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USC researcher joins scientific advisory panel

Jacquelyn Ford Morie, a senior research scientist at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), has been named to the Information Science and Technology (ISAT) group, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) advisory panel with a charter that includes identifying opportunities for developing new computer or communication technologies and recommending areas for research.

ISAT studies are noted to have a rich history of impact both inside DARPA and in the larger technical community.

Morie, a leading researcher in the uses and effects of virtual worlds and avatars, joins a select group of about 30 scientists who each serve for three-year terms.

“Jacki brings a unique combination of areas of expertise to ISAT, and her contributions as an invited participant in previous studies were extremely valuable,” said Richard Murray, the current group chair and professor of control and dynamical systems and bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology. “We are very pleased that she is willing to help contribute her time and energy to ISAT.”

Other members come from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley. Previous USC representatives include Paul Rosenbloom, project director at ICT and professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and Herb Schorr, vice dean for engineering and director of the newly formed Program on Informatics at USC Viterbi.

“Joining the ISAT group is an exciting opportunity to hang out with incredible visionaries and to be at the forefront of imagining the future,” Morie said.

At ICT, Morie’s work explores the potential of virtual worlds to address real-world needs and bring about positive change in participants who use them. Current projects include Coming Home, which implements ICT’s intelligent virtual humans within a specialized online virtual world for the benefit of post-deployment soldiers who are reintegrating to civilian life.

Morie holds master’s degrees in fine arts and computer science from the University of Florida. She earned her doctorate in computer information from the University of East London. Her dissertation focused on theories of space, embodiment and meaning in immersive virtual environments.

USC researcher joins scientific advisory panel

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