Many of the research topics I am working on are more or less related to the topic of artificial intelligence. The most prominent examples are Mobile Cognitive Assistance Systems or Joint Attention with virtual agents. However, there are also some projects, such as the virtual agent Max himself or work on math text problems, that are primarily located in this field of research.

In 1999, a team of students under the supervision of Stefan Kopp and Prof. Dr. Ipke Wachsmuth gave live to the virtual agent Max. This effort was awarded with the Deutscher Studienpreis (3rd prize) of the Körber Stiftung.

Since 2002, Max is a permanent installation at the hallway of the M4 floor at Bielefeld University (see picture above). He perceives and greets passers-by and is always open for a little chat. This installation has inspired a cooperation with the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum. Since 2004, Max is part of the permanent exhibition at the world's largest museum for computers.

Modern computer-algebra programs are able to solve a wide range of mathematical calculations. However, they are not able to understand and solve math text problems in which the equation is described in terms of natural language instead of mathematical formulas.

Interestingly, there are only few known approaches to solve math word problems algorithmically and most of employ models based on frames. To overcome problems with existing models, we propose a model based on augmented semantic networks to represent the mathematical structure behind word problems.

This model is implemented in our Solver for Mathematical Text Problems (SoMaTePs; available on SourceForge), where the math problem is extracted via natural language processing, transformed in mathematical equations and solved by a state-of-the-art computer-algebra program. SoMaTePs is able to understand and solve mathematical text problems from German primary school books and could be extended to other languages by exchanging the language model in the natural language processing module.

Download the OpenSource SoMaTePs from SourceForge.