Kalpani Anuradha Welivita

Postdoctoral Researcher
School of Computer and Communication Sciences
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

Postal Address
BC 144 (Bâtiment BC)
Station 14, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland

Tel: +41 21 69 31203
Email: kalpani dot welivita at epfl dot ch

Research Interests

Dialogue Response Generation, Emotion Recognition, Natural Language Processing, Data Mining, Machine Learning, Human Computation, Human Computer Interaction, Experiment Design, User Experience Research

About My Research

My research lies mainly in the area of developing empathetic conversational agents. I analyze human-human conversations to discover strategies used by humans to empathize with others and utilize them in developing neuro-symbolic empathetic response generation models. My work also involved investigating psychotherapeutic discourse to embed empathetic chatbots with distress consolation and therapeutic capabilities. Recently, I’ve been looking at designing human experiments to evaluate the empathetic capabilities of Large Language Models when responding to diverse emotions. 


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science. School of Computer and Communication Sciences, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). 2018 – 2023.
  • B.S. in Engineering. Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. 2013 – 2017


  • Anuradha Welivita, and Pearl Pu, Boosting Distress Support Dialogue Responses with Motivational Interviewing Strategy, In Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL). [access]
  • Anuradha Welivita, Chun-Hung Yeh, and Pearl Pu, Empathetic Response Generation for Distress Support, In the 24th Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue (SIGDIAL). [access]
  • Anuradha Welivita and Pearl Pu, A survey of consumer health question answering systems, AI Magazine. [access]
  • Anuradha Welivita and Pearl Pu, Curating a Large‑Scale Motivational Interviewing Dataset Using Peer Support Forums, in Proceedings of the 29th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING). [access]
  • Ekaterina Svikhnushina, Iuliana Voinea, Anuradha Welivita, and Pearl Pu. A Taxonomy of Empathetic Questions in Social Dialogs. In Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics, 2022. [access]
  • Anuradha Welivita and Pearl Pu. HEAL: A Knowledge Graph for Distress Management Conversations. In Proceedings of the 36th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2021. [introduction video] [full video] [poster]
  • Anuradha Welivita, Yubo Xie, and Pearl Pu. A Large-Scale Dataset for Empathetic Response Generation. In Proceedings of the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP), 2021. [access] [video]
  • Anuradha Welivita and Pearl Pu. A Taxonomy of Empathetic Response Intents in Human Social Conversations. In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Computational Linguistics (COLING), 2020. [access]