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Karla Conn WelchDr. Karla C. Welch is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Louisville. Her research interests include human-machine interaction, adaptive response technologies, machine learning, robotics, engineering education, and physiological signal processing. Dr. Welch has published papers on reinforcement learning as well as the evaluation of affective, or emotional, responses during adaptive machine interactions between a computer or robot and teenagers with and without autism. Her cross-disciplinary research examines how bodily responses, e.g. heart rate and skin temperature, change based on changes during interactions with computers and robots. She has presented her work at engineering conferences and psychology conferences. The research has also been featured on National Public Radio, the Today Show, and research news websites (ScienceDaily, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News). Dr. Welch earned her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kentucky and received her M.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Vanderbilt University. To complete her doctoral studies, she was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Selected Publications:

  • Karla Conn Welch, Uttama Lahiri, Changchun Liu, Rebecca Weller, Nilanjan Sarkar, and Zachary Warren. An Affect-sensitive Social Interaction Paradigm utilizing Virtual Reality Environments for Autism Intervention. In Proc. of the 13th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCII 2009), San Diego, California, July 2009. (Paper presenter)
  • Karla Conn Welch, Zachary Warren, Changchun Liu, Nilanjan Sarkar, and Wendy Stone. Adaptive Robotic Techniques in Children with Autism: Strategies for Utilizing Physiological Data to Optimize Engagement during Computer-Based Interactions. In International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR 2009), Chicago, Illinois, May 2009. (Poster presenter)
  • Karla Conn Welch. Perceptions of an Introductory Tutorial on Mathematica Software as an Addition to an Engineering Circuits Course. In CIRTL-Vanderbilt Symposium, Nashville, Tennessee, January 2009. (Poster presenter, Winner: Best Poster Award)
  • Changchun Liu, Karla Conn, Nilanjan Sarkar, and Wendy Stone. Online Affect Detection and Robot Behavior Adaptation for Intervention of Children with Autism. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, Vol. 24, Issue 4, pp. 883-896, 2008.
  • Karla Conn, Changchun Liu, Nilanjan Sarkar, Wendy Stone, and Zack Warren. Towards affect-sensitive assistive intervention technologies for children with autism. Affective Computing: Focus on Emotion Expression, Synthesis and Recognition. Jimmy Or, (Ed.), Vienna, Austria: I-Tech, 2008.
  • Karla Conn and Richard Alan Peters, II. Reinforcement learning with a supervisor for a mobile robot in a real-world environment. In Proc. of IEEE Intl. Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Robotics and Automation (CIRA), Jacksonville, Florida, pp. 73-78, June 2007. (Paper presenter)

Contact Information:

Karla C. Welch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
University of Louisville
448 Lutz Hall, Louisville, KY 40292
Office: (502) 852-3622

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