CS Advising Bot
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The CSadvisingBot project has a clear goal: to create a virtual assistant to answer frequently asked questions of computer science students at Virginia Tech. Advisors get asked the same questions over and over from students each semester. Most of these questions are not very complex or personalized and can be answered in a few sentences or links to more resources. These questions become a burden on advisors who have to spend their time responding to numerous emails with just a simple response. This project aims to relieve this burden from advisors by providing a service to quickly answer frequently asked questions in advising, computer science, and other frequently asked undergraduate questions. Our Client, Sally Hamouda, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. She proposed we create an online chatbot to help current computer science students, that can answer frequently asked questions related to advising, force add requests, funding, and more. Instead of building the chatbot from scratch, we were told to integrate a chatbot framework like LUIS or IBM Watson as a foundation of the chatbot. We decided to go with IBM Watson which uses artificial intelligence to connect user intents with dialog responses to answer a user's question as it is simple to integrate into any website, and as we hope the chatbot will be integrated into the Virginia Tech Computer Science advising website. We designed the chatbot to be primarily for current students, but it will also answer questions for prospective students, transfer students, graduate students, and parents. This target audience led to the creation of over 50 topics in which our chatbot can respond accurately with useful information.