Dr. Johnathan Mell

The Institute for Creative Technologies
The University of Southern California
12015 Waterfront Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90094-2536
email: johnathanmell@me.com


Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science — University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering, May 2020

Master of Science in Computer Science — University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering, 2019

Bachelor of Science in Economics — University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School, 2013

Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering — University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering and Applied Science, 2013

Research interests: Negotiation, Computational Emotion, Behavioral Game Theory, Immersive Games, Multimedia Games, Social Emotions, Player Modeling, Consumer Analytics


Dr. Johnathan Mell is a specialist in human-computer interaction, negotiation, and artificial intelligence. He works with a number of companies in fields ranging from cryptography to automated manufacturing. His academic research focuses on computational negotiation and designing AIs that act in social ways with humans.

Dr. Mell received his PhD in Computer Science at University of Southern California's Department of Computer Science. He worked with Dr. Jonathan Gratch at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Dr. Mell was part of the ICT emotion group, where he designed more human-like computers for a variety of applications.

His undergraduate work was completed at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor's degrees in Economics (Entrepreneurial Management) from the Wharton School, and in Computer Engineering, from the School of Engineering and Applied Science in 2013. His undergraduate research was focused primarily on psychophysiological channels for game feedback mechanisms and on frustration in games and its effect on mood.

Dr. Mell's graduate research focused on the impact of social features of repeated negotiations with a computer partner. His current work covers favor exchange, cross-cultural features, and temporal effects in an effort to make automated negotiators and emotive and realistic virtual characters. He is also interested in efficient designs for systems that are used by a non-AI "man behind the curtain", called "Wizard of Oz" systems. To investigate these questions, he has developed the IAGO platform, which serves as a framework for creating Virtual Agents that negotiate with humans.

Dr. Mell is published at top conferences including AAMAS, IJCAI, AAAI, IVA, and ACII, and his IAGO platform was a finalist for Best Demonstration at AAMAS 2016. He is a recipient of the USC Merit Top-Off Fellowship, and is a member of AAAI, IEEE, AAAC, ACM, and IGDA. IAGO has been used for five years for the Automated Negotiating Agents Competition (ANAC), on which Johnathan serves as a member of the organizing committee. He has previously worked and continues to work with a number of firms on topics related to software engineering, cybersecurity, and human interfaces, including Disney, Q-Net Security, and Custom Technologies. He intends to continue working at the intersection of business, entertainment, computation, and human interfaces.

Committees, Advisement, and Teaching

  • Program Committee, IVA Conference (since 2019)
  • Reviewer, AAAI (since 2019)
  • Reviewer, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing (since 2019)
  • Reviewer, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (since 2019)
  • Reviewer, HAI (since 2020)
  • Reviewer, VRST (since 2020)
  • Organizing Committee, Automated Negotiating Agents Competition (since 2017)
  • Graduate Advisor, AAAI USC Division (2017)
  • Teaching Assistant, Comp Sci 102 (Intro to Computer Science) (2017)
  • Teaching Assistant, Comp Sci 104 (Data Structures) (2015)
  • Invited Talks

  • Socially-Aware Negotiating Agents for Interdisciplinary CS Research
    Invited Speaker, Northwestern University (March 2020)
  • Socially-Aware Negotiating Agents
    Invited Speaker, University of Central Florida (February 2020)
  • Technology, Emotion, and Negotiation
    Invited Lecture, Washington University in St. Louis (April 2019, April 2020)
  • Human-Agent Negotiation: Challenges and Case Studies
    Invited Speaker, International Workshop on Automated Negotiation (ACAN) 2018
  • Human-Like Agents for Repeated, Social Negotiation
    Invited Speaker, International Workshop on Conflict Resolution in Decision Making (COREDEMA) 2017
  • Publications, organized by date (mostly)