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 interest to the HCIL, a software demo/review, a study design, a proposed research topic, an introduction to a new person, 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-coordinator Arunesh Mathur ( or Daniel Pauw ( In the email, briefly describe the topic and preferred dates.

To get 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.

Spring 2015 Schedule

Date Leader Topic
01/29/2015 Catherine Plaisant
Associate Director of Research HCIL (link)

HCIL's work and its influence

Abstract: An informal discussion as we watch old videos and discuss early work on hypertext, touchscreens sliders, query previews, bringing treasures to the surface, Lifelines, etc. This may be particularly illuminating to those of you that are younger… than the internet. View the history of the HCIL

02/05/2015 Karthik Badam
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science

Cross-Device Frameworks for Collaborative Visualization

Abstract: Collaborative Visualization focuses on shared use of interactive visual representations of data by a group engaged in joint information processing. However, to fully exploit this, we need to also bring cross-device interaction into picture considering that we carry more than a single device these days. In our research, we created two frameworks— Munin and PolyChrome— for building collaborative visualizations on multiple input and output surfaces, such as tabletop displays, wall-mounted displays, and mobile devices. These frameworks follows a layered architecture to abstract out the communication, interaction, and visualization requirements for the aforementioned. Furthermore, PolyChrome utilizes the web as a medium for collaborative visualization while maintaing a server for persistent storage of visualizations and user interaction over time.

Using these two frameworks, we are currently working on 1) development of advanced interaction models for large display environments based on proxemics: the spatial attributes of users such as position, orientation, and distance, and 2) easing the process of collaboration in analytical activities by designing smart ways to share information (for instance, using QR codes).

02/12/2015 Jack Kustanowitz
Principal at MountainPass Technology (link)

BusWhere - Never Miss the School Bus Again

Abstract: BusWhere is a startup that we are working on in parallel with our client work, and it is geared at allowing parents and school bus administrators to track their children's school bus location to meet the bus in the morning and afternoon on time with no uncertainty or waiting around in the cold. We will discuss the history of the company, where things stand now, some technical and business challenges, and open the floor for questions and/or suggestions. We are in beta now at a couple of schools and will be going mass market in the coming months, so it is an interesting point of inflection / reflection.

Bio: Jack founded MountainPass Technology in early 2010 to be the technology partner he was always looking for in previous management roles. Jack has over 18 years of experience managing teams to create and deploy intuitive, attractive, scalable, and secure mobile applications and web applications. On iOS and Android, he worked extensively on the NPR Music and News apps (with millions of downloads), and led development of several other apps including Behavioral Apptivation, Whooley, GrapeVine, iCall4Help, HabitWatch, SeasonClock, and others. He led teams to create user-facing web sites such as,,, and, did extensive work on back end systems to support the and (each with millions of PV/month), and worked with MedText and Privia Health on a full application redesign and HIPAA compliance audit. He also has expertise in setting up operational infrastructure, data warehousing, CPL advertising and lead generation, and email deliverability, and has provided consulting for dozens of companies on a variety of technical challenges.

Jack has a BS in Computer Systems Engineering from Boston University, and an MS in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, where he did research at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. He grabs time when he can to play through some Beethoven piano sonatas and is looking forward to hiking with his two sons over an actual mountain pass when they get old enough.

02/19/2015 Jeff Rick
Developer and Researcher, ScienceKit project (link)

Two kids, one iPad

Abstract: Multi-touch devices are starting to replace PCs as the dominant form of computing, particularly for children. As a result, serious efforts are underway to investigate and integrate tablets into the classroom. Most of these research efforts are software agnostic, assuming that the current software ecology is sufficient to realize and study the potential of the hardware. In such a research mode, it is natural to think of tablets as personal devices since the vast majority of software is built around that premise (e.g., tablets as ebooks). Can they be more? Can tablets support collaborative learning?

In this talk, I present a vision of tablets as tiny tabletops to support at-device collaboration. We developed the Proportion iPad app to realize and study this vision. In Proportion, two children work at one tablet to complete a series of increasingly difficult ratio / proportion problems. In our studies at German primary schools (grade 4, age 9-11), we used Proportion to study the role of collaboration and multi-touch. I will present both early empirical findings across conditions and a case study of a particularly successful group.

Bio: Jochen "Jeff" Rick designs innovative and effective applications for the newest technologies to research the potential of these technologies to support collaborative, social, and exploratory forms of learning. With an M.S. Electrical Engineering (1999, Georgia Tech) and a Ph.D. Computer Science (2007, Georgia Tech), he feels comfortable developing for emerging platforms. He developed CoWeb, the first wiki designed to support learning, well before Wikipedia existed. He developed DigiTile, a tabletop application for two children to collaboratively learn about fractions through constructing colorful mosaic tiles, before there was a commercial touch tabletop. As an experienced designer (two major server technologies, six applications for interactive tabletops, two applications for tablets, two applications for multiple devices, etc.), he seeks to realize the future of learning technologies. He is the lead developer on UMCP's Science Everywhere project.

02/26/2015 Wei Bai
PhD student, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (link)

BrowserCrypt: A Research on Encryption Usability

Abstract: Using encryption tool is the only way to truly protect users’ confidentiality from third-party services. Although many encryption tools have been designed so far, they have been tested for usability either only in the lab or not at all. In this talk, we will present our research of usability about a particular encryption tool, called BrowserCrypt. First, we will talk about the overall design about this in-the-field study. Specifically, the usability of BrowserCrypt ignoring key management issue is detailed. Second, we will present our progress so far, including how BrowserCrypt works on Piazza and the data we have collected. Then, the challenges and limitations we encountered will be described, and our corresponding solutions will be proposed. Finally, we will introduce the future work.

Bio: Wei Bai is the third-year Ph. D student in ECE department. He obtained this B.S in Electrical Engineering from Beihang University, Beijing, China in 2012 with distinction. He is currently working with Prof. Michelle Mazurek in Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2). His research interests include cyberattack detection and mitigation, and human factors for security and privacy.

03/05/2015 Kurt Luther
Center for Human-Computer Interaction Virginia Tech (link)

Designing Social Technologies for Creativity and Discovery

Abstract: Computing has given rise to a wide range of software tools for supporting all stages of a creative process, from ideation and prototyping to disseminating finished creative works. More recently, these tools have begun to incorporate social elements, drawing on a growing body of research demonstrating the benefits of collaboration for enhancing creativity. Crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon's Mechanical Turk, which allow software developers to programmatically seek out human workers to complete online micro-tasks and integrate the results directly into a user interface, suggest exciting new opportunities to design social technologies that support creative processes. In this talk, I will describe some of my recent projects in this space. These include Pipeline, a tool for supporting leaders of artistic collaborations organized online; and CrowdCrit, a system that crowdsources critiques of visual designs and aggregates the results for designers. I will also present some preliminary work using social technologies to help solve historical mysteries. Throughout the talk, I will identify broader theoretical and design implications for social computing and creativity support tools.

03/12/2015 Michele Williams
PhD student, Department of Information Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) (link)

SWARM: Sensing Whether Affect Requires Mediation

Abstract: SWARM (Sensing Whether Affect Requires Mediation) is a wearable affective technology designed to allow a user to reflect on their own emotional state, help a user modify their affect, and help a user to interpret the emotional states of others. SWARM aims for a universal design (inclusive of people with various disabilities), with a focus on modular actuation components to accommodate users’ sensory capabilities and preferences, and a scarf form-factor meant to reduce the stigma of accessible technologies through a fashionable embodiment. Using an iterative, user-centered approach, this talk presents SWARM’s design and additionally contributes findings for best practices in creating personal emotion management systems, communicating emotions through technology actuations, wearable design techniques (including a modular soft circuit design technique that fuses conductive fabric with actuation components), and universal design considerations for wearable technology.

Bio: Michele A. Williams is a Human-Centered Computing PhD candidate at UMBC. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Bowie State University and a Masters of Software Engineering from Auburn University where she concentrated in human-computer interaction and her thesis consisted of a multimodal intelligent tutoring system. She has worked in industry as both a Voice User Interface Designer for IVR systems and an Accessibility Analyst evaluating systems for compliance with accessibility standards. Her doctoral research has included several projects focused on making technology more accessible for people with disabilities including using wearable computing and social collaboration to make “accessible fashion” and conducting studies to inform the design of mobile navigation technology for people with vision impairments.

Spring Break
(no food)
Sana Malik
UMD CS PhD Candidate (link)
03/26/2015 Hyojoon Kim
PhD Student, Georgia Institute of Technology (link)
04/02/2015 Matthew Mauriello
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)

CHI Practice Talk: Understanding the role of thermography in energy auditing: current practices and the potential for automated solutions

Meethu Malu
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)

CHI Practice Talk: Personalized, Wearable Control of a Head-mounted Display for Users with Upper Body Motor Impairments

Abstract: Head-mounted displays provide relatively hands-free interaction that could improve mobile computing access for users with motor impairments. To investigate this largely unexplored area, we present two user studies. The first, smaller study evaluated the accessibility of Google Glass, a head-mounted display, with 6 participants. Findings revealed potential benefits of a head-mounted display yet demonstrated the need for alternative means of controlling Glass—3 of the 6 participants could not use it at all. We then conducted a second study with 12 participants to evaluate a potential alternative input mechanism that could allow for accessible control of a head-mounted display: switch-based wearable touchpads that can be affixed to the body or wheelchair. The study assessed input performance with three sizes of touchpad, investigated personalization patterns when participants were asked to place the touchpads on their body or wheelchair, and elicited subjective responses. All 12 participants were able to use the touchpads to control the display, and patterns of touchpad placement point to the value of personalization in providing support for each user’s motor abilities.

04/09/2015 Fan Du
PhD Student, Department of Computer Science (link)

CHI Practice Talk: Trajectory Bundling for Animated Transitions

Abstract: Animated transition has been a popular design choice for smoothly switching between different visualization views or layouts, in which movement trajectories are created as cues for tracking objects during location shifting. Tracking moving objects, however, becomes difficult when their movement paths overlap or the number of tracking targets increases. We propose a novel design to facilitate tracking moving objects in animated transitions. Instead of simply animating an object along a straight line, we create "bundled" movement trajectories for a group of objects that have spatial proximity and share similar moving directions. To study the effect of bundled trajectories, we untangle variations due to different aspects of tracking complexity in a comprehensive controlled user study. The results indicate that using bundled trajectories is particularly effective when tracking more targets (six vs. three targets) or when the object movement involves a high degree of occlusion or deformation. Based on the study, we discuss the advantages and limitations of the new technique, as well as provide design implications.

Leyla Norooz

CHI Practice Talk: BodyVis

04/16/2015 Yla Tausczik
Assistant Professor, iSchool
04/23/2015 '
04/30/2015 Andrea Forte
Associate Professor of College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University (link)
05/07/2015 Peter Teuben
Astronomy dept (link)

(Tentative - added by Catherine) Would like to discuss an interface design for remote operation of ALMA telescope -

05/14/2015 Geoffrey Wright (link) and Alina Goldman (link)

Fall 2014 Schedule

Date Leader Topic
09/04/2014 Niklas Elmqvist
New iSchool Professor in Infovis (link)

Ubiquitous Analytics: Interacting with Big Data Anywhere, Anytime

Abstract: Computing is becoming increasingly embedded in our everyday lives: mobile devices are growing smaller yet more powerful, large displays are getting cheaper, and our physical environments are turning intelligent and are integrating an increasing number of digital processors. Meanwhile, data is everywhere, and people need to leverage all of this digital infrastructure to turn it into actionable information about their hobbies, health, and personal interest. In this talk, I will present the concept of ubiquitous analytics that is staking out a new digital future of ever-present, always-on computing; one that can support manipulating, thinking about, and interacting with data anytime, anywhere.

Bio: Niklas Elmqvist is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA. He is also a member of the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Prior to joining UMD in 2014, he was an faculty member in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University from 2008, a postdoctoral researcher at INRIA in France from 2007, and a visiting scholar at Georgia Institute of Technology in 2006. His research areas are information visualization, human-computer interaction, and visual analytics. Prof. Elmqvist is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2013, the Purdue ECE Chicago Alumni New Faculty in 2010, Google research awards in 2009 and 2010, the Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012, and three best paper awards in premier venues in his field. His work has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as by Google, Microsoft, and NVidia. He is a senior member of ACM, IEEE, and IEEE Computer Society.

09/11/2014 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.

The students presenting are: Chris Musialek, Deok Gun Park, Seokbin Kang, Jonggi Hong, Sriram Karthik Badam and Majeed Kazemitabaar.

09/18/2014 Moving the cubes!
Resisting the cookies is futile.
09/25/2014 Kotaro Hara
CS PhD Student: (link)

UIST2014 Practice Talk: Tohme: Detecting Curb Ramps in Google Street View Using Crowdsourcing, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning

Building on recent prior work that combines Google Street View (GSV) and crowdsourcing to remotely collect information on physical world accessibility, we present the first “smart” system, Tohme, that combines machine learning, computer vision (CV), and custom crowd interfaces to find curb ramps remotely in GSV scenes. Tohme consists of two workflows, a human labeling pipeline and a CV pipeline with human verification, which are scheduled dynamically based on predicted performance. Using 1,086 GSV scenes (street intersections) from four North American cities and data from 403 crowd workers, we show that Tohme performs similarly in detecting curb ramps compared to a manual labeling approach alone (F-measure: 84% vs. 86% baseline) but at a 13% reduction in time cost. Our work contributes the first CV-based curb ramp detection system, a custom machine-learning based workflow controller, a validation of GSV as a viable curb ramp data source, and a detailed examination of why curb ramp detection is a hard problem along with steps forward.

10/02/2014 Michelle Mazurek
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science (link)

Measuring Password Guessability for an Entire University

Despite considerable research on passwords, empirical studies of password strength have been limited by lack of access to plaintext passwords, small data sets, and password sets specifically collected for a research study or from low-value accounts. Properties of passwords used for high-value accounts thus remain poorly understood.

We fill this gap by studying the single-sign-on passwords used by over 25,000 faculty, staff, and students at a research university with a complex password policy. Key aspects of our contributions rest on our (indirect) access to plaintext passwords. We describe our data collection methodology, particularly the many precautions we took to minimize risks to users. We then analyze how guessable the collected passwords would be during an offline attack by subjecting them to a state-of-the-art password cracking algorithm. We discover significant correlations between a number of demographic and behavioral factors and password strength.

We also compare the guessability and other characteristics of the passwords we analyzed to sets previously collected in controlled experiments or leaked from low-value accounts. We find more consistent similarities between the university passwords and passwords collected for research studies under similar composition policies than we do between the university passwords and subsets of passwords leaked from low-value accounts that happen to comply with the same policies.

(room 2119)
m.c. schraefel
Professor, University of Southampton (link)

Exploring the role of HCI as an agent of cultural change: from health as a medical condition to health as shared, social aspiration.

Abstract: What is the role of HCI in supporting a better normal for our health, creativity, quality of life - especially if we think about health outside a medical context. I have been thinking about the concept of “make better normal” and Ben Shneiderman has challenged me to ask isn’t that the role of design in general? And most of us would agree, so what’s different when we talk about health, not as a medical condition, but as a paradigm shift, where health is a shared and supported social aspiration? In such a discussion, HCI becomes an agent not necessarily for change, but for cultural shift - assuming we might agree on what proactive health looks like in practice - so we can design to support it. As part of this discussion i’ll offer in5 as a design model for proactive health and look forward to your feedback.

Also, we might consider how the role of HCI would change in this dynamic over time. Initially, proactive health design is likely design against the status quo. For example, if the status quo is sedentary knowledge work, and the research shows that more movement during the day is better for us cognitively, physiologically, socially, then what does HCI do to help support this transition individually and culturally? What is the role and perhaps responsibility of our collaborative work with, for instance, visualisation and big data? Likewise, what is the map of this territory for us? where are the important research questions? how would we know them? Do we ourselves need to evolve a new disciplinary expertise from nutrition to neurology for proactive health tech design? I have some thoughts/experiences in this space i’d like to share to hear your insights. Also, in particular, I would also like to present the related outcomes from a Dagstuhl Workshop that happened in June to consider Grand Challenges for Interactive Technology Design for Proactive Health, and to invite you to participate in and contribute to shaping these Challenges. This exchange, i hope, will act as both this invitation and a call to action - to say that if we see the opportunities to make a real and credible difference for proactive health, do we not need to find, fundamentally, ways to better support each others’ work to have effects at scale, to model a path for others to trust and to follow?

Bio: m.c. schraefel, ph.d, f.bcs, c.eng, cscs, @mcphoo holds the post Professor of Computer Science and Human Performance in the Agents, Interaction and Complexity Group of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, UK ( mc also holds a Research Chair sponsored by the Royal Academy of Engineering and Microsoft Research to investigate how to design interactive technology to better support creativity, innovation and discovery. As part of that research, schraefel utilises her works with athletes as a professional strength and conditioning, movement and nutrition coach for design insights into real people's longitudinal experience of and challenges with wellbeing practice ( mc directs the Human Systems Interaction Lab at Southampton where the vision is to make better normal; make normal better, and the mission is to explore how ICT can support the brain/body connexion to enhance innovation, creativity and improved Quality of Life for all.

10/16/2014 Uran Oh
CS PhD Student

ASSETS 2014 Practice Talk: Design of and Subjective Response to On-body Input for People With Visual Impairments

For users with visual impairments, who do not necessarily need the visual display of a mobile device, non-visual on-body interaction (e.g., Imaginary Interfaces) could provide accessible input in a mobile context. Such interaction provides the potential advantages of an always-available input surface, and increased tactile and proprioceptive feedback compared to a smooth touchscreen. To investigate preferences for and design of accessible on-body interaction, we conducted a study with 12 visually impaired participants. Participants evaluated five locations for on-body input and compared on-phone to on-hand interaction with one versus two hands. Our findings show that the least preferred areas were the face/neck and the forearm, while locations on the hands were considered to be more discreet and natural. The findings also suggest that participants may prioritize social acceptability over ease of use and physical comfort when assessing the feasibility of input at different locations of the body. Finally, tradeoffs were seen in preferences for touchscreen versus on-body input, with on-body input considered useful for contexts where one hand is busy (e.g., holding a cane or dog leash). We provide implications for the design of accessible on-body input.

10/23/2014 Andrea Wiggins
Assistant Professor, iSchool (link)

Citizen Science at Scale: Human Computation for Science, Education, and Sustainability

Citizen science is gaining recognition as an innovative mode of scientific collaboration that engages the public in real-world research. Increased coordination and communication capacities attributed to technological advances have lead to dramatic growth in the scale, scope, and impact of public participation in science, while also enabling novel research that would not otherwise be feasible. In addition, citizen science is full interesting challenges for HCI, with notable needs and opportunities for innovation in such areas as sensors, DIY technologies, mobile applications, painless data entry, usability for "K through gray", STEM learning technologies, and data visualization and exploration tools.

This talk will introduce two projects focused on supporting large-scale participation in citizen science from a data-centric perspective. In the eBird "human-computer learning network", 40% annual growth in data submissions to one of the world's largest biodiversity data sets creates a challenge for data validation by a limited pool of experts. Our team has applied AI and machine learning to refine the system's dynamically-generated data entry interfaces, reducing the incidence of "false positives" for outlier records that require expert review. In addition, we have developed a method to estimate contributors' expertise based entirely on their data submissions, and examining time series of these expertise estimates also suggests a learning effect through ongoing participation. The expertise estimates are currently being incorporated into spatio-temporal models of bird migration to reduce noise introduced by the natural variability in diverse human observers.

The second project, recently funded by the NSF CyberSEES program, will develop proof-of-concept infrastructure to deliver biodiversity data from science classrooms across the US to researchers that need data for ongoing research. Through partnerships with several sustainability science projects and the Smithsonian BioCubes program, student-generated data will be integrated with data collected by professional scientists to support ecological studies monitoring the spread and impact of invasive species, the biogeographic and evolutionary effects of climate change, and community changes in species-rich but vulnerable coastal marine ecosystems. The UMD team will investigate the factors that enable and prevent participation by both data producers (learners) and data consumers (scientists), in order to inform the design and development of current and future cyberinfrastructure.

10/30/2014 Nicholas Diakopoulos
Assistant Professor, UMD College of Journalism (link)

Computational Journalism: From Tools to Algorithmic Accountability

Abstract: Computational Journalism was initially conceived of as an application of computing technologies to enable journalism across information tasks such as information gathering, organization and sensemaking, storytelling, and dissemination. But computing and algorithms can also become the object of journalism. Algorithms adjudicate a large array of decisions in our lives: not just search engines and personalized online news systems, but educational evaluations, markets and political campaigns, and the management of social services like welfare and public safety. A new form of computational journalism that I call “Algorithmic Accountability Reporting” is emerging to apply the core journalistic functions of watchdogging and accountability reporting to algorithms. In this talk I will provide some perspective on the tool-oriented roots of computational journalism, and then discuss how algorithmic accountability reporting is emerging as a mechanism for elucidating and articulating the power structures, biases, and influences that computational artifacts play in society.

Bio: Nicholas Diakopoulos is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College of Journalism. His research is in computational and data journalism with an emphasis on algorithmic accountability, narrative data visualization, and social computing in the news. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech where he co-founded the program in Computational Journalism. Before UMD he worked as a researcher at Columbia University, Rutgers University, and CUNY studying the intersections of information science, innovation, and journalism. Nick can be contacted via email at, and is online at @ndiakopoulos and

11/06/2014 Susan Winter
Assistant Program Director, MIM

Top-Down and Bottom-Up: Building Information Science for an Active Middle

Abstract: Our increasingly digital society has spurred interest in information science, with a belief that it can improve health, safety, the environment, education, economic growth and more. However, capturing these benefits will require skilled information professionals who understand and create digital solutions that improve lives in a variety of fields. Guided by its focus on information, technology and people, the iSchool at the University of Maryland is developing an innovative BS in Information Science (BSIS) that will address the demand for such professionals. High-level frameworks lend structure to the disparate information science activities and disciplinary domains, but lack the detail necessary to guide research and educational programs. At this session, we will co-design the emergent BSIS curriculum that prepares students for success in a wide variety of information science careers.

Bio: Susan J. Winter, Ph.D. is Chair of the UG Committee, Director of Research Advancement, Assistant Director of the MIM Program and of CASCI at UMD’s iSchool. She has previously been a Science Advisor in the Directorate for Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences, Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and a Program Director at NSF supporting distributed, interdisciplinary scientific collaboration where she was responsible for programs funding research on virtual organizations as sociotechnical systems, cyber-enabled discovery and innovation, and cyberinfrastructure education, and enabling resources for building community and capacity for complex data-driven and computational science including high performance computers, large-scale databases, and advanced software tools. Her research on the impact of IT on the organization of work has appeared in top journals; she has extensive international managerial and consulting experience, and currently serves on the editorial boards of top Journals. She received her PhD from the University of Arizona, her MA from the Claremont Graduate University, and her BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

11/13/2014 Alina Goldman
iSchool PhD Student
Audience Performer Collaboration

Integrating story into design may be an effective way to create more fulfilling interaction experiences. This informal presentation and discussion considers how designing immersive “flow” experiences can contribute to HCI research interests by improving motivation and attention. The talk describes immersive design in the context of performance, through multi-sensory technology and dynamic audience participation, and offers ideas to further explore this area of research.

11/20/2014 Beverly Harrison
Principal Scientist & Director Mobile Research, Yahoo!

Yahoo Labs – Mobile Research Group

In this talk, Dr. Beverly Harrison will highlight strategic research areas and directions for Yahoo Labs overall, and then describe key areas the Mobile Research team is actively working on (and hiring for!). Several recent research projects will be presented including a study of teens use of smartphones and mobile apps, a study about people’s understanding of what “personalized ads” means, a social TV prototype app, and some highlights of wearables and hardware prototyping efforts.

Bio: Dr. Beverly Harrison is currently the Senior Director of Mobile Research at Yahoo Labs. Her expertise and passion over the last 20 years is creating, building and evaluating innovative mobile user interface technologies and in inferring user behavior patterns from various types of sensor data. She has previously worked at Xerox PARC, IBM Research, Intel Research, and Amazon/Lab126 as well as doing startups. Beverly has 80+ publications, holds over 50 patents, and held 3 affiliate faculty positions in CSE, iSchool, Design (Univ of Washington). She has a B.S. in Mathematics (Waterloo) and a M.Sc. and PhD in Human Factors Engineering (Toronto) where she was also an active member of the dgp Lab.

11/27/2014 No Brown Bag for Thanksgiving break.
12/04/2014 Georgia Bullen
New America (link)
Balancing Expertise and Public Audiences: Usability in Internet Research and Policy
12/11/2014 Holiday Cookie Exchange


Cookie exchanges involve people making a certain number of cookies (e.g., 6 bags of 6 cookies each) and bringing them in with a card describing the cookies. They all get lined up and then each person can take six bags of whichever types of cookies they want.

Past Brown Bags

The following are the past Brown Bag schedules.

Spring 2014

Date Leader Topic
Jan 30 Helena Mentis
New UMBC HCI faculty member

Tracking the Body in Healthcare

New gesture and movement tracking technologies are offering rich possibilities for our everyday computing experiences. More than simply intuitive and non-intrusive forms of interaction these technologies can provide ways to transform behavioral practices in particular contexts. Within these contexts, there are important challenges in how we take the opportunities provided by body/movement sensing systems and design them in ways that are attuned to the demands and circumstances of a particular setting. In this talk I will explore these issues in the context of the particular setting of healthcare. I will present prior work on a Kinect-based system that uses gesture and voice recognition capabilities to enable clinicians to interact with images during surgery without compromising sterility as well as new work on sensing a Parkinson's patient's movement ability for clinical decision-making and patient empowerment.

Feb 6 Catherine Plaisant and Michael Gubbels Reviewing CHI '13 best videos
Feb 13 Beverly Harrison
Yahoo Research

Research at Yahoo Labs

In this talk, Beverly will highlight strategic research areas and directions for Yahoo Labs overall, and then describe key areas the Mobile Research team is actively working on (and hiring for!). Several recent research projects will be presented including a study of teens use of smartphones and mobile apps, a study about people’s understanding of what “personalized ads” means, a social TV prototype app, and some highlights of wearables and hardware prototyping efforts.

Beverly Harrison is currently a Principal Scientist and Director of Mobile Research at Yahoo Labs. Her expertise and passion over the last 20 years is creating, building and evaluating innovative user interface technologies and in inferring user behavior patterns from various types of sensor data. She has previously worked at Xerox PARC, IBM Research, Intel Research, and Amazon/Lab126 as well as doing startups. Beverly has 80+ publications, holds over 50 patents, and held 3 affiliate faculty positions in CSE, iSchool, Design (Univ of Washington). She has a B. Mathematics (Waterloo) and a M.Sc. and PhD in Human Factors Engineering (Toronto).

Feb 20 Karyn Moffatt
HCI Professor at McGill Univ.

Accessible Social Technology

For better and worse, technology has changed how we connect with one another, potentially excluding those who have not kept up with changing social norms. To provide one common example: grandparents who have not adopted Facebook often find themselves excluded from family photo sharing practices. In this talk, Karyn will informally discuss recent projects targeted at drawing marginalized individuals into online social forums, with a focus on bridging diverse preferences and accommodating competing needs.

Karyn Moffatt is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. Currently, her work focuses on designing tools that are sensitive to the social context in which they will be used and that seek to leverage and support those relationships. Prior to joining McGill University, Karyn was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto supported by awards from NSERC and CIHR’s Health Care, Technology, and Place strategic initiative. She received her doctorate in computer science from the University of British Columbia in 2010.

Feb 27 Romain Vuillemot
March 6 Megan Monroe
PhD Student

The Talk Talk

So you have to give a talk, now what? Well, it's probably too late to run, and nobody likes a hider, so your best bet is to just suck it up, and start prepping your talk. But how? What should you do first? What are you even trying to accomplish here? Prepping a talk is not only a daunting prospect, but it's really easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the big picture. In this brown bag, I'll be laying out that big picture, and providing a step-by-step roadmap of how to get there. The goal is to give rookie talk-givers a better sense of direction as they navigate the shadowy abyss of prepping a talk. I'm also hoping that some of the more experienced talk-givers can chime in with some of their best tips and tricks for building a slammin' talk.

Megan Monroe is a fifth year PhD student in the Computer Science Department who feels super awkward writing about herself in the third person. That being said, she has given a lot of talks, and is loosely presumed to proficient in this area.

March 13 cancelled
March 20 No Brown Bag. Spring Break.
March 27 Jessica Vitak
Assistant Professor in iSchool
HCIL faculty member

Privacy Management in the Digital Age

While regularly used for interpersonal communication, relationship maintenance, and information sharing, newer communication technologies such as Facebook and Twitter have also created significant tension between individuals’ desire to maintain privacy and to be engaged participants in online communities. Problems arise due to the increasing diversity of users on these sites, a lack of privacy management knowledge and/or skills, and the often-changing privacy standards of the sites themselves. Rather than proactively engaging this complexity, many users employ reactive privacy management strategies—until something bad happens to me, I won’t worry about the information I’m sharing. Understanding how people conceptualize privacy and how that conceptualization influences behavior is increasingly important in today’s networked world, as individuals—and information—are now connected in more ways than ever before. The affordances of social media distinguish them from other communication channels, both on- and offline, with content being easier to search and archive, while people and content are more highly linked within systems. Thus, the consequences of employing more reactive strategies are far-reaching, with potential impacts on personal relationships, financials, work, and beyond. In this talk, I’ll highlight some of my recent findings on this topic as well as overview my expected research trajectory for the next few years in this very active space.

April 3 Chris Imbriano
CS Ph.D. Student
Inclusive Design Lab

Talk and discussion about GitHub and why the HCIL may want to adopt it.

In this talk, Chris (and others) will lead a talk and discussion about GitHub. Generally, Chris will give an overview of GitHub and facilitate a discussion about why the HCIL might want to adopt GitHub in some way, perhaps by making an "Organization" entity under which projects can be created and students, faculty, and others in the HCIL can check in their code.

April 10 Vanessa Frias-Martinez
Assistant Professor in iSchool

From Digital Footprints to Social Insights

The pervasiveness of cell phones, mobile applications and social media is generating vast amounts of information that can reveal a wide range of human behavior. From mobility patterns to social connections, these signals expose insights about how humans behave and interact with their environment. While a lot of work has focused on analyzing behaviors, relatively little effort has been dedicated to understanding ways in which such findings could be useful to decision makers in areas like smart cities or public health. In this talk I will discuss two projects: (1) AlertImpact, an agent-based framework that uses geo-referenced cell phone data to model the impact of the preventive actions implemented by the Mexican government during the H1N1 flu outbreak and (2) TweetLand, a method to automatically identify urban land uses and landmarks (point of interest) using tweeting patterns.

April 17 Alex Pompe
Senior Technical Advisor at IREX

Bridging ICT4D lessons from the NGO sector towards academia (Slides)

Abstract: ICT4D professionals in both the academic and NGO areas stand to benefit from greater collaboration, awareness, and transparency of experiences. However, often at conferences both groups are frustrated due to a lack of common understanding and misconceptions. This talk will present a number of case studies from IREX's ICT work in a variety of regions focused on providing open discussion and discourse so that lessons from all development practitioners can be lent towards improving processes on both sides of the table. The talk will also include discussion of internships and job skills in the ICT4D sector from an NGO employer's perspective.
As a Senior Technical Advisor at IREX, Alex Pompe is a lead member of the Center for Collaborative Technology managing the NGO's ICT4D consulting portfolio. Clients come for a range of countries such as Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Nepal, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bhutan. This work focuses on public access to information barriers and community assessment methodologies. He oversees the Libraries for Development program in Namibia, the Tech Age Teachers program in Tunisia, and the New Education Technology program in Kazakhstan. He splits time between the IREX DC and Namibia offices. Alex holds a BS in physics from the University of Illinois, and an MSI from the University of Michigan School of Information. He focused on information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D).

April 24 Matt Mauriello
HCI CS Grad Student
CHI2014 Practice Talk: Social Fabric Fitness
May 1 No Brown Bag. CHI 2014 from April 26 to May 1.
May 8 Michael Gubbels, Human-Computer Interaction Master's Student
Jon Gluck, Computer Science Ph.D. Student
Kent Wills, Computer Science Master's Student

Introduction to 3D Printing in the HCIL (Slides)

Graduate students will lead an interactive discussion of 3D printing and a tutorial on how to use the printers in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab.

Spring 2013

Date Leader Topic
Jan 24
Jan 31 John Gomez
Feb 7 Ben Bederson Tools for synchronous crowdsourcing
Feb 14
Feb 21
Feb 28 Lisa Anthony (Host: Leah Findlater) Gestural Interaction for Children
March 7 Awalin Sopan Wrong Patient Selection Problem
March 14 Michael Smith-Welch? (Host Jon Froehlich) Kids, Programming, and Makerspaces
March 21 Spring Break (No BBL)
March 28
April 4 Ben Bederson, Jon Froehlich, Leah Findlater HCIL Discussion: Activities, BBL, email lists, etc.
April 11 Urah Oh, Anne Bowser CHI Practice Talks: (1) Urah Oh (full paper) and (2) Anne Bowser (full paper)
April 18 Megan Monroe, Kotaro Hara CHI Practice Talks: (1) Megan Monroe (full paper) and (2) Kotaro Hara (full paper)
April 25
May 2 CHI 2013 (No BBL)
May 9

Fall 2013

Who Type Topic
Th, Sept 5 No Brown Bag. Rosh Hashanah.
Th, Sept 12 Jon Froehlich
Assistant Professor in CS and HCIL faculty member
Talk/Discussion HCIL Hackerspace
Th, Sept 19 HCIL/HCI Graduate Students facilitated by Michael Gubbels and Tak Yeon Lee Talk/Discussion

The goal of this session is to provide several students at various points in their academic programs

, but especially new students, with a chance to talk about (1) their interests, (2) the projects to which they've contributed, and (3) those they'd like to do. Our hope is that this will allow new students to introduce themselves and convey their interests in a way that helps them find others with shared interests and form working relationships on projects with professors and other students. Students will have 5–8 minutes to introduce themselves and their interests, their previous and current projects, skills and expertise, and their future interests in HCI and the HCIL. Hopefully, this will help new students connect with professors and other students with whom they share interests and can work together on research projects. Following talks will be about 10 minutes for discussion with the presenting students (perhaps for asking them to join a project team).

Wed, Sept 25 Jonathan Donner External Speaker

Everybody’s internet? :Designing for mobile-centric internet users in the developing world

Within 5 years, wireless broadband services will cover 85% of the world’s population, and data-enabled mobile (cellular) devices will outnumber personal computers and tablets. This talk, taken from a book in preparation, details the growing importance of ‘mobile-centric internet use’ in the developing world, raising questions and challenges for design. A breathlessly optimistic narrative has proclaimed the mobile phone the device which will finally close the ‘digital divide’, but the digital world does not run exclusively on mobile handsets. To guide policy and technical investments in socioeconomic development— I argue that it is better to reframe and view the mobile handset as one piece of a person’s digital repertoire, which also might include PCs, telecentres, TVs, tablets, and other devices. In the talk and in the book I revisit some of my previous studies in three domains of socioeconomic development: microenterprises and livelihoods, citizen journalism, and secondary education. Across each, I celebrate the transformational potential of the mobile phone. Yet, in each case, I use the “digital repertoires” lens to raise concerns, identifying how the capacity to generate, produce, and curate information may remain concentrated among those with better resources to secure digital tools, and the skills and incentives to use them. The person with $30 basic data-enabled phone and the person with a smartphone and a state-of-the-art $1000 desktop computer both can connect to the internet; however, it is not the same internet. Yet these persistent digital stratifications can be reduced if technologists, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers work to ensure that constrained digital repertoires enable not only coordination and consumption (which phones already do well), but also contribution (which they do less well). From natural user interfaces to language support to bandwidth pricing, there are concrete ways in which more empathetic design and policy can help a greater proportion of the world’s inhabitants be more productive with their ICTs.

Jonathan Donner - Researcher, Technology for Emerging Markets, Microsoft Research

Jonathan Donner is a researcher in the Technology for Emerging Markets Group (TEM) at Microsoft Research. For the last decade, Jonathan has published research on the remarkable growth in mobile telephony in the developing world, focusing on its implications for socioeconomic development and inclusion in the informational society, as well as its uses in everyday life. His projects at TEM include Microenterprise Development, Mobile Banking, Citizen Journalism, Mobile Health, and Youth and New Media. His research provides rare perspective on design and mobile HCI issues for those who want to build applications for the fastest growing group of internet users in the world: “mobile centric” internet users. Prior to Joining Microsoft Research, he was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and worked with Monitor Company and the OTF Group, consultancies in Boston, MA. He is the author, with Richard Ling, of Mobile Communication (Polity, 2009), and co-editor, with Patricia Mechael, of mHealth in Practice: Mobile Technology for Health Promotion in the Developing world (Bloomsbury Academic, 2012). His research also appears in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, The Information Society, Information Technologies and International Development, The Journal of International Development, and Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization. His Ph.D. is from Stanford University in Communication Research. Jonathan is based in South Africa and is a visiting academic at the University of Cape Town’s Centre in ICT4D. He is currently working on a new book, provisionally titled After Access: Mobile Internet in the Developing World. Further details on Jonathan’s research are at and via twitter as @jcdonner

Th, Oct 3 Ed Cutrell External Speaker
Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research

The Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research India seeks to address the needs and aspirations of people in the world's developing communities. Our research targets people who are just beginning to use computing technologies and services as well as those for whom access to computing still remains largely out of reach. Most of our work falls under the rubric of the relatively young field of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICTD or ICT4D). By combining a variety of backgrounds and training, we are able to engage deeply with some of the complex problems associated with poverty and scarce resources. Our goal is to study, design, build, and evaluate technologies and systems that are useful for people living in underserved rural and urban communities around the world. In this talk, I will give an overview of some of the recent work in the group, focusing on projects that explore modalities and interactions specifically designed for the unique contexts and users we’re working with:
1) VideoKheti: A prototype multimodal system to help low-literate farmers search for agricultural extension videos on smart phones.
2) IVR Junction: A platform for building scalable and distributed voice forums for users with low-end phones.
3) Massively Empowered Classrooms (MEC): A project to explore how innovations in MOOCs and blended learning can be applied to second-tier, large-scale engineering education in India.
4) Maybe something else, depending on the interests of the audience

Ed Cutrell manages the Technology for Emerging Markets (TEM) group at Microsoft Research India. Ed has been working in the field of human-computer interaction since 2000, studying everything from novel interaction techniques to interfaces for search and information retrieval. His current research focuses on Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D). The goal of this work is to understand how people in the world's poor and developing communities interact with information technologies and to invent new ways for technology to meet their needs and aspirations. He is trained in cognitive neuropsychology, with a PhD from the University of Oregon.

Th, Oct 10 Marshini Chetty
Assistant Professor in iSchool and HCIL faculty member
HCI and Networking - Taming the Internet One Bit at a Time

As we become more dependent on high speed Internet, we increasingly have to deal with making sure our devices are connected properly, that we're getting the speeds we need, and that we're making efficient use of our data. Yet often, Internet connections break or do not work as planned, causing us endless headaches. We also have to juggle constraints such as slow speeds, limited bandwidth, and high data costs depending on our location and use. My research focuses on helping users manage Internet connectivity in their homes, the workplace, and on the go, particularly under constraints of low resources and high costs. In this talk, I'll go over how I use HCI and networking to reach the goal of taming the Internet for everyday users and talk about future directions.
Marshini Chetty is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland specializing in human computer interaction and ubiquitous computing. Marshini's research focuses on making information about infrastructure technologies more readily available to everyday users to help them manage complex systems such as broadband networks. She has a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Science from University of Cape Town, South Africa. Prior to joining the iSchool, she completed post-doctoral fellowships at ResearchICTAfrica assessing the quality of broadband in South Africa and Georgia Institute of Technology in the College of Computing creating novel home networking tools. She has completed internships at technology giants IBM Research in New York, and with Microsoft Research in Seattle, Cambridge, U.K., and Cape Town. Her awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, a Google Anita Borg Scholarship, and an Intel PhD fellowship during her graduate career. Marshini’s work has also been featured in popular technology blogs, notably Slashdot, Ars Technical, Network World, and BoingBoing!

Th, Oct 17 Kotaro Hara
CS PhD Student

Uran Oh
CS PhD Student
ASSETS'13 Practice Talks Talk 1: Improving Public Transit Accessibility for Blind Riders by Crowdsourcing Bus Stop Landmark Locations With Google Street View

Talk 2: Follow That Sound: Using Sonification and Corrective Verbal Feedback to Teach Touchscreen Gestures
Th, Oct 24 Makeability Lab
Jon Froehlich's research group in the HCIL
Discussion Reflective discussion of experience exhibiting projects at Silver Spring Mini-Maker Faire.
Th, Oct 31 Jen Golbeck
Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies, Affiliate Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department, Affiliate in the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, and HCIL Director
Work In Progress Discussion HCI and Cybersecurity
Th, Nov 7 Bryan Sivak
Chief Technology Officer at U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
External Speaker
Bryan Sivak's bio

Bryan Sivak joined HHS as the Chief Technology Officer in July 2011. In this role, he is responsible for helping HHS leadership harness the power of data, technology, and innovation to improve the health and welfare of the nation. Previously, Bryan served as the Chief Innovation Officer to Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, where he has led Maryland’s efforts to embed concepts of innovation into the DNA of state government. He has distinguished himself in this role as someone who can work creatively across a large government organization to identify and implement the best opportunities for improving the way the government works. Prior to his time with Governor O’Malley, Bryan served as Chief Technology Officer for the District of Columbia, where he created a technology infrastructure that enhanced communication between the District’s residents and their government, and implemented organizational reforms that improved efficiency, program controls, and customer service. Bryan previously worked in the private sector, co-founding InQuira, Inc., a multi-national software company, in 2002, and Electric Knowledge LLC, which provided one of the world's first Natural Language Search engines available on the web in 1998.

Th, Nov 14 Erica Estrada
Lecturer, Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

(Tammy Clegg, contact)

External Speaker/Design Charette Design Thinking
Th, Nov 21 June Ahn
Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and College of Education (joint appointment), and HCIL faculty member
Work In Progress Discussion Video Games, Blended Learning, and Large-scale Education Reform
Th, Nov 28 No Brown Bag. Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
Th, Dec 5 Shannon Collis
Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Maryland
Discussion of creative work in digital media and computational arts.

Shannon Collis is a Canadian artist currently residing in Baltimore, MD. A graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Collis is also completing research at Concordia University in Montreal in the area of Digital Media and Computation Arts (Fall 2013). Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Maryland, where she teaches Digital Foundations and Print Media. Her studio practice focuses on creating installations and interactive environments that explore various ways in which digital technologies can transform our perception of audio and visual stimuli. Her work has been exhibited across North America as well as in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Th, Dec 12

Learn more about the BBL student (co-)coordinator position.