Brown Bag Lunch Schedule: Difference between revisions

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(Added Prof. Caro Willams-Pierce's event on October 17. Also updated the BBL coordinators for this semester)
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The HCIL has an open, semi-organized weekly "Brown Bag Lunch (BBL)" every <span style='color:green; font-weight:800'>Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm in HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)</span>.  The topics range from someone's work, current interests in the HCIL, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics, introductions to new people, etc. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together--thus, it’s a unique time for HCIL members with unique opportunities to help build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together. There is no RSVP; simply show up!  
The HCIL has an open, semi-organized weekly "Brown Bag Lunch (BBL)" every <span style='color:green; font-weight:800'>Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm in HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)</span>.  The topics range from someone's work, current interests in the HCIL, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics, introductions to new people, etc. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together--thus, it’s a unique time for HCIL members with unique opportunities to help build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together. There is no RSVP; simply show up!  

If you would like to give or suggest a talk, presentation, workshop, etc., send an email to BBL student co-coordinators '''Aashrey Sharma (''' or '''Aravind JR ('''. In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.
If you would like to give or suggest a talk, presentation, workshop, etc., send an email to BBL student co-coordinators '''Teja Maddali (''' or '''Aravind JR ('''. In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

To be notified about upcoming events, please subscribe to one of [[BBL mailing lists|these mailing lists]].  
To be notified about upcoming events, please subscribe to one of [[BBL mailing lists|these mailing lists]].  
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<b>Prof. Caro Williams-Pierce</b> University of Maryland
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<b> TBA</b>
<b>Designing for Mathematical Play: Failure and Feedback</b>
Prof. Caro will share her analysis of three types of microworld (videogame, simulation, and cognitive tutor), and how each constrain and afford mathematical play differently through their feedback and failure mechanisms. In doing so, she will also introduce her framework for youth and adult mathematical play, and describe how different design approaches influence different ways of mathematical learning. Anyone interested in designing digital learning environments is particularly encouraged to come - Prof. Caro promises that it'll be interesting even if you don't research math learning!
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Revision as of 01:18, 11 September 2019

The HCIL has an open, semi-organized weekly "Brown Bag Lunch (BBL)" every Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm in HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing). The topics range from someone's work, current interests in the HCIL, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics, introductions to new people, etc. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together--thus, it’s a unique time for HCIL members with unique opportunities to help build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together. There is no RSVP; simply show up!

If you would like to give or suggest a talk, presentation, workshop, etc., send an email to BBL student co-coordinators Teja Maddali ( or Aravind JR ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

To be notified about upcoming events, please subscribe to one of these mailing lists.

Spring 2019 Schedule

Date Leader Topic


HCIL Website Hack-a-thon.
We are kick starting this semester's BBL with a Hack-a-thon event. You will be tasked to update the HCIL website by checking for broken links, updating faculty information, checking for spelling and grammar errors and also improving the accessibility of the images in the website.


Prof. Jun-Dong Cho Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

Celestial: Color Patterns for improving Color Perception for blind people.
It is relatively difficult to recreate the abstract three-dimensional shape with only the tactile sense. Gibson said "These abilities can be improved through practice." "When you touch something, You may have no idea about it at first touch, but as you continue touching, you soon will know vaguely what it is" , Kojiro Hirose said.

Recently, we developed "Blind-touch" to aid the visually impaired to appreciate greater painter’s work of art. This work is a reproduction of an existing masterpiece by means of a 3D printer and haptic electronics. It recognizes the pattern by touching the object in the artwork with a fingertip, and voice explanation and sound effect are provided through the voice user interface. Color is an equaling lens through which we experience the natural and digital realities. Now, we are exploring the tactile-color association based on semiotics to represent colors with fingertip tactile sensation. In this way, audio and touch contribute information to the non-visual perception of color in an complementary manner. In this talk, we review the related works and introduce a so-called “Celestial color tactile pattern” built based on the concept of both pictogram and ideogram and its variants.


Prof. Niklas Elmqvist, Prof. Amanda Lazar, and Prof. Joel Chan University of Maryland

A panel discussion on approaches to reviewing research papers Description.
In light of the approaching deadline for SIGCHI 2020, Professors Niklas Elmqvist, Amanda Lazar, and Joel Chan will discuss the why/how of giving feedback on drafts of research papers. This would be helpful for anyone (Undergrad, Masters, or PhD students) who might be thinking of volunteering to review for conferences, ACM SIGCHI, or even for other lab members in the HCIL’s very own CHI clinic. Reviewers of all levels of expertise, even if you’ve never reviewed a research paper, are encouraged to participate and ask questions during the discussion.














Prof. Caro Williams-Pierce University of Maryland

Designing for Mathematical Play: Failure and Feedback
Prof. Caro will share her analysis of three types of microworld (videogame, simulation, and cognitive tutor), and how each constrain and afford mathematical play differently through their feedback and failure mechanisms. In doing so, she will also introduce her framework for youth and adult mathematical play, and describe how different design approaches influence different ways of mathematical learning. Anyone interested in designing digital learning environments is particularly encouraged to come - Prof. Caro promises that it'll be interesting even if you don't research math learning!


Karen Holtzblatt Incontext Design















Happy Thanksgiving Day

No BBL. Time to catch up with families and friends :)







Spring 2019 Schedule

Date Leader Topic

Faculty Only BBL

Regular BBLs will start from 7th Feb, 2019.


Faez Ahmed, University of Maryland

Design Democratization in the Age of Machine Learning.
Design democratization can transform the way we think about designing products. However, to enable design democratization, we need machine learning and computing methods to enable organizations to process a large amount of information efficiently. Using the example of online design contests, we will discuss three problems which organizations face in conducting design contests: a) How does one form teams to evaluate design ideas? b) How does one filter high quality and diverse ideas out of hundreds of submissions? and c) How does one reliably measure the creativity of ideas? We will discuss how matching, ranking, and novelty estimation methods developed in our work address these issues and what challenges remain for the field.


Huaishu Peng, University of Maryland

Interactive Fabrication and Fabrication for Interaction.
3D printing technology has been widely applied to produce well-designed objects. There is a hope to make both the modeling process and printing outputs more interactive, so that designers can get in-situ tangible feedback to fabricate objects with rich functionalities. To date, however, knowledge accumulated to realize this hope remains limited. In this talk, I will present two lines of research. The first line of work aims at facilitating an interactive process of fabrication. I demonstrate novel interactive fabrication systems that allow the designer to create 3D models in AR with a robotic arm to print the model in real time and on-site. The second line of work concerns the fabrication of 3D printed objects that are interactive. I report new techniques for 3D printing with novel materials such as fabric sheet, and how to print one-off functional objects such as sensor and motor. I will conclude the talk by outlining future research directions built upon my current work.


Niklas Elmqvist University of Maryland

Everyone a Data Scientist: Empowering Casual Users to Understand Complex Data.
Understanding data is quickly becoming the new digital divide. Merely having access to information and communication technologies (ICTs) is no longer sufficient when our society is overflowing with massive volumes of raw, complex, and heterogeneous data. Since best-practice data science workflows are still only available through esoteric software libraries, typically accessed using the Python and R languages, leveraging this data to its full potential often requires significant programming expertise. Even commercial point-and-click analytics tools such as Tableau, Spotfire, and QlikView require training and assume significant prior knowledge of mathematical, statistical, and sometimes even machine learning concepts. This means that currently only people who have the appropriate data and technology literacy can harness the ready availability of data in our society.

In this work-in-progress talk, I will discuss our efforts for shrinking or outright eliminating this new digital data divide through interactive visualization, explainable machine learning, and collaborative technologies. More specifically, I will talk about several past, current, or planned projects on this topic, including (1) the use of mixed-initiative interaction, which combines both human and computational efforts in the analytical process; (2) the use of attention for computational steering; (3) recommender systems for automatically suggesting the next analytical step in a workflow; (4) direct manipulation methods for interacting with machine learning models; and (5) "team-first" collaborative mechanisms that reduce the barrier to synchronizing and sharing work to facilitate emergent collaboration. This is ongoing research, so your feedback on these efforts is welcome.



Research Speed Dating
This week everyone is a speaker. We want everyone to talk about what is keeping you busy these days. This is a great way to recruiting participants, get feedback on your research questions, your data collection methods or anything concerning your research. We want you to share your research to the rest of HCIL group.

Faculty members, Ph.D. students, Masters students, and Bachelors students, we strongly encourage you to share your work so that everyone is aware of what’s happening inside HCIL.

03/07/2019 HCIL Spring Cleaning
Join and help spruce up the HCIL and be a part of a larger conversation of what the lab space should look like. We start at noon (12 pm) and there is free food for anyone who joins!

Stories from the HCIL

Come and tell your favorite stories about the HCIL and the iSchool in this new format that we're trying for the BBL. It's like a casual fireside chat where you get to learn about the rich history of the HCIL from the people who know it best! And there is pizza, of course.

03/21/2019 No Brown Bag, Spring Break.
03/28/2019 HCIL Symposium Practice Talks
All speakers are invited to come rehearse their talk. Please shoot an email to the BBL coordinators and add your name to the schedule: HERE.
04/04/2019 HCIL Symposium In Session
No BBL, instead we encourage you to join us at the HCIL Symposium.

Wayne Lutters, University of Maryland

Supporting service work in information infrastructure
An introduction to Wayne’s lab via a high-level overview of some key historical projects and an active discussion of what we are wrestling with this particular week – representing maps of belief space (w/ Phil Feldman).


Zheng Yao, Carnegie Mellon University

Join, Stay or Go? Members’ Life Cycles in Online Health Communities
This talk discusses temporal changes in members’ participation in online health community (OHC), focusing on their motivations for joining and changes in their motivations as they transition to other roles or ultimately leave the community. We use mixed methods, combining behavioral log analysis, automated content analysis, surveys and interviews. We found that members started participating in OHCs for a common set of reasons, mainly to acquire support and to perform social comparisons. When their need for support decreased, most members quit the site. The motivations of those who stayed shifted to providing support and helping other members in the community. Oldtimers also established social ties with others members, which motivated them to stay in the community. These oldtimers, who contributed the majority of content, encountered challenges that threatened their commitment to the community, including negative emotion related to other members’ deaths. These challenges led them to take leaves of absence from the community or to drop out permanently. Our findings shed light on the changing motivations of OHC members, which provide implications for better designing OHCs.



 Aravind will run a workshop on how to make PDF documents accessible

Yue Jiang, University of Maryland, College Park

ORC Layout: Adaptive GUI Layout with OR-Constraints

We propose a novel approach for constraint-based graphical user interface (GUI) layout based on OR-constraints (ORC) in standard soft/hard linear constraint systems. ORC layout unifies grid layout and flow layout, supporting both their features as well as cases where grid and flow layouts individually fail. We describe ORC design patterns that enable designers to safely create flexible layouts that work across different screen sizes and orientations. We also present the ORC Editor, a GUI editor that enables designers to apply ORC in a safe and effective manner, mixing grid, flow and new ORC layout features as appropriate. We demonstrate that our prototype can adapt layouts to screens with different aspect ratios with only a single layout specification, easing the burden of GUI maintenance. Finally, we show that ORC specifications can be modified interactively and solved efficiently at runtime.




Note: CHI 2019 will be in session during this time. Everyone is still invited, but many people might be away for the conference.


Adil Yalcin, Founder and CEO at Keshif

It's all about creating new possibilities for people: A journey from the lab to a startup

One of the most valuable parts of the DNA of HCIL is its focus on "human", and how our mentors guide us to connect our work with people (users). As a student of this school of thought, I had found my purpose to help the 95% by identifying, questioning, and removing barriers (creating opportunities) in visual analytics. Two years ago, with results baked in lab, and the same driving purpose, I stepped into a world unknown to me: creating, running, and growing a business, one customer at a time.

I am back to share some of the surprises, new perspectives, and validations from this journey so far. What I missed can help you realize the opportunities you already have. What I wish I knew may reveal some gaps. And, what remained constant may hint that research in university and what comes after may not be so different after all. I also will touch on the subtle and dynamic balance between your elevator pitch, your audience, the value you provide, and crossing the finish line.




Note: This slot may be cancelled since it is right at this end of the semester.

Fall 2018 Schedule

Date Leader Topic

Student Townhall

Instead of the regular BBL, there will be an internal HCIL-students-only townhall meeting instead.



BBL Student Co-coordinators

Come, network, make introductions, and share what you are working on.


Joel Chan, Tammy Clegg
University of Maryland, College Park




Joel Zhang
University of Maryland, College Park

Research proposal centered around pain tracking and sharing.


03/22/2017 No Brown Bag, Cancelled.

Brian Ondov, Sriram Karthik Badam
University of Maryland, College Park

Brian’s paper talks about Evaluating Visual Comparison and seeks to understand how different encodings of data can drastically affect how we perceive quantities. More information about this project is available at

Karthik’s paper is about a computing platform called Vistrates which seeks to unify the fragmented analytical workflows employed by users to analyze a group of visualizations created in different tools.



Polly Lee O'Rourke
University of Maryland, College Park

Improving language learning using brain simulation.



Andrea Batch
University of Maryland, College Park

Information Olfactation: Harnessing Scent to Convey Data
Olfactory feedback for analytical tasks is a virtually unexplored area in spite of the advantages it offers for information recall, feature identification, and location detection. We have introduced the concept of information olfactation as the fragrant sibling of information visualization, and this talk will cover our theoretical model of how scent can be used to convey data. Building on a review of the human olfactory system and mirroring common visualization practice, we propose olfactory marks, the substrate in which they exist, and their olfactory channels that are available to designers. To exemplify this idea, we present viScent: A six-scent stereo olfactory display capable of conveying olfactory glyphs of varying temperature and direction, as well as a corresponding software system that integrates the display with a traditional visualization display, along with three applications that make use of the viScent system.



Student Townhall

Research speed-dating



Joohee Choi
University of Maryland, College Park

Will Too Many Editors Spoil The Tag? Conflicts and Alignment in Q&A Categorization (CSCW Practice Talk)



Alina Striner
University of Maryland, College Park

Learning in the Holodeck: the Role of Multisensory Cues on Pattern Recognition in VR
Designing for multiple senses has the capacity to improve virtual realism, extend our ability to process information, and more easily transfer knowledge between physical and digital environments. HCI researchers are beginning to explore the viability of integrating multisensory media (“multimedia”) into virtual experiences, however research has yet to consider whether mulsemedia truly enhances pattern recognition in virtual reality (VR). In the context of citizen science watershed habitat training, our research asks, how does realism affect observation skills in VR? Within this domain, we build a multisensory system that allows users to feel (wind, thermal, humidity) and smell landscape and environmental conditions. We then compare and report on how users make observations and infer patterns between 2 stream habitats in VR, with and without the multisensory information. Our findings reveal that multisensory information improved the number of high-level, mid-level and low-level observations participants made, and positively impacted engagement and immersion.



Student Townhall

Research speed dating.


03/22/2017 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving Break.

Lelani Battle
University of Maryland, College Park

A Characterization Study of Exploratory Analysis Behaviors in Tableau
Exploratory visual analysis (EVA) is an interactive process comprising both focused tasks and more open-ended exploration. Visual analysis tools aim to facilitate this process by enabling rapid specification of both data transformations and visualizations, using a combination of direct manipulation and automated design. With a better understanding of users’ analysis behavior, we might improve the design of these visualization tools to promote effective outcomes.

In this talk, I will present our recent work on characterizing the EVA process. We contribute a consistent definition of EVA through review of the relevant literature, and an empirical evaluation of existing assumptions regarding how analysts perform EVA. We present the results of a study where 27 Tableau users answered various analysis questions across 3 datasets. We measure task performance, identify recurring patterns across participants’ analyses, and assess variance from task specificity and dataset. We find striking differences between existing assumptions and the collected data. Participants successfully completed a variety of tasks, with over 80% accuracy across focused tasks with measurably correct answers. The observed cadence of analyses is surprisingly slow compared to popular assumptions from the database community. We find significant overlap in analyses across participants, showing that EVA behaviors can be predictable. Furthermore, we find few structural differences between open-ended and more focused analysis tasks. Finally, I will discuss the implications of our findings for the design of effective data analytics systems, and highlight several promising directions for future study.



Student Townhall




Cookie Exchange

We encourage you to make/buy cookies (or some related treat) and create individual bags (about six cookies in each bag, and about 4-6 bags). Then bring them in labeled on 12/13 and you can pick bags from other people to take home or eat on the spot. However, you do not need to make cookies to attend! All are welcome to come and hang out.


Spring 2018 Schedule

Date Leader Topic

Kickoff to a new Semester!

Come, network, make introductions, and share what you are working on

Please come to our first BBL of the Spring 2018 semester to introduce yourself and share what you're working on in the coming semester. The first BBL will be for us to network with each other and kickoff a great new semester.


Bahador Saket
Georgia Tech, Atlanta

Visualization by Demonstration

Abstract: A commonly used interaction paradigm in most visualization tools is manual view specification. Tools implementing manual view specification often require users to manually specify visual properties through GUI operations on collections of visual properties and data attributes that are presented visually on control panels. To interact with tools implementing manual view specification users need to understand the potentially complex system parameters being controlled. Additionally, in such tools, users need to constantly shift their attention from the visual features of interest when interacting.

In this talk, I present an alternative interaction paradigm for visualization construction and data exploration called visualization by demonstration. This paradigm advocates for a different process of visualization construction. I will also discuss the trade-offs between these interaction paradigms based on the data collected from an empirical study. I will then discuss applications of the "by demonstration’" paradigm in other areas in data visualization.

Bio: Bahador Saket is a third-year Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, where he works with Dr. Alex Endert. His current research focuses on the design of interaction techniques for visualization construction and visual data exploration. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, Bahador worked at different research labs including Microsoft Research, CNS Research Center, and NUS-HCI Lab. He has published over 12 peer-reviewed articles in the leading journals and conferences in the field of human-computer interaction and data visualization such as IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Computer Graphics Forum, CSCW, UIST, and MobileHCI.


Elissa Redmiles
University of Maryland, College Park

Dancing Pigs or Security? Measuring the Rationality of End-User Security Behavior

Abstract: Accurately modeling human decision-making in security is critical to think about when, why, and how to recommend that users adopt certain secure behaviors. We used behavioral economics experiments to model the rationality of end-user security decision-making in a realistic online experimental system simulating a bank account. We ask participants to make a financially impactful security choice, in the face of transparent risks of account compromise and benefits offered by an optional security behavior (two-factor authentication). We find that more than 50% of our participants made rational (e.g., utility optimal) decisions, and we find that participants are more likely to behave rationally in the face of higher risk. Additionally, we confirm that users are boundedly rational: they make decisions based on some risks and context, but not others, and we can model their behavior well as a function of these factors. Finally, we show that a “one-size-fits-all” emphasis on security can lead to market losses, but that adoption by a subset of users with higher risks or lower costs can lead to market gains.
Bio: Elissa Redmiles is a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland in Computer Science. Her research focuses on using computational and social science methodologies to understand and improve users' privacy and security learning processes, behavior, and perceptions. She is the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, a National Science Defense and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, and a Facebook Fellowship. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Elissa held Marketing Management and Software Engineering roles at IBM and was a Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago.


Erin Peters-Burton
George Mason University, Fairfax, VA

Building Student Self-Awareness of Learning to Enhance Diversity in the Sciences

Abstract: Many students are being left out of pursuing further studies in science because the current system of science education values students who learn via completion in an isolated, rather than collaborative way (Tobias, 1990). The stereotype of students who excel in science tend to be the ones who can conform to the institutional structure where the teacher is the sole source of knowledge (Friere, 2000). Through the idea of “Education as the Practice of Freedom” (hooks, 1994), the presentation will explain investigations that explore tangible ways to break down that stereotype. This research begins with the assumption that if teachers taught the ways science operates as a discipline, then students gain more power to construct their own scientific knowledge because they understand the “rules” of knowledge validation (Duschl, 1990). Learning how scientific knowledge is constructed and being self-aware of one’s own learning in science can help level the playing field so that students can do inquiry well (NRC, 1996; AAAS, 1993) and the science classroom will be a more inclusive, positive environment rather than relying on isolated competition for teaching. In this presentation, I will present an overview of research I have done over the past 10 years that focuses on helping students to become self-aware of their learning in science and how scientific knowledge is constructed. The work involves 8th grade students, undergraduates, graduate students, and professionals. The studies include constructs such as self-efficacy, motivation, metacognition, self-regulated learning, and visualization. Findings of the studies are synthesized into self-awareness priorities and how those constructs will ultimately impact social justice by providing more opportunities to see alternative perspectives and learn the “rules” of knowledge validation in science. As a result, students develop a sense of agency and an identity where anything is possible because they can learn independently in any situation.
Bio: Erin E. Peters-Burton is the Donna R. and David E. Sterling Endowed Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. She has a B.S. in Physics from the University of Illinois, a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology and Social Foundations of Education from the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D. from George Mason University (VA) in Educational Psychology and Educational Research Methods. She has taught middle school and high school science and mathematics for 15 years prior to her academic work and was a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Science. She has published in science education, teacher education, educational psychology, marine biology, geology education, history and philosophy of science, technology, educational leadership, and learning disability journals. Her book, Thinking Like Scientists: Using Metacognitive Prompts to Develop Nature of Science Knowledge, and her edited book, The STEM Road Map: A Framework for Integrated STEM Education have led to the curriculum series books from the National Science Teacher Association entitled, STEM Road Map for Elementary School, STEM Road Map for Middle School, and STEM Road Map for High School. In 2016 she was awarded the Association of Science Teacher Educators Outstanding Science Teacher of the Year in recognition of her work with the professional development of secondary science teachers.


Norman Su
Indiana University

The Problem of Designing for Subcultures

Abstract: Members of subcultures speak about and act with pervasive technologies in service to their distinct traditions. I will describe how outwardly subcultures maintain a unified front, yet inwardly are rich sites for compromise and confrontation over technology. I will highlight findings from work we have done with subcultures and, in particular, my own fieldwork with Irish traditional musicians. I will close by describing new design opportunities for technologies that acknowledge the remarkable solidarity and discord of subcultures.
Bio: Norman Makoto Su is an Assistant Professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interests lie in human–computer interaction (HCI) and computer–supported cooperative work (CSCW). His Authentic User Experience (AUX) lab characterizes the relationship of technology with subcultures and designs systems to support their notion of authenticity. He received his Ph.D. in Information and Computer Science from the University of California, Irvine and a B.A. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Information and Library Studies at University College Dublin, Ireland. He has done internships at IBM, The Aerospace Corporation, and PARC.


Ya-Wei Li
Center for Conservation Innovation, Defenders of Wildlife

Using Data and Technology to Save Endangered Species.

Abstract: We will discuss how Defenders of Wildlife, a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization, is expanding its use of technology and data analytics to conserve endangered species. We will summarize our projects involving remote-sensing data to monitor wildlife habitat and compliance with conservation agreements; data mining of federal government decisions to build the largest public repository of text-searchable documents on the U.S. Endangered Species Act; natural language processing of those documents to improve public understanding of how our government conserves endangered species; use of data visualization tools to reveal patterns in large datasets; and other initiatives. We invite the audience to actively engage with us about how we can improve our work and offer ideas for future projects and potential collaborations.

Bio: Ya-Wei (Jake) specializes in endangered species law, policy, and science. He leads the Center for Conservation Innovation at Defenders of Wildlife, which focuses on developing innovative and pragmatic strategies to conserve endangered and at-risk species. Before joining Defenders in 2010, Jake practiced environmental law in the private sector. Jake holds a B.S. from Drexel University and a J.D. from Cornell University Law School. At Cornell, Jake also completed graduate coursework in conservation biology and herpetology.

Jacob works on linking science to Endangered Species Act policy. He works with others inside and outside of Defenders to make ESA-related data available and easily interpretable, so that policy makers and the public can make informed decisions about conservation. Before joining Defenders, Jacob was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Connecticut, and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2013. From 2000-2008, Jacob was a field biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in New Mexico and Arizona, during which time he completed his Bachelor's degree in Conservation Ecology at Prescott College.


Deok Gun Park
University of Maryland, College Park

Thinking, Autism and AGI

Abstract: Despite recent advances in deep learning, we do not know yet how we can combine these application-specific models to build an artificial general intelligence (AGI). Furthermore, the data is becoming the bottleneck to scale these approaches for the multiple tasks. In this talk, I propose a theory of the thinking and a neural algorithm that can bootstrap intelligence with limited computational resources and data. This neural algorithm approximates the O(n3) parameter space of the thinking theory into the O(1) parameters to make learning tractable for the biological intelligent agents. I will explain this proposal by cognitive phenomenons that are observed in a human, such as infant language acquisition, visual and verbal thinking, personality, creativity, exploit-exploration trade off, dreaming, one-shot learning, abstract language.

Bio: Deokgun Park is a Ph.D. candidate in the HCILab of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, being advised by Prof. Niklas Elmqvist. His research focuses on the computational methods for open-ended tasks. He completed M.S. in Interdisciplinary Engineering at Purdue University and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Seoul National University, where he obtained B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering at Seoul National University. He worked at the government research institute, industry research labs, and startups. He has published and licensed his patents to companies including Samsung Electronics.


Clemens Klokmose
Aarhus University, Denmark

Shareable Dynamic Media: A revisit of the fundamentals of interactive computing

Abstract: Developing interactive systems that support collaboration between people, distribution across heterogeneous devices and user appropriation is notoriously difficult. Today’s software rests on a foundation built for personal computing, and to properly support the aforementioned qualities we need to revisit this foundation. In this talk, I will present you with a vision called Shareable Dynamic Media, inspired by Alan Kay’s seminal vision of Personal Dynamic Media. I will present a prototype implementation of the vision called Webstrates, and demonstrate how it enables the development of software where distribution across devices, collaboration between people, and malleability and reprogrammability are the norm rather than the exception. I will show our latest project, Codestrates, that combines Webstrates with the literate computing approach of interactive notebooks.

Bio: Clemens Nylandsted Klokmose is an associate professor in the development of advanced interactive systems at the Department of Digital Design and Information Studies, at the School of Communication and Culture, Aarhus University. He co-directs the Digital Creativity Lab that is part of the Center for Advanced Visualisation and Interaction (CAVI). Clemens has worked as a postdoc at Computer Science, Aarhus University and at Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique, Université Paris-Sud. He has furthermore spent a year as a user interface specialist in the industry. Clemens received his PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from Aarhus University supervised by prof. Susanne Bødker. Clemens’ main interest is the fundamentals of interactive computing, particularly to support and understanding computing with multiple devices and multiple people. Many of his ideas are crystallised into the Webstrates platform (, which he leads the development of.

03/22/2017 No Brown Bag, Spring Break.

Wei Bai
University of Maryland, College Park

Understanding User Tradeoffs for Search in Encrypted Communication

Abstract: End-to-end message encryption is the only way to achieve absolute message privacy. However, searching over end-to-end encrypted messages is complicated. Several popular instant messaging tools (e.g., WhatsApp, iMessage) circumvent this inconvenience by storing the search index locally on the devices. Another approach, called searchable encryption, allows users to search encrypted messages without storing the search index locally. These approaches have inherent tradeoffs between usability and security properties, yet little is known about how general users value these tradeoffs, especially in the context of email rather than instant messaging. In this paper, we systematize these tradeoffs in order to identify key feature differences. We use these differences as the basis for a choice-based conjoint analysis experiment focused on email (n=160), in which participants make a series of choices between email services with competing features. The results allow us to quantify the relative importance of each feature. We find that users indicate high relative importance for increasing privacy and minimizing local storage requirements. While privacy is more important overall, local storage is more important than adding additional marginal privacy after an initial improvement. These results suggest that local indexing, which provides more privacy, may often be appropriate for encrypted email, but that searchable encryption, which limits local storage, may also hold promise for some users.

Bio: Wei Bai is a PhD student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, advised by Prof. Michelle L. Mazurek. His research interests include network security and privacy with an emphasis on human factors, and his dissertation is about user perceptions of and attitudes toward encrypted communication. He obtained his MS in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Maryland. Contact him at


Eun-Kyoung Choe
University of Maryland, College Park

Designing A Flexible Personal Data Tracking Tool

Abstract: We now see an increasing number of self-tracking apps and wearable devices. Despite the vast number of available tools, however, it is still challenging for self-trackers to find apps that suit their unique tracking needs, preferences, and commitments. In this talk, I will present OmniTrack, a mobile self-tracking system, which enables self-trackers to construct their own trackers and customize tracking items to meet their individual tracking needs. OmniTrack leverages a semi-automated tracking approach that combines manual and automated tracking methods. From a deployment study, we showed how participants used OmniTrack to create, revise, and appropriate trackers—ranging from a simple mood tracker to a sophisticated daily activity tracker. I will discuss how to further improve OmniTrack by incorporating multimodal interactions, providing more appropriate visualizations on a mobile device, and supporting researchers' unique data collection needs.

Bio: Eun Kyoung Choe ( is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies at University of Maryland, College Park. Her primary research areas are in the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Health Informatics. She examines the design and evaluation of personal informatics tools to empower individuals—including patients, caregivers, clinicians, and those who wish to engage in self-tracking—to make positive behavior changes through fully leveraging their personal data. She explores this topic in various contexts, including sleep and productivity, patient-clinician communication and data sharing, and personal data insights and visualization. Her past and current research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Microsoft Research, and the Google Anita Borg Scholarship. She received her PhD in Information Science from University of Washington, MS in Information Management and Systems from University of California, Berkeley, and BS in Industrial Design from KAIST, Korea.


CHI practice talks

Combining smartwatches with large displays for visual data exploration by Karthik Badam and Tom Horak



Hernisa Kacorri
University of Maryland, College Park

Accessibility and Assistive Technologies at the Intersection of Users and Data

Abstract: Advances in artificial intelligence enable us to address key social issues. However, to see the benefit of this technology in many real-world applications, an integrative approach is necessary; effective solutions consist of a pipeline of processes or tasks involving both humans and machines. My research has integrated human computer interaction (HCI) techniques and data-driven methods applied to human data to steer technological innovations for people with visual impairments and for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. In this talk, I will provide an overview of my research program, and I will demonstrate the effectiveness of integrating machine learning and HCI methodologies with two concrete examples: i) teachable object recognizers trained by blind users, and ii) facial expression synthesis in sign language animations.

Bio: Hernisa Kacorri is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and holds an affiliate appointment in the Computer Science and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at University of Maryland, College Park. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2016 from The Graduate Center at City University of New York, and has conducted research at National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, IBM Research-Tokyo, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on data-driven technologies that address human challenges, faced due to health or disability, with an emphasis on rigorous, user-based experimental methodologies to assess impact. Hernisa is a recipient of a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences, an ACM ASSETS best paper finalist, and an CHI honorable mention award. She has been recognized by the Rising Stars in EECS program of CMU/MIT.


Chi-Young Oh
University of Maryland, College Park

Small Worlds in a Distant Land: International Newcomer Students' Local Information Behavior in Unfamiliar Environments

Abstract: International students are a rapidly growing sub-population of students, and the United States, as a top destination, has hosted students from 218 different countries. However, as with other international newcomers, these students face various types of challenges in a new country. Studies have reported the challenges this population faces in regard to cultures, academic systems, and general adjustments, but research is less clear about the challenges they face in terms of information behaviors during adjustment to a new country. This study addresses the information behaviors of international newcomer students in the context of adjustment to new local environments; that is, their local information behavior (LIB). Specifically, drawing on prior work and theories, this research conceptualizes the idea of "socio-national context," the degree to which there are individuals from the same country available in one's local environment, as a factor influencing international newcomer students’ information behavior. Through the findings from this longitudinal mixed-method study of international and U.S. graduate students in different socio-national contexts, it is argued that information behavior theories and models need to account for people's socio-national contexts if they are to inform research involving international newcomer students and provide insights on designing systems and services for all international newcomer students, especially those from countries that tend to be less well-represented among international students in a host country.

Bio: Chi Young Oh is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland, College Park's College of Information Studies. His areas of research span information behavior, human-computer interaction, health informatics, and community informatics, and his dissertation research examines international newcomer students' information behaviors during adjustment to a host country. Chi Young holds an MS in Information Science (with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as a BA in Psychology, a BA in Library and Information Science, and a BBA in Business Administration from Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea. Prior to joining University of Maryland, he was a user experience researcher in the UX Lab of internet search portal Daum in South Korea and a new product planner and assistant marketing manager at LG Electronics.


Amanda Lazar
University of Maryland, College Park

Rethinking technology for dementia

Abstract: As the population ages, research is increasingly focused on conditions associated with growing older, such as cognitive and physical impairment. Technology is often presented as a solution for managing or treating these changes. This framing can position health conditions as problems to address through design and can neglect the complexity and positive aspects of older adulthood. In this talk, I draw on critical perspectives from Human-Computer Interaction and Gerontology. I describe ways in which technology can help us understand and challenge stereotypes around aging as well as cognitive impairment, and my ongoing and future work in this area. I will argue for a view of aging that takes into account the ways that technologies position older individuals and, in turn, the way that this view can inform the design of new technologies to enrich the experience of growing older.

Bio: Amanda Lazar is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research is in the areas of Human-Computer Interaction and Health Informatics. She studies how technologies designed for health and wellbeing position and support marginalized populations. She received her PhD from the University of Washington in the Biomedical and Health Informatics program and her undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, San Diego.


Joel Chan
University of Maryland, College Park

Back to the Future: How people construct new creative ideas from old knowledge, and how technology can help

Abstract: Where do good ideas come from? One answer is that they come from prior knowledge: for example, Thomas Edison leveraged his knowledge of phonographs to “do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear”. Yet, much research on human creativity demonstrates that prior knowledge often constrains creativity. How do people construct new creative ideas from old knowledge? And (how) can technology help? In the first part of my talk, I will summarize empirical work I have done that advances theories of the conditions under which people successfully construct new creative ideas from prior knowledge. This empirical work shows that prior knowledge can inspire creativity when it is analogically related to the current problem. This insight informs the ongoing work I will discuss in the second part of my talk: developing information technologies that combine human and machine intelligence to more effectively support analogical reasoning over prior knowledge.

Bio: Joel Chan is an Assistant Professor in the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies (iSchool), and Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL). His research and teaching focus on the intersection of people, information, and creativity. He wants to know how they (can best) combine to enable us to design the future(s) we want to live in. His work has been recognized with a Best Paper Award at the ASME Design Theory and Methodology conference, the Design Studies Award 2015, and supported by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant. Previously, he was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Project Scientist in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.


Rachel Kramer
World Wildlife Fund

WILDLABS.NET: the conservation technology network

Abstract: WILDLABS.NET: the conservation technology network is a collaboration across organizations that provides online infrastructure to connect wildlife conservationists directly to technologists to support the informed integration of technology tools in conservation practice. Since 2015, WILDLABS has evolved into a thriving online community of over 2,300 experts around the globe who crowd-source ideas and information, share case studies and co-develop solutions to pressing conservation and research challenges. WILDLABS community members range from academics to tech sector professionals, NGO staff, field-based practitioners and makers. On our platform, ideas are shared in over 25 technology and conservation challenge-specific groups with over 450 active discussion threads. The community is also a hub for posting grant and job opportunities to enhance the uptake of technical expertise into wildlife conservation initiatives. In this talk, we’ll explore the latest happenings on WILDLABS and empower those with engineering and related expertise to share their abilities to help save species.

Bio: Rachel Kramer is a wildlife crime expert at World Wildlife Fund with a decade of experience in field-based conservation, wildlife and natural resource trade monitoring, policy and technology solutions. With TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network that is a strategic alliance of WWF and IUCN, Rachel has overseen projects in Africa and Asia and manages wildlife trade assessments—including in the United States—to support enforcement action and policy change. Through WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project supported by a Google Global Impact Award, Rachel joined United for Wildlife partners in 2015 in founding WILDLABS.NET: the conservation technology network. Rachel got her start in conservation serving in the Peace Corps in Madagascar from 2006-2009, leading community-based monitoring and conservation projects until her evacuation in the coup. Her graduate research at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies focused on surveying wild species consumption and natural resource dependence in Park-bordering communities in Madagascar’s northeastern rainforest. Rachel is committed to harnessing the power of communities and technology to advance the sustainable use of natural resources for future generations.

Past Brown Bags

View the Past Brown Bag Lunch Schedules to learn more about prior talks.