel: the first night will be charged.

Conference banquet No refund after 10 September.


Conference Chairs

Poster and Demo Chair

Student Volunteering Chair

GALA Chair

Local Conference Secretariat

Senior Program Committee