Past Brown Bag Lunch Schedules

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The following are the past Brown Bag schedules.

Fall 2016

Date Leader Topic

Kickoff to a new Semester!

Come network, make introductions, and share what each of us is working on

Please come to our first BBL of the fall 2016-2017 academic year 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.


CHI Papers Clinic Lunch

Abstract: TBD

Bio: TBD

09/15/2016 Karen Holtzblatt
InContext Design / University of Maryland, College Park

Contextual Design, Cool Concepts, and Women in Tech Project

Abstract: Karen has recently joined University of Maryland as a Research Scientist and will provide a brief overview of her work in user-centered design techniques and innovation as well as her new work understanding and creating intervention methods to help technology companies retain women.

Karen will share the new techniques described in her upcoming book Contextual Design V2: Design for life. Because of the revolution in how technology is now integrated into life with smartphones and tablets, designers and researchers must consider new ways of collecting and using user data. The Cool Project helped define the key aspects we must now consider; these led to changes in the Contextual Design Method.

Karen will also share the focus of her research on women in technology at the iSchool . Currently through collaborating with many in the industry The Women in Tech Project presents a framework for what keeps women satisfied and successful. They have also developed a measure which is being honed. More research will be occurring as well as the creation of intervention games and techniques.

Bio: Karen Holtzblatt is the inventor of Contextual Inquiry and co-founder of InContext Design, which began in 1992 to use Contextual Design techniques to work with product teams to deliver market data and design solutions to clients across multiple industries. Her books, Contextual Design: Defining Customer Centered Systems, and Rapid Contextual Design, are used by companies and universities all over the world.

Karen is a member of the CHI Academy (awarded to significant contributors in the Computer Human Interaction Association) and in 2010 received CHI’s first Life Time Award for Practice for her impact on the field. She holds a doctorate in applied psychology from the University of Toronto.

09/22/2016 Elissa Redmiles
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park

How I Learned to be Secure: a Census-Representative Survey of Security Advice Sources and Behavior

Abstract: Few users have a single, authoritative, source from whom they can request digital-security advice. Rather, digital- security skills are often learned haphazardly, as users filter through an overwhelming quantity of security advice. By understanding the factors that contribute to users' advice sources, beliefs, and security behaviors, we can help to pare down the quantity and improve the quality of advice provided to users, streamlining the process of learning key behaviors. In this work we rigorously investigated how users' security beliefs, knowledge, and demographics correlate with their sources of security advice, and how all these factors influence security behaviors. Using a carefully pre-tested, U.S.-census-representative survey of 526 users, we present an overview of the prevalence of respondents' advice sources, reasons for accepting and rejecting advice from those sources, and the impact of these sources and demographic factors on security behavior. We find evidence of a "digital divide" in security: the advice sources of users with higher skill levels and socioeconomic status dier from those with fewer resources. This digital security divide may add to the vulnerability of already disadvantaged users. We conclude with recommendations for combating the digital divide and improving the efficacy of digital-security advice.

Bio: Elissa Redmiles is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on usable security - the intersection between Cyber-security and Human Computer Interaction. Elissa was a 2015 Eric and Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., she held Marketing Management and Software Engineering roles at IBM and completed her B.S. in Computer Science, cum laude, at the University of Maryland.

09/29/2016 Gregg Vanderheiden
Director, Trace R&D Center, University of Maryland, College Park

UMD’s New Trace Center; Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Abstract: The Trace R&D Center just landed on campus in the iSchool. Founded at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1971, it has for 45 years been a leader in Technology and Disability research, development, and policy. Trace Center developments are found in every modern operating system, US Automated Postal Stations, Amtrak Kiosks, DHS Airport kiosks, and ICT of all types. Trace guidelines and work were used as the foundation for IBM, Microsoft, Apple and other companies' access guidelines as well as key parts of the W3C's WCAG 1 and 2, and US Access Board’s 508/255 guidelines. A brief history of the Trace Center will be provided followed by an overview of the current programs, partners, and potential future directions. Opportunities to get involved will also be explored.

Bio: Dr. Vanderheiden has been active in the area of Technology and Disability for over 45 years. His early work was in Augmentative Communication, a term taken from his writings in the late 70’s. Starting in 1979, his focus shifted to personal computers and he worked inside Apple, Microsoft and IBM on increasing the accessibility and usability of their products. Apple included features in Apple IIe, gs, and MacOS and iOS. IBM and Microsoft licensed 9 features from Dr. Vanderheiden’s group for inclusion in DOS, OS/2, and Windows. Dr. Vanderheiden co-chaired and co-authored the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0 and 2.0), worked with the Access Board on 255 and 508, and lead the effort to develop the EZ-Access package of cross-disability access features that are now built into Amtrak ticket machines, Automated Postal Stations, Homeland Security Passport Kiosks, and many other ITMs across the country. His current focus is on the development of a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII).

10/06/2016 John Wilbanks,
Sage Bionetworks

Using Human Centered Design to Make Informed Consent Actually Inform

Abstract: Mobile technologies have the potential to revolutionize both the way in which individuals monitor their health as well as the way researchers are able to collect frequent, yet sparse data on participants in clinical studies. In order for data from these devices to have maximal impact in a research setting however, the development of systems to collect, manage, and broadly share these data is essential. Possibly more important are the social constructs on which these systems need to be built to allow maximal utility to come from these data while minimizing adverse impact on individual participants. More specifically, the union of these systems and constructs must be an ecosystem build upon trust. We will present one such ecosystem focused on putting the participant at the center of the data collection: specifically by acknowledging possible risks to both individual participants as well as sub-populations of participants, providing opt-in settings for broad data sharing, and the development of an open research ecosystem built upon a social contract between researchers and research participants. A case study of one such mHealth study, leveraging Apple’s ResearchKit framework, will be presented and discussed.

Bio: John Wilbanks is the Chief Commons Officer at Sage Bionetworks. Previously, Wilbanks worked as a legislative aide to Congressman Fortney “Pete” Stark, served as the first assistant director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, founded and led to acquisition the bioinformatics company Incellico, Inc., and was executive director of the Science Commons project at Creative Commons. In February 2013, in response to a We the People petition that was spearheaded by Wilbanks and signed by 65,000 people, the U.S. government announced a plan to open up taxpayer-funded research data and make it available for free. Wilbanks holds a B.A. in philosophy from Tulane University and also studied modern letters at the Sorbonne.

10/13/2016 Fan Du
HCIL, University of Maryland, College Park

EventAction: Visual Analytics for Temporal Event Sequence Recommendation

Abstract: Recommender systems are being widely used to assist people in making decisions, for example, recommending films to watch or books to buy. Despite its ubiquity, the problem of presenting the recommendations of temporal event sequences has not been studied. We propose EventAction, which to our knowledge, is the first attempt at a prescriptive analytics interface designed to present and explain recommendations of temporal event sequences. EventAction provides a visual analytics approach to (1) identify similar records, (2) explore potential outcomes, (3) review recommended temporal event sequences that might help achieve the users' goals, and (4) interactively assist users as they define a personalized action plan associated with a probability of success. Following the design study framework, we designed and deployed EventAction in the context of student advising and reported on the evaluation with a student review manager and three graduate students.

Bio: Fan Du is a computer science Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland, College Park. He works as a research assistant with Prof. Ben Shneiderman and Dr. Catherine Plaisant. His research focuses on data visualization and human-computer interaction, especially on analyzing healthcare data and user activity logs.

10/20/2016 Grant McKenzie,
University of Maryland, College Park

Exploring dimensions of 'place'

Abstract: Place is one of the foundational concepts on which the field of Geographical Sciences has been built. Traditionally, geographic information science research into place has been approached from a spatial perspective. While space is an integral feature of place, it represents only a single dimension (or a combination of three dimensions to be exact), in the complex, multidimensional concept that is place. With the increased availability of large, user-generated datasets, it has becoming increasingly apparent that the value of 'big data' lies not necessarily in its size, but in its heterogeneity. In my research, I exploit this heterogeneity to build computational, data-driven models of human behavior, taking a multi-dimensional approach to investigating place and the activities people carry out at those places. In this talk I introduce the concept of Semantic Signatures built from spatial, temporal and thematic dimensions extracted from user-contributed, and authoritative datasets. I show how these signatures can enhance existing geolocation methods, form the foundation of place-similarity models and contribute to visualizing the platial pulse of a city.

Bio: Grant McKenzie is an assistant professor in the Department of Geographical Sciences at the University of Maryland, College Park, affiliate of the Center for Geospatial Information Science and director of the Place Time Analysis Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2015) and a Master of Applied Science degree from the University of Melbourne (2008). Grant's research interests lie in spatio-temporal data analysis, geovisualization, place-based data analytics and the intersection of information technologies and society. More information on D. Grant McKenzie and his research can be found at and

10/27/2016 Greg Walsh,
University of Baltimore

Life in the Big City: A reflection of four years of HCI Education and Research in Baltimore

Abstract: For the last four years, I have been an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore. In those four years, I’ve developed 11 different courses, started a research lab and co-design team (KidsteamUB), and integrated community engagement into our graduate UX classes. In this talk, I will discuss how my research has morphed to be accommodating to the urban university experience, and how life in the HCIL prepared me for these challenges as well as some lessons learned that I can share.

Bio: Greg Walsh earned his PhD from the UMD iSchool in 2012 and has been an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore ever since. He is the graduate program director for the MS in Interaction Design and Information Architecture as well as the UX Design program. He is ruggedly handsome and a recipient of a Google 2015 Faculty Research Award.

11/03/2016 John Dickerson, Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park

Better Matching Markets via Optimization

Abstract: The exchange of indivisible goods without money addresses a variety of constrained economic settings where a medium of exchange—such as money—is considered inappropriate. Participants are either matched directly with another participant or, in more complex domains, in barter cycles and chains with other participants before exchanging their endowed goods. We show that techniques from computer science and operations research, combined with the recent availability of massive data and inexpensive computing, can guide the design of such matching markets and enable the markets by running them in the real world.

A key application domain for our work is kidney exchange, an organized market where patients with end-stage renal failure swap willing but incompatible donors. We present new models that address three fundamental dimensions of kidney exchange: (i) uncertainty over the existence of possible trades, (ii) balancing efficiency and fairness, and (iii) inherent dynamism. For each dimension, we design scalable branch-and-price-based integer programming market clearing methods. Next, we combine these dimensions, along with high-level human-provided guidance, into a unified framework for learning to match in a general dynamic setting. This framework, which we coin FutureMatch, takes as input a high-level objective (e.g., “maximize graft survival of transplants over time”) decided on by experts, then automatically learns based on data how to make this objective concrete and learns the “means” to accomplish this goal—a task that, in our experience, humans handle poorly.

Bio: John Dickerson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. I'm the lead developer of the US nationwide kidney exchange program, and lead developer of a better way to deal with TV advertisements (currently in the pilot phase with two of the nation's largest MSOs). He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, and has been supported by a Facebook Fellowship, Siebel Scholarship, and an NDSEG Fellowship.

11/10/2016 Bill Kules, iSchool, University of Maryland, College Park

Teaching JavaScript as Social Justice: Interrogating Culture, Bias and Equity in an Introductory Programming Course

Abstract: When learning skills like computer programming, students need to develop an understanding of issues of culture, bias and equity at the same time that they learn the technical elements. As information professionals they will need to understand and navigate these issues. This presentation describes a course that integrates both social justice and technical elements, instead of separating them into different courses as is typical practice. I will describe the approach and structure and reflect on the experience and student feedback. I will invite all of us to discuss the creative tension in teaching both technical and ethical skills, and how we can embed these across the curriculum.

Bio: Dr. Bill Kules is Visiting Associate Professor at the iSchool. Prior to joining the iSchool, he was Chair of the Department of Library and Information Science (LIS) at The Catholic University of America. Dr. Kules seeks to improve educational practice and outcomes in LIS education through teaching, research and advocacy, with a particular interest in helping students understand how information technology is situated in and reflects broader social structures, constructs and issues such as race, class and gender. He has experience in blended curriculum development, faculty development and mentoring, and continuous program improvement through systematic planning and outcomes assessment.

Before joining academia, Dr. Kules spent 20 years designing and implementing information systems for a variety of applications, including wireless telephony, customer service, banking, and a multimedia web sites. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Maryland in 2006.

11/17/2016 Mohammed AlGhamdi,
McGill University

Usability of Three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study of the Think Aloud Approach

Abstract: A recent review examining 10 years of research between 1999 and 2009 and focusing on the application of virtual reality technology for educational purposes, has found that the majority of interest from the research community has centered on the learning outcomes of such applications (Mikropoulos & Natsis, 2011). Out of the 53 studies reviewed by Mikropoulos & Natsis, 50 have examined the learning outcomes of such environments. While the findings of this review have revealed that learning outcomes were overwhelmingly positive for such environments, the review has also identified other topics of great interest and importance to such applications that have received very little attention from the research community. One specific topic that has not received adequate attention from researchers examining 3D virtual learning environments is usability. This is of great concern as usability has been shown to influence the learning experiences of users of 3D virtual learning environments, which in turn affects their learning outcomes (Dede, Salzman, Loftin, & Sprague, 1999; Lee, Wong, & Fung, 2010; Merchant et al., 2012).

The few studies that have examined the usability of 3D virtual learning environments have predominately focused on the collection of users’ likes and dislikes through the utilization of inquiry-based usability evaluation approaches such as questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups (Dede et al., 1996; Di Blas et al., 2005; Lu, 2008; McArdle et al., 2010; Monahan et al., 2008; Perera et al., 2009; Roussos et al., 1999; Virvou & Katsionis, 2008). While this type of data is of value, it fails to provide usability information based on actual system use; rather, it provides subjective feelings reported by end users regarding system use.

In an effort to examine how other usability evalaution approaches can be utilized to provide valuable data stemming from actual system use, my PhD research focused on exploring the use of the think aloud approach for the usability evalaution of a three-dimensional virtual learning environment by end users. In this talk, I will present the research I conducted to explore the impact of the think aloud approach on the validity of various usability metrics collected during the usability evaluation of a specific three-dimensional virtual learning environment by early-teens between the ages of 14-15 years.

Bio: Mohammed J. Alghamdi is a faculty member at the School of Information Sciences at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah Saudi Arabia. He is currently a PhD student in the School of Information Studies in McGill University. He has recently submitted his PhD thesis dissertation titled “Usability of Three-dimensional Virtual Learning Environments: An Exploratory Study of the Think Aloud Approach” and is awaiting to defend it in December of 2016. Throughout his time at the School of Information Studies, he has been involved in research studies focusing on the information seeking process of early-teens engaged in inquiry-based learning as well as research focusing on intergenerational design teams. He has also conducted information literacy seminars for middle school students in the Montreal, Quebec area.

11/24/2016 No Brown Bag, Thanksgiving Break.
12/01/2016 HCIL

Discussion: Diversity in Tech

Abstract: Join us for a conversation about diversity in tech. We'll explore disparities in the field, consider the causes of this issue, and discuss what we as HCI educators, researchers, and professionals can do to close this gap. Before joining us on Thursday, please take a some time to read Vauhini Vara's Bloomberg Businessweek article Why Doesn't Silicon Valley Hire Black Coders? and look over some statistics from the Information is Beautiful and the Wall Street Journal on this topic. We'll use these resources as a starting point for our conversation.

12/08/2016 HCIL

HCIL Seasonal Cookie Exchange

Abstract: To celebrate the end-of-year holidays, the HCIL will have a cookie exchange/get-together in the lab during the last HCIL brown bag of the semester. Cookie exchanges work by individuals bringing in small bags of cookies (e.g., five bags of chocolate chip cookies) and then selecting that number of other types of cookies (e.g., a bag of sugar cookies, oatmeal raisin, peanut blossoms, etc.) We encourage people to bring cookies in bags (5-6 bags of 5-6 cookies). However, even if you can’t bring in cookies, please still join us for this festive event!
Sign up for the cookie exchange here:

Spring 2016

Date Leader Topic

Kickoff to a new Semester!

Come network, make introductions, share what each of us is working on, and learn about the new HCIL website

Please come to our first BBL of the spring and introduce yourself, and share what you're working on in the coming semester. We'll also cover our new HCIL website and ask our community to help us tweak and improve it (so bring your laptops if you can). The first BBL will be for us to network with each other and kickoff a great new semester.

Tom Yeh
Assistant Professor, University of Colorado CS (link). Host: Jon Froehlich

Printing Pictures in 3D

Abstract: The Tactile Picture Book Project (TPBP) is a research endeavor that utilizes 3D printing as a new media platform for designing, developing, and distributing information in a tangible format. The mission of TPBP is to give children with visual impairments access to a lot more pictures they can "see" by touch and feel. To date, the TPBP team has made 3D adaptations for several children's book classics such as Goodnight Moon, Harold and the Purple Crayon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Dear Zoo, and Noah's Ark. In this talk, Yeh will demonstrate examples of 3D pictures, discuss the technical challenges encountered in creating these pictures, and share the many valuable lessons learned through the process. In addition, Yeh will present CraftML, a new 3D modeling markup language designed to mimic common web technologies including HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. CraftML allows web designers without prior 3D modeling experience to easily bring their creative talents and design skills to the domain of 3D modeling. The TPBP is supported by a research grant from the National Science Foundation and has appeared in several news outlets such as 9News, Newsweek, DailyCamera, DailyMail, New Scientist, Science Daily, and NPR. (For more information see:,,

Bio: Tom Yeh received his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for studying vision-based user interfaces. In 2012, he joined the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) as an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science. Prior to joining CU, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS). Dr. Yeh's research interests include 3D printing, big data, citizen science, and mobile security. He has published more than 30 articles across these interest areas. He has received best paper awards and honorable mentions from CHI, UIST, and MobileHCI. In 2014, he received the Student Affairs Faculty of the Year Award. Dr. Yeh's research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

02/11/2016 Cliff Lampe
Associate Professor, University of Michigan iSchool (link) Host: Jessica Vitak

Citizen Interaction Design and its Implications for HCI

Abstract: Cliff Lampe will be describing the Citizen Interaction Design program at the University of Michigan, which has the goals of teaching HCI and UX skills to students by having them work on civic engagement applications in coordination with Michigan cities. The goals of the program are to explore the role of HCI in civic engagement, to train students in the concept of sustainable interaction design, and to develop new forms of “town/gown” relationships. Dr. Lampe will describe the elements of the program, and then discuss the pros and cons of different efforts over the last three years. The talk will conclude by placing CID in the context of larger trends in HCI and social computing research, in particular the expanding set of domains that HCI is trying to cover - and what that means for rigorous research.

Bio: Cliff Lampe is an Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. His research focuses on prosocial outcomes of social computing systems, including the positive effects of social media interaction, civic engagement through social software, and nonprofit use of social computing tools. In that work, he’s collaborated on studies of sites like Facebook, Reddit, Wikipedia,, Slashdot and more. Cliff is serving as the Technical Program Chair for CHI2016 and CHI2017, as Vice President for Publications for ACM SIGCHI, and as Steering Committee Chair Elect for the CSCW community. In Dungeons and Dragons, he prefers the Druid player class.

02/18/2016 Thomas Haigh
Associate Professor of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (link) Host: ???

Working on ENIAC: The Lost Labors of the Information Age

Abstract: Books and shows about the history of information technology have usually focused on great inventors and technical breakthroughs, from Charles Babbage and Alan Turing to Steve Jobs and the World Wide Web. Computer operations work has been written out of the story, but without it no computer would be useful. Information historians Thomas Haigh and Mark Priestley are writing it back in. This talk focused on ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer, based on research for their book ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer, published by MIT Press in January, 2016. They explains that the women now celebrated as the “first computer programmers” were actually hired as computer operators and worked hands-on with the machine around the clock. They then look at business data processing work from the 1950s onward, exploring the grown of operations and facilities work during the mainframe era. Concluding comments relate this historical material to the human work and physical infrastructure today vanishing from public view into the “cloud.”

Bio: Thomas Haigh received his Ph.D. in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania after earning two degrees in Computer Science from the University of Manchester. Haigh has published on many aspects of the history of computing including the evolution of data base management systems, word processing, the software package concept, corporate computer departments, Internet software, computing in science fiction, computer architecture, and the gendered division of work in data processing. As well as ENIAC in Action (MIT, 2016) he edited Histories of Computing (Harvard, 2011), a collection of the work of Michael S. Mahoney. He write the “Historical Reflections” column for Communications of the ACM. His new projects are an reexamination of the wartime Colossus codebreaking machine and a book, Acolytes of Information, on the history of information systems work in the American corporation.

02/25/2016 Adil Yalcin
PhD Candidate in Computer Science at UMD (link)

Keshif: Data Exploration using Aggregate Summaries and Multi-Mode Linked Selections

Abstract: We present a new aggregation and multi-mode linked selection framework for data exploration. To enable scalable data overviews, aggregates group records by their attribute values and measure group characteristics within data summaries. To reveal details, linked selections visualize data distributions on aggregations upon interaction with three complementary modes: highlighting, filtering, comparison. This model is domain independent, expressive, minimal, and scalable, and constructs an exploration space without the complexity of manual visualizations and interaction specification tasks. We implemented this framework for tabular data as a web-based tool, Keshif. A Keshif data browser combines summarized aggregations on existing or calculated attributes, and individual records. Data exploration is supported from importing raw data, to authoring, sharing, and forking data browsers, through a fluid, consistent, rapid, and animated interaction design. We demonstrate aggregation designs for multiple data types (categorical, set-typed, numeric, timestamp, spatial) using various glyphs and non-overlapping visualizations (bar, line, icon, disc, geo-area). We illustrate examples from 130+ publicly published Keshif data browsers from diverse domains.

Bio: M. Adil Yalcin, is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Computer Science at University of Maryland, College Park, and a member of Human Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL). His goal is to lower human-centered barriers to data exploration and presentation. His research focuses on information visualization and interaction design, implementation, and evaluation. He is the developer of keshif, a web-based tool for rapid exploration of structured datasets. In his previous work, he developed computer graphics techniques and applications.

03/03/2016 Eytan Adar.
Assoc Prof, School of Information, Univ. of Michigan (link). Host: Ben Shneiderman

All the Data Fit to Print: Newsroom Tools for Generating Personalized, Contextually-Relevant Visualizations (Campus Visualizations Partnership lecture)

Abstract Visualizations can enhance news article content by presenting complex facts clearly and providing contextually-relevant visualizations. By using novel natural language and text mining approaches, our systems define "queries" that encode the article's topic (e.g., "unemployment in CA in March," "global average temperatures in 2012") and the comparisons that are made in the article's text (e.g., differences between states or over time) to guide the visualization generation. Compelling visualizations are relevant and 'interesting'-concepts that are very hard measure, but we address these challenges in the Contextifier, NewsViews, and PersaLog systems, which are meant to help journalists tell their stories more effectively (joint work with Brent Hecht, Jessica Hullman, Tong Gao, Carolyn Gearig, Josh Ford, and Nick Diakopoulos).

Bio: Eytan Adar is an Associate Professor in the School of Information & Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. He works at the intersection of HCI and IR/Data Mining and ranges from empirical studies of large-scale online behaviors to building new systems, tools and methods. He has a Bachelors and Masters from MIT and a PHD in Computer Science at the University of Washington. He was a researcher at HP Labs and Xerox PARC, and spun out a company called Outride. Eytan is co-founder of ICWSM and has served as general chair for ICWSM and WSDM. His website is

03/10/2016 Alina Goldman
PhD Student in Information Studies at UMD's iSchool

StreamBED: Teaching Citizen Scientists to Judge Stream Quality with Embodied Virtual Reality Training

Abstract: StreamBED, a new virtual reality (VR) training environment teaches citizen scientists to make holistic assessments about water quality by allowing them to explore and compare virtual watersheds. The initial design of StreamBED garnered positive feedback, but elicited a need for a comprehensive redesign. This talk poses several questions to understand how training may be redesigned to be more engaging and informative.

Bio: Alina is a PhD Student in Information Studies at UMD's iSchool.

03/17/2016 No Brown Bag for Spring Break.
03/24/2016 Daniel Robbins (link)

Visualize getting a job (Campus Visualizations Partnership lecture)

Abstract Everyone hates LinkedIn. While quite useful, its user interface and paucity of visualization tools requires users to infer relationships, rely on short term memory to form mental models, and resort to ancillary tools for tracking progress. Dan will discuss visualization techniques to assist in a typical job search process. These include views and tools to effectively give overviews of professional connections, stay on top of communications, cue up reminders, and generate summaries. To do this, Dan will suggest ways of integrating timelines, faceted search, and social networks, all in the context of mobile design constraints.

Bio: Dan Robbins has lead the creative design and strategy of high-profile, tech-heavy, immersive experiences at the Microsoft Envisioning Center, Artefact, Brown University Computer Graphics Group, Microsoft Research, and Burning Man. Although a trained sculptor, he has published and patented extensively in the areas of UX design for mobile, search, and 3D. Dan weaves together futuristic points of view, empathic observations of the real world, and leading design trends to bring more trust, beauty, magic, and joy into the world. Dan has a very large collection of sculpture supplies in his cold and wet Seattle basement and till very recently, was the proud owner of two broken down artcars. You can see some of Dan's projects via his work and art portfolios (;

03/31/2016 TBD


Abstract: TBD

Bio: TBD

04/07/2016 Andrea Wiggins
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland iSchool (link)

Community-based Data Validation in Citizen Science

Abstract: Technology-supported citizen science has created huge volumes of data with increasing potential to facilitate scientific progress. However, verifying data quality is still a substantial hurdle due to the intended applications of data and limitations of existing data quality mechanisms. The talk discusses results from a paper that received an "Honorable Mention" at CSCW 2016 which investigated community-based data validation practices in an online community where people record what they see in the nature. We also examined the characteristics of records of wildlife species observations that affected the outcomes of collaborative data quality management. The findings describe the processes that both relied upon and added to information provenance through information stewardship behaviors, which led to improvements in indicators of data quality. The likelihood of community-based validation interactions were predicted by several factors, including the types of organisms observed and whether the data were submitted from a mobile device. Unexpected and counter-intuitive results reflect the realities of the material world in which mobile apps are deployed, and suggest implications for design and practice. The talk concludes with discussion of the evolution of recent developments in Federal policies related to crowdsourcing and citizen science.

Bio: Dr. Wiggins is an Assistant Professor at Maryland's iSchool and director of the Open Knowledge Lab at UMD. She studies the design and evolution of sociotechnical systems for large-scale collaboration and knowledge production. Andrea's current work focuses on the role of technologies in citizen science, evaluating individual and collective performance and productivity in open collaboration systems, and the dynamics of open data ecosystems. Andrea serves on several working groups and advisory boards for citizen science projects across a variety of scientific disciplines, and regularly advises federal agencies and nonprofit organizations on citizen science project and technology design.

04/14/2016 CHI Practice Talks
Kotaro Hara & Elissa Redmiles

Kotaro: The Design of Assistive Location-based Technologies for People with Ambulatory Disabilities: A Formative Study
Elissa: I Think They’re Trying to Tell Me Something: Advice Sources and Selection for Digital Security

Abstract (Kotaro): In this paper, we investigate how people with mobility impairments assess and evaluate accessibility in the built environment and the role of current and emerging locationbased technologies therein. We conducted a three-part formative study with 20 mobility impaired participants: a semi-structured interview (Part 1), a participatory design activity (Part 2), and a design probe activity (Part 3). Part 2 and 3 actively engaged our participants in exploring and designing the future of what we call assistive locationbased technologies (ALTs)—location-based technologies that specifically incorporate accessibility features to support navigating, searching, and exploring the physical world. Our Part 1 findings highlight how existing mapping tools provide accessibility benefits—even though often not explicitly designed for such uses. Findings in Part 2 and 3 help identify and uncover useful features of future ALTs. In particular, we synthesize 10 key features and 6 key data qualities. We conclude with ALT design recommendations.

Abstract (Elissa): Users receive a multitude of digital- and physical-security advice every day. Indeed, if we implemented all the security advice we received, we would never leave our houses or use the Internet. Instead, users selectively choose some advice to accept and some (most) to reject; however, it is unclear whether they are effectively prioritizing what is most important or most useful. If we can understand from where and why users take security advice, we can develop more effective security interventions.

As a first step, we conducted 25 semi-structured interviews of a demographically broad pool of users. These interviews resulted in several interesting findings: (1) participants evaluated digital-security advice based on the trustworthiness of the advice source, but evaluated physical-security advice based on their intuitive assessment of the advice content; (2) negative-security events portrayed in well-crafted fictional narratives with relatable characters (such as those shown in TV or movies) may be effective teaching tools for both digital- and physical-security behaviors; and (3) participants rejected advice for many reasons, including finding that the advice contains too much marketing material or threatens their privacy.

04/21/2016 Sir Timothy O'Shea (link) & Eileen Scanlon (link)
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh University, &

Regius Professor of Open Education, The Open University, UK (respectively)

How New Technologies Can Enhance Learner Autonomy

Abstract: Find out more about the new technology-based approaches for supporting education from the perspective of learner autonomy. The University of Edinburgh and the British Open University have made extensive use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), including innovative applications of MOOCs to domains such as real-time political situations and citizen science. While to date, MOOCs and shared virtual environments have augmented rather than displaced more mature modes of e-learning, in the future, individual and distributed groups of learners will be able to become much more autonomous as they take advantage of new developments in data science.

Sir Timothy O'Shea Bio: Tim O’Shea holds a BSc in Mathematics and Experimental Psychology from Sussex University and a PhD in Computer Based Learning from Leeds University. Prior to assuming academic leadership positions at the Open University, Gresham College, the University of London, and Edinburgh University, he worked as a researcher in the Computer Science Department of the University of Texas at Austin, the Bionics Research Lab at the University of Edinburgh and the Systems Concepts Lab, Xerox PARC, California. His research interests include computer-based learning, MOOCs, artificial intelligence, and mathematics education and encompass 10 books, 22 BBC television programs, and 100+ journal articles. In 2014 Debrett's and The Sunday Times named the 500 most influential people in the United Kingdom and listed Tim in the top 30 in Technology.

Eileen Scanlon Bio: Eileen Scanlon is Associate Director of Research and Innovation in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK. She is also Visiting Professor in Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. Previously, she has held visiting academic appointments at University of California Berkeley and the University of London. Eileen has published extensively in the fields of technology enhanced learning and science communication and has been recognized for exceptional contributions to the fields of educational technology and public engagement with the sciences. Her projects have been funded by The European Commission, The Economic and Social Research Council, The Hewlett Foundation, The Higher Education Funding Council for England, Research Councils UK, and The Joint Information Systems Committee.

04/28/2016 Tamara Clegg
Assistant Professor, University of Maryland iSchool & Education (link)

Scientizing Daily Life with New Social, Mobile, & Ubiquitous Technologies

Abstract: How can new technologies help learners begin to see the world through scientific lenses (i.e., scientize their lives)? In this talk I will discuss my research team’s current work in understanding and promoting learners scientific disposition development through technology-supported life-relevant science learning experiences. In the Science Everywhere project, June Ahn, Jason Yip, and our amazing graduate students are designing a social media app and interactive community displays to help entire neighborhoods in low-SES contexts scientize their daily life experiences together. I will describe an initial analysis of learners’ and their families’ interactions with the Science Everywhere mobile app that informs our understanding of ways new mobile technologies can promote learners’ scientizing across contexts. I will also provide an initial look at our work on designing and integrating large community displays in these neighborhood contexts.

Bio: Tamara “Tammy” Clegg is an assistant professor in the College of Education with a joint appointment in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. She received her PhD in Computer Science at Georgia Tech in 2010 and her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina State University in 2002. From 2010-2012 Clegg was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland with the Computing Innovations Fellows program. Her work focuses on developing technology and learning experiences to support life-relevant learning environments where children and communities engage in science in the context of achieving goals relevant to their lives. Clegg uses participatory design to design these new technologies. Her current projects include the design of a social media app and connected community displays called Science Everywhere to engage entire neighborhoods (i.e., learners, teachers, parents, informal educators) in science inquiry connected across community contexts. Additionally, she is working on the design of interactive self-sensing wearables called BodyVis (and supporting learning experiences) that display the dynamic inner-workings of the wearer’s anatomy. Clegg is also co-PI on a project called NatureNet focused on engaging diverse adult communities in community-driven environmental projects with mobile apps and community technologies. These projects are funded by the NSF Cyberlearning and Future Learning Technologies and Advancing Informal Science Learning (AISL) programs.

05/05/2016 Chris Preist
Reader in Sustainability and Computer Systems at Bristol University (link)
Host: Jon Froehlich

On the role of gamification in citizen engagement: What is it good for, and what not?

Abstract: Community campaigning groups typically rely on core groups of highly motivated members. In this talk we consider how crowdsourcing strategies can be used to support such campaigns. We focus on mobile data collection applications and strategies that can be used to engage casual participants in pro-environmental data collection. We report the results of a study conducted with Close The Door Bristol, a community campaign that encourages shops to keep doors shut in winter and so reduce energy consumption. Our study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the impact of different motivational factors and strategies, including both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Specifically we will present analyses of:
- The impact of different motivators and enablers to contribution, including the effect of intrinsic environmental motivation.
- The impact of scoring points and a leaderboard on contribution, and the surprising explanation for the observed behaviour revealed through qualitative analysis.

Bio: Dr Chris Preist is Reader in Sustainability and Computer Systems at the University of Bristol. He leads a team of researchers who combine the disciplines of Industrial Ecology and Computer Science, with two two main themes;
- Modelling the energy use of digital services to allow decisions in software design, internet architecture, business model and user behaviour to be assessed for their impact, both in the short and longer term.
- Using digital services to engage individuals, communities and businesses with pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, most notably in the area of domestic retrofit for energy efficiency. His research partners include the BBC, Guardian News and Media, the Environment Agency, the Carbon Disclosure Project and EDF Energy.
Prior to joining University of Bristol, he was Head of Sustainable IT Research at HP Labs, Bristol from 2007-09, where he led work on the strategic impact of climate change on business and technology development to exploit emerging opportunities. He joined HP Labs in 1987 following a degree in Pure Maths from University of Warwick, and a Ph.D. in logic programming from Imperial College, London. In previous work at HP Labs, he conducted research in artificial intelligence, automated diagnosis, agent-mediated e-commerce and the semantic web.

Fall 2015

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)

Combining Crowds and Computation to Make Discoveries and Solve Mysteries

Abstract: We are living in the era of big data, and making sense of this data to improve the human condition is a major challenge. Automated techniques in machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and other areas have made significant headway, but many types of complex data analysis still require human intervention. Crowdsourcing and human computation raise exciting possibilities for enhancing computational data analysis techniques with scalable human intelligence and creativity, allowing us to solve harder problems and generate deeper insights than humans or computers working alone. In this talk, I will describe several of my recent projects exploring the potential of crowdsourced data analysis. These include Crowdlines, a system that crowdsources a comprehensive overview of a knowledge domain using existing material gathered from the web; Incite, a system that engages non-expert crowds in helping professional scholars make discoveries in large collections of historical documents; and Context Slices, a system that combines crowdsourcing and visual analytics techniques to help experts solve mysteries, such as identifying the subject matter in historical photos or uncovering a terrorist plot in a body of textual evidence.

Bio: Kurt Luther is Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, where he is also Co-Director of Social Informatics for the Center for Human-Computer Interaction. He builds and studies social technologies that support creativity and discovery, often with applications to the creation and analysis of visual media, such as animation, graphic design, and photography. He also explores how social technologies can engage the public in historical research, preservation, and education. His work is currently funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Archives, and Google. Previously, he was a postdoc in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and he holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech.

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 feature HCIL graduate students in the iSchool and Department of Computer Science 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.

11/19/2015 Jen Golbeck
Associate Professor at UMD's iSchool (link)

What I Did On My Sabbatical

Abstract: Last year I was on sabbatical and it was the best thing ever! My plan was to do a little work and mostly sit around and read novels. Instead, I did a TON of work on many cool new things. I'll talk about my book, my projects, my new ventures into public intellectual land, and my winter in Miami.

Bio: Jen Golbeck is the previous director of the HCIL and is an associate professor in the iSchool. She is a computer scientist and studies social media, AI, and privacy/security.

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
Chief System Engineer at Elucid Solutions (link)

The Lucidity Project: Bringing Privacy Back to the Web

Abstract: Many of us have given up the hope of maintaining privacy on the web, willingly handing over our private lives for the opportunity to connect with those we care about. But imagine for a moment an Internet in which our personal information is secure, one in which corporations can't read our posts, scan our photos, or parse our private email. Lucidity is an open source content management system that places privacy at its core. Unlike Drupal and WordPress, Lucidity has been designed to protect our data from those to whom we entrust it while providing both ease of use and sophistication. Using Lucidity, developers can create sites that guarantee their users privacy – not just protection from theft – but also an assurance that those who steward their data can not exploit, sell, or manipulate it. The Lucidity project is backed by a small team at Elucid Solutions. We want to build a large coalition of developers, designers, and end users among the open source community, and to bring privacy back to the web! This talk will present Lucidity, describe its evolution, and paint a vision for its future. We invite you to join us in this exciting collaboration.

Bio: Larry Lee has over half a decade of experience developing websites and mobile applications for NGOs and public health initiatives through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is currently the chief systems engineer at Elucid Solutions and the technical lead for Lucidity - an open source content management system. He is committed to developing open source technologies that protect privacy and promote democratic freedom on the web.Larry Lee has over half a decade of experience developing websites and mobile applications for NGOs and public health initiatives through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is currently the chief systems engineer at Elucid Solutions and the technical lead for Lucidity - an open source content management system. He is committed to developing open source technologies that protect privacy and promote democratic freedom on the web.

12/17/2015 HCIL

Seasonal 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.

Spring 2015

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.

(Cancelled due to snow)
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.

Bio: Kurt Luther is Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, where he is also a member of the Center for Human-Computer Interaction and a faculty affiliate in Human Centered Design. His general research interests include social computing, crowdsourcing, and creativity support tools. Specifically, he builds and studies social computing systems that support creativity and discovery, with applications to citizen science, movie and game production, visual design, digital humanities, and other domains. His research has been featured by TIME, CNN, and Harvard Business Review. Previously, he was a postdoc in Carnegie Mellon University's Human-Computer Interaction Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech, where he was named a Foley Scholar, the GVU Center's highest honor. His undergraduate degree is from Purdue University, where he studied computer graphics, art, and design. He has also worked in the Social Computing groups at Microsoft Research and IBM Research, and the User Experience team at YouTube.

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)

IUI '15 Practice Talk

Abstract: Finding the differences and similarities between two datasets is a common analytics task. With temporal event sequence data, this task is complex because of the many ways single events and event sequences can differ between the two datasets (or cohorts) of records: the structure of the event sequences (e.g., event order, co-occurring events, or event frequencies), the attributes of events and records (e.g., patient gender), or metrics about the timestamps themselves (e.g., event duration). In exploratory analyses, running statistical tests to cover all cases is time-consuming and determining which results are significant becomes cumbersome. Current analytics tools for comparing groups of event sequences emphasize a purely statistical or purely visual approach for comparison. This paper presents a taxonomy of metrics for comparing cohorts of temporal event sequences, showing that the problem-space is bounded. We also present a visual analytics tool, CoCo (for “Cohort Comparison”), which implements balanced integration of automated statistics with an intelligent user interface to guide users to significant, distinguishing features between the cohorts. Lastly, we describe two early case studies: the first with a research team studying medical team performance in the emergency department and the second with pharmacy researchers.

Bio: I'm a 4th-year Ph.D. student in Computer Science and the HCIL.

03/26/2015 Hyojoon Kim
PhD Student, Georgia Institute of Technology (link)

uCap: An Internet Data Management Tool for the Home

Abstract: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have introduced “data caps”, or quotas on the amount of data that a customer can download during a billing cycle. Under this model, Internet users who reach a data cap can be subject to degraded performance, extra fees, or even temporary interruption of Internet service. For this reason, users need better visibility into and control over their Internet usage to help them understand what uses up data and control how these quotas are reached. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of a tool, called uCap, to help home users manage Internet data. We conducted a field trial of uCap in 21 home networks in three countries and performed an in-depth qualitative study of ten of these homes. We present the results of the evaluation and implications for the design of future Internet data management tools.

Bio: Hyojoon Kim is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology under the supervision of Professor Nick Feamster. He is broadly interested in computer networks and systems, but currently focus more on network configuration analysis, network reliability enhancement, and building better abstractions for network management. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from University of Wisconsin - Madison and M.S. from Georgia Tech. In the past, he has worked as a research engineer at Future Systems, a major manufacturer of network & security solutions in South Korea, and did several internships at HP Labs-Palo Alto, CA, USA.

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

Abstract: (Video Preview) The building sector accounts for 41% of primary energy consumption in the US, contributing an increasing portion of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions. With recent sensor improvements and falling costs, auditors are increasingly using thermography—infrared (IR) cameras—to detect thermal defects and analyze building efficiency. Research in automated thermography has grown commensurately, aimed at reducing manual labor and improving thermal models. Though promising, we could find no prior work exploring the professional auditor’s perspectives of thermography or reactions to emerging automation. To address this gap, we present results from two studies: a semi-structured interview with 10 professional energy auditors, which includes design probes of five automated thermography scenarios, and an observational case study of a residential audit. We report on common perspectives, concerns, and benefits related to thermography and summarize reactions to our automated scenarios. Our findings have implications for thermography tool designers as well as researchers working on automated solutions in robotics, computer science, and engineering.

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
PhD Student, iSchool (link)

CHI Practice Talk: BodyVis: A New Approach to Body Learning Through Wearable Sensing and Visualization

Abstract: (Video Preview) Internal organs are hidden and untouchable, making it difficult for children to learn their size, position, and function. Traditionally, human anatomy (body form) and physiology (body function) are taught using techniques ranging from worksheets to three-dimensional models. We present a new approach called BodyVis, an e-textile shirt that combines biometric sensing and wearable visualizations to reveal otherwise invisible body parts and functions. We describe our 15-month iterative design process including lessons learned through the development of three prototypes using participatory design and two evaluations of the final prototype: a design probe interview with seven elementary school teachers and three single- session deployments in after-school programs. Our findings have implications for the growing area of wearables and tangibles for learning.

04/16/2015 Yla Tausczik
Assistant Professor, iSchool (link)

Open Government Data and Civic Applications: What would successful collaboration look like?

Abstract: A growing number of governments are opening their data to the general public. The hope is that citizens and business will be able to transform the data into insights, services, and products that will provide social and economic value. Grassroots organizations and non-profits have begun to make use of the data through the development of civic applications. In this talk I focus on a network of 48 city level organizations. I compare these organizations to the open-source software community. By analyzing GitHub repositories, I evaluate how many civic applications are being created, how many people are involved, and how many of these projects last. Finally I imagine how community design, collaboration tools, and crowdsourcing techniques could be leveraged to better support distributed analysis of open government data.

Heather Bradbury
Maryland Institute College of Art

Building a Plane in Mid-air

Abstract: How do you launch a new program in an emerging field at an established design school – data, information, and visualization. When the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) decided to create a new graduate program in Information Visualization, there was a document and a great deal of confidence that the program would help take the college in a new direction. This talk will tell the story of pits and perils of how the program moved from an idea, to launch, to bringing its fourth year of students, and how data, information, and visualization was the pilot, engineer, and passenger.

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 business 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, catering, and production pottery.

04/30/2015 Andrea Forte
Associate Professor of College of Computing & Informatics at Drexel University (link)

Social Information Spaces: Designing for Smart(er) Societies

Abstract: People are pretty smart. When someone uses bad information, it’s often because the tools they use to find that information were not designed to support good assessments. The need for an integrated HCI response to the problem of information assessment is critical in an age of participatory information sources like Wikipedia, Wikia sites, Reddit, and These are information sources produced and curated by thousands of contributors using collaboration or aggregation platforms. Such technologies can be designed to support human needs in different ways; for example, they can be designed using well-understood principles of usability, accessibility, or ergonomics. However, HCI currently lacks a shared vocabulary for talking about “assessability” — those properties of designed spaces that allow people to make good judgments about the information they encounter there. Assessable designs don’t just deliver assessments of information quality, but support people in getting *better* at judging the information they encounter online.

Bio: Andrea Forte ( is an assistant professor in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. Her work focuses on how social technologies can be designed to support the development of both information and computational literacies. Andrea's research spans several disciplines and she regularly publishes in the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work and social computing (CSCW), computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), computing education, and library science. She is a research leader at Drexel’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies (ExCITe) Center. Her current projects are supported by the National Science Foundation and Institute for Museum and Library Services. She is an NSF CAREER award winner, holds a PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, and a masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas at Austin.

05/07/2015 Peter Teuben
Astronomy dept (link)

Interface design for the Analysis and Data Mining of the large data coming out of the ALMA telescope

Abstract: ALMA telescope is a large radio interferometer in Chile, operated by a large international consortium (Europe, North America, and Japan), and is starting to show groundbreaking new science. The data products will be delivered a series of large data cubes, requiring detailed analysis to get down to the real science. I will explain the ALMA data format, and what we are proposing to do to extract science and visualize these complex results to the user. We have played with some GUI designs, but decided on a pragmatic approach, to adopt and adapt an existing web interface that ALMA is using. We are looking forward to your feedback and suggestions to improve the design.

05/14/2015 CHI-tacular
Come talk (and listen) about the HCIL's time at CHI 2015!

Fall 2014

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.

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