An International Journal

Special Issue



Recent work on Intelligent Agents has shown a strong paradigm change in Human-computer Interaction: "direct manipulation" was challenged by "delegation". Such paradigm change has given rise to several metaphors for human/computer interaction in particular the personal assistant metaphor, the intelligent companion, the receptionist, etc. However, to perform tasks on behalf of the user, an agent has to be familiar with his or her habits and preferences and adapt its behavior accordingly.

Furthermore, building embodied life-like characters animated with a set of rich behaviors is an area of research that has grown significantly for the last few years. The impact of these characters is strengthened by the fact that people in general tend to anthropormophize computers (Nass & Reeves) as well as by the richer communication styles that such characters can convey.

The agent metaphor poses a major challenge to research on user modeling since it drastically changes the way humans perceive and interact with a computer. For instance, how to build up a relationship of understanding and trust with the user? How to avoid wrong expectations concerning the competence of human-like agents? And how to design agents that care about the user's experience with a system and are sensitive to his or her needs? To handle these problems, we have to continuously monitor the user's behavior and to use this knowledge to adjust. In organizing this Special Issue, we wish to collect substantiated work in which user modeling is used as a means of achieving more effective Human-Agent interaction.


Papers presenting original contributions pertinent to the mentioned subject area are sought for this special issue. The following is a (non exhaustive) list of the topics of potential interest:


Potential authors are encouraged to contact the guest editors (Elisabeth Andre, email: and Ana Paiva, email: to communicate their intent to submit an article and to discuss suitability of their topics to the special issue. If possible, they should submit a tentative title and short abstract (which can be altered for the actual submission) to enable formation of a panel of appropriate reviewers.

Submissions to the special issue should follow the UMUAI submission instructions, which are obtainable from the Web site:

Electronic submissions are encouraged, although hard-copy submissions are acceptable. Each submission should note that it is intended for the special issue on Intelligent Agents. UMUAI is an archival journal that publishes mature and substantiated research results on the (dynamic) adaptation of computer systems to their human users, and the role that a model of the system about the user plays in this context. Many articles in UMUAI are quite comprehensive and describe the results of several years of work. Consequently, UMUAI gives "unlimited" space to authors (as long as what they write is important).


Papers submitted to the special issue are subject to the normal reviewing process of the journal; they will be reviewed by the guest editor and by two established researchers selected from a panel of reviewers formed for the special issue. Barring unforeseen problems, authors can expect to be notified regarding the review results within two months of submission.


Notification of Intent to Submit: as soon as possible Deadline Date for Submissions: October 15th, 2000 Notification of Acceptance: November 30th, 2000

Please address any questions to the guest editors:

Elisabeth André -
Ana Paiva -

This Call, with updates on the status of the special issue, is also available at: or