Johnathan Mell

The Institute for Creative Technologies
The University of Southern California
12015 Waterfront Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90094-2536


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


Johnathan Mell is a graduate research assistant and PhD student at University of Southern California's Department of Computer Science. He works under the supervision of Jonathan Gratch at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. Johnathan is a part of the ICT emotion group, where he designs 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.

Johnathan’s current research focuses on the impact of social features of repeated negotiations with a computer partner. His 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.

Johnathan is published at 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 student member of AAAI, IEEE, and IGDA. He is a member of the organizing committee for the Automated Negotiating Agents Competition (ANAC). He has previously worked on human interface and training platforms for Disney Engineering, and intends to continue working at the intersection of entertainment, computation, and human interfaces.

Committees, Advisement, and Teaching

  • 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

  • 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 roughly by topic