CS 7944 - Computational Narrative Seminar


The Spring 2018 offering of the Computational Narrative Seminar will focus on reading and discussing papers that support computationally modeling, reasoning about, and generating the character dynamics involved in the Battle of Scarif as depicted in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The Battle of Scarif “was the first major battle fought between the Alliance to Restore the Republic and the Galactic Empire, marking the beginning of the five-year Galactic Civil War.” We will pay special attention to character dynamics involving the adoption, revision, and delegation of character beliefs, desires, and intentions throughout the course of the battle.


Students may enroll for one (1) credit. Although the University lists the course as “variable credit,” the two- and three-credit options are not currently available.


Introduction to computational modeling of narrative structure.

For students with a primary background in computer science: exposure to theories from other disciplines, including: narrative, linguistics, cognitive psychology.

For students with a primary background in design, social science, or the arts: exposure to theoretical concerns of representing and reasoning over narratives in artificial intelligence.

Expected Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this seminar, a student will be able to:

Identify the fundamental issues and debates surrounding the modeling of character dynamics inside story-based virtual environments.

Discuss diverse relevant perspectives to how characters adopt, abandon, revise, and delegate beliefs, desires, and intentions inside stories.

Understand how character behaviors can be generated computationally, and how they can be algorithmically manipulated in the face of other interacting characters and story-based events.




Pass / Fail.


The schedule is subject to change. The official schedule will be kept on the course webpage, and will be updated periodically to reflect changes as the semester progresses. It is the student’s responsibility to check the schedule regularly for changes. The instructor will communicate any changes in deadlines to students in a timely manner via email and/or announcements in class.

Note, it is the student's responsibility to check their official email address at least once daily and to come to class. Failure to do so does not excuse missed deadlines.

Students enrolled in the seminar are expected to read the papers prior to the seminar. Additionally, students are expected to sign up to lead the discussion on one or more seminar meeting. Leading the discussion means:

  1. Choosing a paper and e-mailing the instructors which paper they have chosen to present before Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 at 11:59pm;
  2. Preparing a presentation (15-20 minutes) that summarizes the paper and its pertinent points;
  3. Familiarizing yourself enough with the paper to be able to answer questions that may come up;
  4. Preparing potential discussion points if the discussion needs prompting.

Finally, each student will prepare an annotation of the Battle of Scarif that will serve as the basis for discussion of the computational modeling of the depicted narrative. 

For a weekly breakdown of activities, consult the syllabus.

Class Details

Term: Spring 2018

Location: WBB 206

Date and Time: M / 11:00AM-12:00PM

Instructor: Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, Corrinne Lewis, and R. Michael Young


Canvas Link




Graduate Standing in the School of Computing / Entertainment Arts and Engineering Program, or permission of the instructors.

Note: The focus of the course is interdisciplinary, and we hope to attract students with interest both inside and outside computer science. While the emphasis of this course will be on computational techniques from artificial intelligence, the scope encompasses human-centered theoretical, design, and engineering issues that arise from modeling characters in virtual environments. Thus, the course will benefit from the participation of students with diverse disciplinary traditions.




None. All assigned readings will either be made available by the instructors or by the university library.

Elsewhere on the Web


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Salt Lake City, UT, 84112, USA