Dr. Patrick Gebhard
Campus E1 1
Germany 66123 Saarbrücken

phone: +49 681 302 3191
fax: +49 681 85775 5341

email: patrick(dot)gebhard(at)dfki(dot)de

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From 1992 to 1999 I studied computer science and physics at the Saarland University. Beginning with the year 1997, I was engaged as a student researcher in the REAL project of the Special Collaboration Programme 378 - Resource Adaptive Cognitive Processes (Sonderforschungsbereich "Ressourcenadaptive kognitive Prozesse"). I finished my studies in the year 1999. Since then, I am employed at the DFKI as a researcher for intelligent user interfaces. With the beginning of 2007 I am involved at the chair of Prof. Wahlster as a tutor assistant. In 2007 I finished my doctoral thesis about a computational model of affect that integrates the most common emotional phenomena, which can be observed in humans.
My recent research activities comprise further investigations in the area of affective computing and in building tools for modeling the interactive behavior of emotional virtual characters in serious computer games and educational applications. I currently pursue these efforts in the ongoing BMBF project EmpaT (in German).

Research Interests


Modeling of Affect

My vision of a model of affect is that it integrates the most common affect types, which can be observed in human beings. Those are (1) long-term personality, (2) medium-term mood and (3) short-term emotions. In my PhD work I have conceptually designed and implemented the computational model of affect ALMA that integrates these three affect types.

One major challenge is a consistent simulation of interconnections between those affective phenomena in order to achieve a human-like affect management. Besides this, it has to be investigated how affect emerges in humans in general. Relying on a cognitive approach for appraising communicative acts which is used for the elicitation of affect, the proposed computational model of affect is deployed in virtual characters in order to enhance their overall believability.

The real-time computational model ALMA is explicitly designed to be used as a major control mechanism (like affect is for human beings) for virtual characters that influence behavior on various layers, like e.g. the body layer (gestures and posture) or the deliberative layer (cognitive processes, e.g. decision making, selection of communicative strategies, ...).

ALMA is freely available for research and educational purposes.

Modeling Interaction with Virtual Characters

Making the interaction between humans and virtual characters as natural as possible is hard work. One aspect that draws my research interest is the exchange of affective and social values during a dialog.

In order to investigate communicative styles and the appearance of a Virtual Character's behavior, we rely on the SceneMaker tool. It supports non-computer experts with the creation of complex compelling dialog and interaction behavior, as well as it supports the modeling of autonomous behavioral aspects. The realization of SceneMaker authoring and execution platform is a joint work between DFKI and the Lab of Human Centered Multimedia.

SceneMaker is freely available for research and educational purposes.


  • EmpaT (in German) (2015-2018). Job interviews might be perceived as a difficult situation. In the EmpaT project we investigate how an interactive job training avatar can be employed in order to practice such situations. Therefore, we combine uniquely a multi dimensional real-time affect model with a real-time social signal interpretation framework in a 3d learning world. The goal is to reduce stress in job minterview situations for both, the job applicants and the job interviewer.
  • TARDIS (2011-2014). In TARDIS a scenario-based serious-game simulation platform is created through which young people at risk of exclusion can practice repeatedly and improve their social skills. They will interact with virtual agents, acting as recruiters in job interviews scenarios, who are designed to deliver realistic socio-emotional interaction. Such agents constitute credible yet tireless interlocutors, allowing young people to explore and improve their interaction skills without the risk of real-life failure.
  • INTAKT (2008-2011). In this project a general-purpose technology is explored, which allows information systems to expand to an emotionally intelligent, visual contact. The "Ambient Intelligence" is upgraded to "Ambient Personality" to gain a greater acceptance and usability of electronic systems and adding a human touch.
  • SemProM (2008-2011). Products keep a diary: smart labels give products a memory and support intelligent logistics. Within the IKT-2020 research program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research the Innovation Alliance Digital Product Memory (DPM) is developing key technologies for the Internet of Things in the cooperative project SemProM.
  • IDEAS4Games (2007). This EU-funded project (ProFIT, EFRE) investigates how current AI research outcomes can be used to improve dialog based computer games with Virtual Characters. We rely on real-time computational models of affect and expressive speech synthesis modules as well as new methods of creating and maintaining interaction and dialog.
  • CoHibit (2005-2007). This DFKI inhouse research project investigates the simulation of communication concepts and strategies by virtual humans that "live" in an edutainment exhibit.
  • VirtualHuman (2003-2006). This BMBF research project investigates concepts and techniques for virtual human characters with human-like communication skills. Virtual humans serve as dialog partners for real humans.
  • Crosstalk (2002-2004). The aim of this DFKI inhouse project is to create an interactive infotainment installation for public spaces using multiple Lifelike Characters.
  • SAFIRA (2000-2002). This EU-funded project aim is the development of a software framework that supports the design real-time affective interactive applications with Lifelike Characters.
  • PRESENCE (1999-2001). This DFKI inhouse project has the objective to investigate the use of affective models to control the general behaviour of a Lifelike Character dialogue system with regard to create a more believeable human-machine communication.

Research Community Activities

Journals - Manuscript Reviewer

Conferences - Paper Reviewer/Others





  • Master thesis Modeling and Interpretation of Parallel Processes in Interactive Virtual Characters Environments (working title)
    Student: Gregor Mehlmann, WS 2008/2009 - SS 2009
  • Bachelor thesis Ontology-based Modeling of Interaction and Dialog Skills for Virtual Characters within the SceneMaker Authoring Toolkit
    Student: Markus Dräger, WS 2008/2009
  • Bachelor thesis Interaktion mit Hilfe von Alltagsgegenständen durch visuelle Erkennung
    Student: Torsten Spieldenner, WS 2008/2009
  • Bachelor thesis (in collaboration with FH Birkenfeld) 3D-Modellierung eines Virtuellen Bar-Mixers
    Student: Stefan Golhke, WS 2008/2009
  • Diploma thesis Multispektrale Evaluation des VirtualConstructor-Exponats in der Autostadt
    Student: Susanne Karsten, WS 2008/2009
  • Bachelor thesis Kontrolle von Ablauf und Interaktion in modernem Spiele-Design
    Student: Susanne Becker, WS 2007
  • Diploma thesis SceneMaker - Implementation eines Autorensystems für interaktive Anwendungen mit Virtuellen Charakteren
    Student: Thomas Schleiff, 2005
  • Fopra thesis Bildbasisgenerator - Automatische Generierung von Eingabedateien für den Personaplayer
    Student: Thomas Schleiff, 2003




  • Patrick Gebhard, Tobias Baur, Ionut Damian, Gregor Mehlmann, Johannes Wagner, Elisabeth André Exploring Interaction Strategies for Virtual Characters to Induce Stress in Simulated Job Interviews , Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS2014), Paris, France; 05/2014.


  • Ionut Damian, Tobias Baur, Patrick Gebhard, Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, Elisabeth André: The TARDIS framework: intelligent virtual agents for social coaching in job interviews, 10th International Conference on Advances in Computer Entertainment Technology, Twente, Netherlands; 11/2013
  • Tobias Baur, Ionut Damian, Patrick Gebhard, Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, Elisabeth André: A Job Interview Simulation: Social Cue-based Interaction with a Virtual Character, IEEE/ASE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom 2013), Washington D.C, USA; 09/2013
  • Ionut Damian, Tobias Baur, Patrick Gebhard, Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, Elisabeth André: A Software Framework for Social Cue-Based Interaction with a Virtual Recruiter.13th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2013), Edinburgh, UK,; 08/2013
  • Keith Anderson, Elisabeth André, Tobias Baur, Sarah Bernardini, Mathieu Chollet, Evi Chryssafidou, Ionut Damian, Cathy Ennis, Arjan Egges, Patrick Gebhard, Hazael Jones, Magalie Ochs, Catherine Pelachaud, Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, Paola Rizzo and Nicolas Sabouret: The TARDIS framework: intelligent virtual agents for social coaching in job interviews.. /li> Advances in Computer Entertainment (ACE'13), November 2013, Enschede , Netherlands, 2013


  • Patrick Gebhard, Gregor Mehlmann, Michael Kipp: Visual SceneMaker - a tool for authoring interactive virtual characters. Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces 6 (1-2), 3-11, Springer, 2012
  • Michael Kipp, Thomas Dackweiler, Patrick Gebhard: Designing Emotions - An Empirical Approach to Realistic Affect Simulation. KI 25(3): 205-211 (2011)
  • Michael Schneider, Alexander Kröner, Patrick Gebhard, Boris Brandherm Digital Object Memories in the Internet of Things. In: Germán Montoro-Manrique, Pablo Haya-Coll, Dirk Schnelle-Walka (eds.): CEPIS UPGRADE volume 12 number 1, Pages 45-51, CEPIS, 2/2011
  • Alexander Kröner, Patrick Gebhard, Boris Brandherm, Benjamin Weyl, Jörg Preißinger, Carsten Magerkurth, Selcuk Anilmis: Personal Shopping Support From Digital Product Memories. In: Proceedings of the 1st International Conference on Pervasive and Embedded Computing and Communication Systems, Pages 64-73, Vilamoura, Portugal, SciTePress, INSTICC, 2011
  • Wolfgang Wahlster, Michael Feld, Patrick Gebhard, Dominikus Heckmann, Ralf Jung, Michael Kruppa, Michael Schmitz, Lübomira Spassova, Rainer Wasinger: The Shopping Experience of Tomorrow: Human-Centered and Resource-Adaptive. In: Matthew Crocker, Jörg Siekmann (eds.): Resource-Adaptive Cognitive Processes, Cognitive Technologies, Pages 205-237, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, 2010
  • Michael Kipp, Alexis Heloir, Marc Schröder, Patrick Gebhard: Realizing Multimodal Behavior - Closing the Gap between Behavior Planning and Embodied Agent Presentation. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA'10), pp. 57-63
  • Patrick Gebhard and Susanne Karsten: On-Site Evaluation of the Interactive COHIBIT Museum Exhibit. In: Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA'09)
  • Alexander Kröner, Patrick Gebhard, Lübomira Spassova, Gerrit Kahl, and Michael Schmitz: Informing Customers by Means of Digital Product Memories. In: Workshop Proceedings of the Intelligent Environment (IE) conference
  • Nikolaus Bee, Elisabeth André, Thurid Vogt, Patrick Gebhard: First ideas on the use of affective cues in an empathic computer-based companion. In: Proceedings of 8th Int. Conf. on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2009).
  • Marc Schröder, Patrick Gebhard, Marcela Charfuelan, Christoph Endres, Michael Kipp, Sathish Pammi, Martin Rumpler, and Oytun Türk
    Enhancing Animated Agents in an Instrumented Poker Game. In: Proceedings of the 31st International Conference on Künstliche Intelligenz 2008 (KI08), LNAI 5243, Springer, pp. 316-323). 2008.
  • Kipp, M., Gebhard, P.
    IGaze: Studying reactive gaze behavior in semi-immersive human-avatar interactions. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA08), LNAI 5208, Springer, pp. 191-199, 2008.
  • Patrick Gebhard, Marc Schröder, Marcela Charfuelan, Christoph Endres, Michael Kipp, Sathish Pammi, Martin Rumpler, and Oytun Türk
    IDEAS4Games: Building Expressive Virtual Characters for Computer Games (pdf, 2 MB, 14 pages, English)
    In: Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA'08), Lnai 5208, Springer, pp. 426-440, 2008.
  • Patrick Gebhard
    Emotionalisierung interaktiver Virtueller Charaktere - Ein mehrschichtiges Computermodell zur Erzeugung und Simulation von Gefühlen in Echtzeit, Dissertation, Lehrstuhl Prof. Wahlster, Saarland University, 2007
  • Martin Klesen and Patrick Gebhard
    Affective Multimodal Control of Virtual Characters
    In: International Journal of Virtual Reality 6(4):43-53, 2007
  • Alassane Ndiaye, Patrick Gebhard, Michael Kipp, Martin Klesen, Michael Schneider, Wolfgang Wahlster
    Ambient Intelligence in Edutainment: Tangible Interaction with Life-Like Exhibit Guides
    In: Proc. of the Conference on INtelligent TEchnologies for interactive enterTAINment (INTETAIN'05), Madonna di Campiglio, Italy, November 30 - December 02, 2005.
  • Patrick Gebhard
    ALMA - A Layered Model of Affect (pdf, 761 KB, 8 pages, English)
    In: Proceedings of the Fourth International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS'05), 29-36, Utrecht, 2005.
  • Yasmine Arafa, Luis Botelho, Adrian Bullock, Pedro Figueiredo, Patrick Gebhard, Kristina Höök, Abe Mamdani, Ana Paiva, Paolo Petta, Phoebe Sengers, Marco Vala
    Affective Interactions for in Real-time Applications: the SAFIRA Project
    In: Special issue of KI-Journal: Embodied Conversational Agents, KI 1/04, 2004.
  • Thomas Rist, Elisabeth André, Stephan Baldes, Patrick Gebhard, Martin Klesen, Michael Kipp, Peter Rist, Markus Schmitt
    A Review on the Development of Embodied Presentation Agents and their Application Fields
    In: Life-like Characters. Tools, Affective Functions and Applications, Cognitive Technologies Series, Springer-Verlag, 2003.
  • Patrick Gebhard, Michael Kipp, Martin Klesen, Thomas Rist
    Authoring Scenes for Adaptive, Interactive Performances (pdf, 390 KB, 7 pages, English)
    In: Proceedings of the Second International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS'03), Melburne, 2003.
  • Stephan Baldes, Patrick Gebhard, Michael Kipp, Martin Klesen, Peter Rist, Thomas Rist, Markus Schmitt
    The Interactive CrossTalk Installation: Meta-Theater with Animated Presentation Agents (pdf, 1.15 MB, 7 pages, English)
    In: Proc. of the International Workshop on Lifelike Animated Agents - Tools, Affective Functions, and Applications, held in conjunction with the Seventh Pacific Rim International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (PRICAI'02), Tokyo, 2002.
  • Elisabeth André, Martin Klesen, Patrick Gebhard, Steve Allen, and Thomas Rist
    Integrating Models of Personality and Emotions into Lifelike Characters (pdf, 2057 KB, 15 pages, English)
    In: A. Paiva and C. Martinho (eds.), Proceedings of the workshop on Affect in Interactions - Towards a new Generation of Interfaces in conjunction with the 3rd i3 Annual Conference, pp. 136-149, Siena, Italy, October 1999.


  • Lecture section Animierte Agenten und ihre Anwendung of the information and project engineering course at BA-Mannheim, November 2001 (zip(pdf), 7856 KB, 69 pages, German)
    Addon: An example how to integrate ms agents characters on html pages (5 KB, needs ieplorer 5.x, javasctipt 6.0, msagent technology)

Talks and Videos

  • Video presenting concepts, technology, and a poker demonstrator employing Emotional Virtual Characters which have been realized by the IDEAS4Games project, 2008 (mp4, 77 MB, 2:18 min, German with English subtitles)
Last change 12.5.2015