Brown Bag Lunch Schedule

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The HCIL has an open, semi-organized weekly "brown bag lunch (BBL)" on every Thursdays 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 with free food every week.

To sign up for a session, send an email to BBL student co-coordinators Austin Beck ( or Leyla Norooz ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

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

We thank YAHOO for its sponsorship of the HCIL Brown Bag Lunches Yahoo.jpg.

Fall 2015 Schedule

Date Leader Topic
09/03/2015 All new students!

New student introductions!

Much like last year, this BBL is for new students to introduce themselves, talk briefly about their projects and interests and bounce their ideas off the HCIL members. The purpose of these informal and participatory talks is to help connect new students with professors and other students sharing the same interests. We'll also cover useful resources for students (e.g., this very wiki!)



Jean-Daniel Fekete
Senior Research Scientist at INRIA (link)

ProgressiVis: a New Workflow Model for Scalability in Information Visualization

Abstract: Information Visualization (infovis) has, for years, been limited to small data: a typical infovis application will work well with up-to 1000 items/records, a few can scale to 100,000 items, and very few, including the leading commercial products such as Tableau and Spotfire, have been able to deal with millions of items. Billions are seldom mentioned in the infovis literature. In contrast, the research fields of machine learning and databases are routinely dealing with datasets of several billions of items, and the numbers are growing.

There are legitimate reasons why it takes time for infovis to start catching-up with these large numbers, and some work such as Lins et al. Nanocubes ( and Liu et al. imMens (, have started to show possible routes to scalability. However, they both rely on either pre-computed aggregations that need hours to compute for large datasets, or on a highly parallel infrastructure performing aggregations on the fly. In my talk, I will explain why we need more flexible solutions and present a new workflow architecture called ProgressiVis, to achieve progressive computations and visualization over massive datasets.

Bio: Jean-Daniel Fekete is Senior Research Scientist (DR1) at INRIA, the French National Research Institute in Computer Science. He received his PhD in Computer Science in 1996 from Université Paris-Sud. From 1997 to 2001, he joined the Graphic Design group at the Ecole des Mines de Nantes that he led from 2000 to 2001. He was then invited to join the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory at the University of Maryland in the USA for one year. He was recruited by INRIA in 2002 as a confirmed researcher and became Senior Research Scientist in 2006. He is the Scientific Leader of the INRIA Project Team AVIZ (see that he founded in 2007 and that is well known worldwide in the domains of visualization and human-computer interaction. His main research areas are Visual Analytics, Information Visualization and Human Computer Interaction. Jean-Daniel Fekete was the General Chair of the IEEE VIS Conference in 2014, the first time it was held outside of the USA in Paris. He is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG), Member of the IEEE Information Visualization Conference Steering Committee and of the EG EuroVis Steering Committee. During 2015, he is on Sabbatical at NYU and Harvard.

09/17/2015 Liese Zahabi
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Maryland, College Park (link)

Exploring Information-Triage: Speculative interface tools to help college students conduct online research

Abstract: In many ways, the promise of the Internet has been overshadowed by a sense of overload and anxiety for many users. The production and publication of online material has become increasingly accessible and affordable, creating a confusing glut of information users must sift through to locate exactly what they want or need. Even a fundamental Google search can often prove paralyzing.The concept of information-triage may help mitigate this issue. Information-triage is the process of sorting, grouping, categorizing, prioritizing, storing and retrieving information in order to make sense and use of it. This work examines the role of design in the online search process, connects it to the nature of human attention and the limitations of working memory, and suggests ways to support users with an information-triage system. This talk will focus on a set of three speculative online search interfaces and user-testing sessions conducted with college students to explore the possibilities for information-triage and future interface prototypes and testing.

Bio: Liese Zahabi is a graphic/interaction designer and Assistant Professor of Graphic/Interaction Design at the University of Maryland in College Park. She received her Master of Graphic Design from North Carolina State University, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Eastern Michigan University. She has been working as a designer for thirteen years, and teaches courses in interaction design, motion design, typography and advanced graphic design. Liese’s academic research focuses on search as a cognitive and cultural process and artifact, and how the design of metaphoric interfaces can change the experience of search tasks. Her creative design work is also metaphorical, and explores how the nature of search manifests itself in visual patterns and sense-making, and how language and image intersect within the context of the Internet.

09/24/2015 HCIL Student Presentations

Graduate students will give short presentations about their past, present, and/or future work. If you are interested in participating, please email the BBL student co-coordinators Austin Beck ( or Leyla Norooz (

10/01/2015 Celine Latulipe
Associate Professor at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (link)

Borrowing from HCI: Teamwork, Design and Sketching for Intro Programming Classes

Abstract: In this talk, I will present recent efforts to reinvent introductory programming classes by borrowing teaching methodologies from HCI and design classes. A main component is the introduction of the concept of "Lightweight Teams", which has shown to increase student engagement in introductory programming. We also make use of Guzdial and Ericson's Media Computation approach, gamification and more recently formal use of sketchbooks. I will show the results we have so far, which were the subject of a best paper award at ACM SIGCSE earlier this year, and discuss how we continue to build on this work. We believe that bringing an HCI sensibility to introductory programming classes has the potential to increase retention in the classes and in CS majors, and is especially likely to help women and under-represented minorities feel more welcome in the classroom.

Bio: Dr. Celine Latulipe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Software and Information Systems in the College of Computing and Informatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research involves developing and evaluating novel interaction techniques, creativity and collaboration support tools and technologies to support the arts, and developing innovation computer science curriculum design patterns. Dr. Latulipe examines issues of how to support exploration in complex interfaces and how interaction affordances impact satisficing behavior. She also conducts research into how to make computer science education a more social experience, both as a way of more deeply engaging students and as an approach to broadening participation in a field that lacks gender and racial diversity.

10/08/2015 Adil Yalçın
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)

AggreSet: Rich and Scalable Set Exploration using Visualizations of Element Aggregations (InfoVis practice talk)

(AggreSet) Datasets commonly include multi-value (set-typed) attributes that describe set memberships over elements, such as genres per movie or courses taken per student. Set-typed attributes describe rich relations across elements, sets, and the set intersections. Increasing the number of sets results in a combinatorial growth of relations and creates scalability challenges. Exploratory tasks (e.g. selection, comparison) have commonly been designed in separation for set-typed attributes, which reduces interface consistency. To improve on scalability and to support rich, contextual exploration of set-typed data, we present AggreSet. AggreSet creates aggregations for each data dimension: sets, set-degrees, set-pair intersections, and other attributes. It visualizes the element count per aggregate using a matrix plot for set-pair intersections, and histograms for set lists, set-degrees and other attributes. Its non-overlapping visual design is scalable to numerous and large sets. AggreSet supports selection, filtering, and comparison as core exploratory tasks. It allows analysis of set relations including subsets, disjoint sets and set intersection strength, and also features perceptual set ordering for detecting patterns in set matrices. Its interaction is designed for rich and rapid data exploration. We demonstrate results on a wide range of datasets from different domains with varying characteristics, and report on expert reviews and a case study using student enrollment and degree data with assistant deans at a major public university.


10/22/2015 Heather Bradbury
Director, Masters of Professional Studies Programs at Maryland Institute College of Art (link)

Tipping the Balance

Abstract: When the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) began the Masters of Professional Studies in Information Visualization, there was a document and a goal to take MICA in a new academic direction by integrating design education with course work in visual communication, data analysis, and statistical applications. The audience for this new program was wide ranging in professional skills, expertise, and industry, from designers to research professionals, statisticians, and analysts, coming from private and public industries. This talk will tell the story of how the program moved from an idea to launch, to its fourth year of students, and how design, data, and analysis work together to tip the balance to develop graduates who are more fluid and knowledgeable in the process of creating beautiful, informative, accurate, and persuasive visualizations.

Bio: Heather Bradbury, Director of MICA’s Masters of Professional Studies programs in Information Visualization and the Business of Art and Design, comes to MICA with over 15 years of experience in the fields of creative and educational project development and strategic communication. Heather’s background and broad professional experience, including Communications Specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education, Office of the State Superintendent; IDEAS Grants Manager and Education Specialist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (Home of Hubble Space Telescope); and co-owner of Balance-the Salon, an award-winning hair salon and photo gallery, provides her with a unique perspective in program operations and management as well as communication through various mediums to tell stories. Heather has additional experience working in the fields of architecture/interior design, engineering, events and catering, and production pottery.

10/29/2015 Kurt Luther
Assistant Professor of Computer Science in HCI/CSCW at Virginia Tech (link)

11/05/2015 C. Scott Dempwolf
Research Assistant Professor and Director, UMD - Morgan State Joint Center for Economic Development (link)

Visualizing Innovation Ecosystems: Networks, Events and the Challenges of Policy and Practice

Abstract: For the past five years Scott Dempwolf has collaborated with faculty and students in HCIL to develop new visualizations of innovation using NodeXL and, more recently, EventFlow. This talk presents some of the fruits of those collaborations and discusses some remaining challenges where new visualizations could help shape policy and practice related to innovation and economic development. Scott’s innovation network models use large administrative datasets including patents and research grants in new ways to create novel visualizations of innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystems using NodeXL software. These models are being used by policymakers and economic developers to help accelerate the commercialization of research by identifying specific opportunities between university research and industry. Examples include the Illinois Science & Technology Roadmap; the Great Lakes Manufacturing megaregion; the emergence of innovation clusters in Pennsylvania; and local applications in Howard and St. Mary’s counties in Maryland. More recently, working with co-PI Ben Shneiderman and the EventFlow team in HCIL, Scott’s research uses EventFlow (and CoCo) software to analyze sequences of innovation activities. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the goals of this research are to develop new innovation metrics and new insights into the complex sequences of activities that comprise innovation processes. EventFlow’s novel visualizations and analytic capabilities are central to achieving these goals. This talk will present examples of Scott’s work using both NodeXL and EventFlow, focusing specifically on how the visualizations were created and used. The emphasis will be on the use of visualizations as tools for exploring and understanding data and for generating hypotheses. Some ongoing challenges, especially those pertaining to the use of visualizations to shape understanding and public policy will also be discussed.

Bio: C. Scott Dempwolf is Assistant Research Professor in the Urban Studies and Planning Program at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Director of the UMD – Morgan State Center for Economic Development. He is also affiliated with the National Center for Smart Growth Education and Research. His research focuses on understanding, modeling, visualizing and measuring innovation processes; their relationships to economic growth; and the implications for public policy, business strategy and economic development practice. Along with partners from BioHealth Innovation, Scott recently founded Tertius Analytics, LLC. The startup is focused on commercializing applications of his research. Prior to his “second career” in academia, Scott practiced community and economic development at the neighborhood, city, county and regional levels for over 20 years. He teaches an economic development planning studio and other planning courses. He earned his PhD in Urban and Regional Planning at UMD; a Masters in Community and Regional Planning at Temple University; and a Bachelor’s from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

11/12/2015 Matt Mauriello1, Zahra Ashktorab2, Uran Oh1, Brenna McNally2
[1] UMD CS PhD Student
[2] UMD iSchool PhD Student

Where Oh Where Have My Grad Students Gone?: An Internship Panel

This panel will include HCIL graduate students who have completed summer internships at Microsoft Research and Google. Panelists will discuss a variety of topics including their experiences in their respective positions, the hiring process, tips to succeeding during the internship, and differences and similarities between their positions across and within companies. Questions will also be welcomed from the audience.


11/26/2014 No Brown Bag for Thanksgiving break.
12/03/2015 Ben Shneiderman
Professor of Computer Science ([1])

Editing Wikipedia Tutorial/Workshop

We'll share knowledge about Wikipedia editing, using the HCIL Wikipedia page as an example ( We'll exchange knowledge about how Wikipedia works, the policies such as NPOV (Neutral Point of View) and requirements for Notability.

12/10/2015 Larry Lee



Past Brown Bags

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