Sam Spaulding



Bio: Sam Spaulding is a final year PhD student in the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, advised by Cynthia Breazeal. His thesis research has focused on developing and evaluating the underlying technologies for interactive AI learning companions to support early-language and literacy skills, synthesizing insights from machine learning, affective and educational sciences, and interactive media. His research has been published and presented at international conferences including AAAI, HRI, AAMAS, and CogSci and has been recognized by an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a Human-Robot Interaction Pioneers award, and research grants from the Mellon Fund and Sigma Xi scientific society.

Speaker Links: Website - Google Scholar


Social Robots have been shown to promote student learning and engagement through interactions with students as peer-like ‘learning companions’. In this talk, I will discuss research projects introducing lifelong and transferrable models for adaptive student personalization, evaluated within a suite of tablet-based games designed to promote students’ language and literacy skills through interactive play with social robots. By extending personalized modeling to “long-term” and “multi-task” personalized interactions, and expanding the modalities along which personalization occurs, this work contributes both algorithmic and human-centered insights for the future of educational human-robot interactions.

Papers covered during the talk

  • Spaulding, S.,, Shen, J., Park, H., and Breazeal, C. (2021). Towards Transferrable Personalized Student Models in Educational Games. In Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and MultiAgent Systems (AAMAS ‘21). International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, Richland, SC, 1245–1253.
  • Spaulding, S., Shen, J., Park, H., & Breazeal, C. (2021). Lifelong Personalization via Gaussian Process Modeling for Long-Term HRI. Frontiers in Robotics and AI, 8.