August 06

Add to Calendar 2019-08-06 13:00:00 2019-08-06 14:00:00 America/New_York Designing Intelligent Interactive Systems from an Information-theoretic Perspective In this talk, I explore the notion of information in the human-computer communication process and design intelligent interactive systems using the tools of information theory. Particularly, I propose BIG (Bayesian Information Gain), a framework to quantify the information sent by the user to the computer to express her intention. Two applications, BIGnav for multiscale navigation and BIGFile for hierarchical file retrieval, demonstrate how the computer can play a more active role and work together with the user to achieve shared goals. The third application, Entrain, also shows how the system can shape user experience in the context of collective music making (live demo). My general research interest lies in using computational approaches to design intelligent interactive systems, particularly taking advantage of explicit and implicit information such as user’s intention, attention and semantic activities to empower interaction in artistic and nonartistic settings. 32-D463 (Star) Belfer

September 10

Add to Calendar 2019-09-10 13:00:00 2019-09-10 14:00:00 America/New_York Learning Programming at Scale: Code, Data, and Environment Abstract:Modern-day programming is incredibly complex, and people from all sorts of backgrounds are now learning it. It is no longer sufficient just to learn how to code: one must also learn to work effectively with data and with the underlying software environment. In this talk, I will present three systems that I have developed to support learning of code, data, and environment, respectively: 1) Python Tutor is a run-time code visualization and peer tutoring system that has been used by over five million people in over 180 countries to form mental models and to help one another in real time, 2) DS.js uses the web as a nearly-infinite source of motivating real-world data to scaffold data science learning (UIST 2017 Honorable Mention Award). 3) Porta helps experts create technical software tutorials that involve intricate environmental interactions (UIST 2018 Best Paper Award). These systems collectively point toward a future where anyone around the world can gain the skills required to become a productive modern-day programmer.Bio:Philip Guo is an assistant professor of Cognitive Science and an affiliate assistant professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC San Diego. His research spans human-computer interaction, programming tools, and online learning. He now focuses on building scalable systems that help people learn computer programming and data science. He is the creator of Python Tutor (, a widely-used code visualization and collaborative learning platform. So far, over five million people in over 180 countries have used it to visualize over 100 million pieces of Python, Java, JavaScript, C, C++, and Ruby code. Philip's research has won Best Paper and Honorable Mention awards at the CHI, UIST, ICSE, and ISSTA conferences, and an NSF CAREER award.Philip received S.B. and M.Eng. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford. His Ph.D. dissertation was one of the first to create programming tools for data scientists. Before becoming a professor, he built online learning tools as a software engineer at Google, a research scientist at edX, and a postdoc at MIT. Philip's website contains over 600 articles, videos, and podcast episodes and gets over 750,000 page views per year. 32-G449 (Kiva Room)-Refreshments at 12:45PM Belfer

September 24

Add to Calendar 2019-09-24 13:00:00 2019-09-24 14:00:00 America/New_York Data Feminism AbstractAs data are increasingly mobilized in the service of global corporations, governments, and elite institutions, their unequal conditions of produc- tion, their inequitable impacts, and their asymmetrical silences become increasingly more apparent. It is precisely this power that makes it worth asking: "Data science by whom? For whom? In whose interest? Informed by whose values?" And most importantly, "How do we begin to imagine alternatives for data’s collection, analysis, and communication?" These are some of the questions that emerge from what Lauren Klein and I call Data Feminism (forthcoming from MIT Press in early 2020). Data feminism is a way of thinking about data science and its products that is informed by the past several decades of intersectional feminist activism and critical thought, emerging anti-oppression design frameworks, and scholarship from the fields of Critical Data Studies, Science & Technology Studies, Geography/GIS, Digital Humanities and Human Computer Interaction. An intersectional feminist lens prompts questions about how, for instance, challenges to the male/female binary can also help challenge other binary (and empirically wrong) classification systems. It encourages us to ask how the concept of invisible labor can help to expose the gendered, racialized, and colonial forms of labor associated with data work. And it demonstrates why the data never, ever, speak for themselves. In this talk, I will introduce seven principles for data feminist work: examining and challenging power, rethinking binaries and hierarchies, considering context, embracing pluralism, making labor visible, and elevating emotion. The goal of this work is to transform scholarship into action – to operationalize feminism in order to imagine more ethical and more equitable data practices.BioCatherine D'Ignazio is a scholar, artist/designer and hacker mama who focuses on feminist technology, data literacy and civic engagement. She has run women's health hackathons, designed global news recommendation systems, created talking and tweeting water quality sculptures, and led walking data visualizations to envision the future of sea level rise. Her forthcoming book from MIT Press, Data Feminism, co-authored with Lauren Klein, charts a course for more ethical and empowering data science practices. Her research at the intersection of technology, design & social change has been published in the Journal of Peer Production, the Journal of Community Informatics, and the proceedings of Human Factors in Computing Systems (ACM SIGCHI). In Jan 2020, D'Ignazio will be an assistant professor of Urban Science and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT where she is starting the Data + Feminism Lab. Star Room (32-D463) Belfer

October 01

Add to Calendar 2019-10-01 13:00:00 2019-10-01 14:00:00 America/New_York What if software were Different? From Applications to Computational Media. Abstract:The concept of applications is ubiquitous and completely taken for granted in modern computing. Software doesn't have to be synonymous with applications, and there is great potential to be unlocked if we break out of them. In this talk, I will argue for a renewed focus on developing computational media and show efforts we have undertaken to demonstrate how software can be made differently. I will, among other things, present our work on Webstrates (, its authoring environmentCodestrates (, and a data visualization environment built using these called Vistrates ( Nylandsted Klokmose is an associate professor in the Department of Digital Design and Information Studies at Aarhus University. Clemens has worked as a postdoc at Computer Science, Aarhus University and at Laboratoire de Recherche en Informatique, Université Paris-Sud. He has furthermore spent a year as a user interface specialist in the software industry. Clemens received his PhD in Computer Science in 2009 from Aarhus University supervised by prof. Susanne Bødker.Clemens’ main interest is the fundamentals of interactive computing, particularly to support and understanding computing with multiple devices and multiple people. Many of his ideas are crystallised into the Webstrates platform (, which he leads the development of. Kiva Room (32-G449) Belfer

October 25

Add to Calendar 2019-10-25 16:00:00 2019-10-25 17:00:00 America/New_York Data Models of Sequential Tasks for User Interface Design Abstract: Today’s approaches in data-driven interface design translate observations in user behavior into interface features. However, little consideration is given to data models that are the computational foundations of these interactions. I will introduce end-to-end techniques that a) builds computational representations that capture the diverse and nuanced task context and b) use those representations as building blocks for designing interfaces. I will illustrate three different techniques with examples from understanding the landscape of using web-scale cooking instructions, understanding multiple users’ step-by-step demonstrations of a 3d modeling task, and designing voice interactions for tutorial videos.Speaker Bio:Minsuk Chang is a Ph.D. student in the School of Computing at KAIST. His research in HCI focuses on techniques for discovering, capturing, and structuring task context from user interaction data to create novel learning opportunities in the wild. He has previously interned at Adobe Research, Autodesk Research, and Microsoft Research. Conference Room G575 Belfer

October 29

Add to Calendar 2019-10-29 13:00:00 2019-10-29 14:00:00 America/New_York Improving the Music Listening Experience HCI Research at Spotify Abstract:Music plays an important role in everyday life around theworld. People rely on music to manage their mood,express their identity and celebrate milestone events.Streaming services like Spotify have transformed the waythat people consume audio by providing listeners withmultiple personalized ways to access an abundant catalogof content. In this talk, I will describe several active areas of HCI research at Spotify and present our work on understanding how people search for music and how we can enable exploration for listeners.Bio:Jenn Thom leads the HCI research lab at Spotify. Her current research interests include understanding how people search for and describe music and developing novel design and prototyping methods for conversational interactions. Prior to joining Spotify, she was a Research Scientist at Amazon where she worked on collecting and mining data to bootstrap new features for the launch of the Echo. She was also a Research Staff Member at IBM Research where she studied how employees used social networks for intercultural collaboration. Jenn received her PhD from Cornell University and her dissertation focused on how people expressed territorialbehaviors in user-generated content communities. Star Room (32-G463) Belfer

November 05

Add to Calendar 2019-11-05 13:00:00 2019-11-05 14:00:00 America/New_York Prototyping Mixed Reality Experiences AbstractIn this talk, I will illustrate my vision of mixed reality prototyping, describe the anatomy of mixed reality prototypes and what can be learned and how, with relatively little time and effort. I will start with a brief overview of the HCI research focused on mixed reality interfaces in my lab at Michigan over the last three years. I will then structure the talk around recent projects exploring how to enable rapid prototyping of mixed reality interfaces with limited technical skill and no need for programming. In particular, I will describe techniques for AR/VR content creation from paper mockups and Play-Doh models with support for Wizard of Oz via live video streaming, and techniques for collaborative, immersive authoring of 3D scenes using AR/VR devices as puppets to make virtual objects interactive without programming. Based on these projects, I hope to illustrate possible directions to enable broader participation in the design process by empowering non-technical designers to create complex mixed reality experiences.BioMichael Nebeling ( is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan where he leads the Information Interaction Lab ( His current research is focused on creating new techniques, tools, and technologies to make AR/VR interface development easier and faster. Michael's vision is that anyone without 3D modeling, animation, or programming background can be an active participant in AR/VR design. His work has received nine Best Paper Awards and Honorable Mentions at the premier HCI conferences. He regularly serves on the program committees of the ACM CHI, UIST, and EICS conferences. He received a 2018 Disney Research Faculty Award and a Mozilla Research award. He joined Michigan in 2016 after completing a postdoc in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and a PhD in the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich Star Room (32-D463) Belfer

December 10

Add to Calendar 2019-12-10 13:00:00 2019-12-10 14:00:00 America/New_York Mesomatters: Design, Manufacture and Interact with Mesoscopic Materials Abstract:Between traditional industrial design, which operates at the macro scale (cm to m), and material engineering, which operates at the micro/nano scale (μm to nm), is the emerging design space of mesoscale. It is the scale of human hair or a grain of sand. It is the scale where material properties meet human perception, and rational meets intuition. In the past 10 years, additive manufacturing, especially 3D printing, enables designers to directly manipulate geometries at this scale. Yet the existing design and manufacturing methods could not unleash the full potential of mesoscale materials for the design world.In the talk I propose a material-driven design methodology that employs additive manufacturing to design materials at mesoscale for interaction and product design. The ability to programmably assemble materials with tailored structures at the centimeter, millimeter, and micrometer length scales enables tunable mechanical and electrical properties. Those properties determine not only the static performance, but also, when energized, the dynamic shape-change of a material. The emerging material performance and behavior allows us to design unprecedented objects and environments with input (sensing) and output (actuation) capabilities, which can be integrated for the next generation of human-computer interfaces.Bio:Jifei Ou (欧冀飞) is a designer, researcher and recent enterpreneur. His works focus on designing and fabricating transformable materials across scales (from μm to m). As much as his work is informed by digital technology, he is inspired in equal measure by the natural world around him. He has been leading projects that study bio-mimicry and bio-derived materials to design shape-changing packaging, garments and furniture.Jifei was born and raised in southwest China and has brought his design practice and scientific research to Asia, Europe and the U.S. His works have been published in academic conferences such as User Interface Software and Technology (UIST, 2013, 2016), Tangible Embodied and Embedded Interaction (TEI, 2014 & 2016) and Computer-Human Interaction (CHI, 2015 & 2016); awarded by design competitions such as A’ Design Award (2016, 2017), FastCo IBD award (2016, 2017, 2018), IXDA award (2016), etc. He has been organizing workshops on shape-shifting materials with researchers, high school students and artists around the world. He is also deeply involved in the manufacturing community in Shenzhen in order to facilitate the real world application of his research.Jifei holds an Ph.D and M.S. from the MIT Media Lab, and a Diplom in Design from the Offenbach University of Art and Design in Germany. Kiva (32-G449) Belfer