BBL Speaker Series

Join us each Thursday during the fall and spring semesters as we present interesting speakers on topics ranging from current areas of interest in HCI, software demos/reviews, study design, proposed research topics and more. The BBL is the one hour a week where we all come together and provide HCIL members the opportunity to build collaborations, increase awareness of each other’s activities, and generally just have a bit of fun together.

When:  Every Thursday during the semester from 12:30pm – 1:30pm ET
Where: Varies

If you would like to give (or suggest) a future BBL talk, send email to HCIL Director Jessica Vitak (jvitak@umd.edu) with your proposed talk title, a brief abstract, and your bio.

Miss a talk that you were interested in? Check our YouTube channel to see if it was recorded. Most are, some are not; based on permissions from the speakers.


Spring 2022 Semester

Date: Thursday, May 5, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Finding the Grammar of Generative Craft 
Speaker: Shiqing (Licia) He, Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Art and craft design is challenging even with the assistance of computer-aided design tools. Despite the increasing availability and intelligence of software and hardware, artists continue to find gaps between their practices and tools. Through this presentation, I introduce Grammar-driven Craft Design Tools (GCDTs), which explicitly embed and utilized craft domain knowledge as their primary mechanisms and interfaces. Besides bridging the gap between design-aid tools and craft domain knowledge, GCDTs also have additional benefits such as supporting generative design, facilitating learning, and preserving domain knowledge. This talk discusses how the next generation of design-aid tools can help artists find their creative expressions.

Bio: Licia He is a generative artist and a human-computer interaction researcher. After receiving her Ph.D. from the School of Information, University of Michigan, Licia is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Visualization, Texas A&M University,  where she leads the Generative Craft Lab. Passionate about programming and visual art, she explores ways to record and present information around her through her research and artworks.

Date: Thursday, April 28, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Everyday stress management technology “in the wild” towards equitable wellbeing computing
Speaker: Pablo Paredes, Clinical Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: In this talk, I discuss my work in stress management sensing and intervention technologies for everyday use, i.e. that can be widely adopted by the entire population. I present stress as an example and introduction to equitable wellbeing computing focused on the design, building, and evaluation of affordable, engaging, and efficacious ubiquitous computing technology enabling the equal widespread of wellbeing. I delve in detail into examples of both sensors and interventions that can enable this vision.
First I discuss “sensorless” sensing as an approach to repurposing existing data and infrastructure to obtain continuous, longitudinal stress data that is informed by sound theory on biomechanics. Then I describe an intervention design approach that combines applied machine learning with human-centered design to repurpose engaging attention-grabbing technology (Internet apps, messaging) into personalized just-in-time stress management interventions. My talk finalizes with a future vision on how to take wellbeing computing research out of the lab and “in the wild”, how to manage “shared autonomy” challenges between humans and automated wellbeing systems, and how to focus on embedding ethical principles in the design of these modern systems.

Bio: Pablo Paredes earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2015 with Prof. John Canny. He is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Department and the Epidemiology and Population Health Department (by courtesy) at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He leads the Pervasive Wellbeing Technology Lab, which houses a diverse group of students from multiple departments such as computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, anthropology, neuroscience, and linguistics. Before joining the School of Medicine, Dr. Paredes was a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University with Prof. James Landay. During his Ph.D. career, he held internships on behavior change and affective computing at Microsoft Research and Google. He has been an active associate editor for the Interactive, Mobile, Wireless, and Ubiquitous Technology Journal (IMWUT) and a reviewer and editor for multiple top CS and medical journals. Before 2010, he was a senior strategic manager with Intel in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a lead product manager with Telefonica in Quito, Ecuador, and an entrepreneur in his native Ecuador and, more recently, in the US. In these roles, he has had the opportunity to hire and closely evaluate designers, engineers, business people, and researchers in telecommunications and product development. During his academic career, Dr. Paredes has advised close to 40 mentees, including postdocs, Ph.D., master’s, and undergraduate students, collaborated with colleagues from multiple departments across engineering, medicine, and the humanities, and raised funding from NSF, NIH, and large multidisciplinary intramural research projects.

Date: Thursday, April 21, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Considering Users’ Basic Psychological Needs in Technology Design
Speaker: Laura Moradbakhti, Doctoral Candidate, Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria)

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Users’ needs should be at the center of new technology design and development efforts. Nonetheless, there is a big gap in current research surrounding basic psychological need fulfillment. According to the Basic Psychological Needs Theory, the satisfaction of our basic psychological needs is necessary for autonomous motivation: if our needs, namely autonomy (desire to have control over our actions), competence (innate desire to experience mastery) and relatedness (desire to care for others and be cared for in return) are fulfilled, we are motivated to engage in a task. If the needs are not fulfilled, our well-being is negatively affected. In the past, basic psychological needs were measured to explain motivation for task engagement in the workplace, education and sport sector but there is little research drawing a link to technology usage and interaction. However, especially with the growing use of technologies in our daily lives, their increasing autonomy and competence in executing tasks, and their role in virtual communication, it is crucial to assess users’ need satisfaction to ensure their well-being when interacting with new technologies. My research focuses on design factors that positively influence users’ basic psychological needs. I will present several studies that address design factors, individual differences in need satisfaction, and the importance of basic psychological needs for technology acceptance.

Bio: Laura Moradbakhti is a PhD Candidate in Human-Computer Interaction at the Linz Institute of Technology Robopsychology Lab at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. She holds a BSc in Applied Psychology from Durham University (UK) and a MSc in Social Cognition from University College London (UK). She has previously worked as a Neuropsychology Research Assistant, a Corporate Banking Analyst and as an Intern for Predevelopment in Autonomous Driving at AUDI. Laura’s research focusses on technology acceptance, anthropomorphism, social robotics and autonomous driving. In her dissertation, Laura explores design factors of AI assistants (e.g. chatbots, robots, speech assistants) that influence the satisfaction of users’ basic psychological needs.

Date: Thursday, April 14, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Digital Tools to Facilitate Participatory Design at Scale
Speaker: Dr. Stephen MacNeil, Assistant Professor, Computer & Information Sciences, Temple University

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Society often relies on small expert teams to design products, services, and policies that have the potential to affect millions of people worldwide. Participatory design workshops integrate the perspectives of those potentially affected by leaning on the expertise of design facilitators to guide participants through a design process. However, it is challenging to scale these workshops to large communities. My research explores ways that technology might broadly engage non-experts in expert work—such as participatory design. In this talk, I will present a specific thread of my research that focuses on scaling the participatory design process through the use of templates and “computational enhancements.” This work has led our research team to develop CoBoards, a computationally enhanced digital whiteboard, that leverages templates to scaffold non-expert participation while also capturing structured “design data” to support coordination, collective awareness, and self-reflection in large design workshops. I’ll conclude the talk with a vision for new digital tools to facilitate participatory design at scale.

Bio: Dr. Stephen MacNeil is an Assistant Professor at Temple University where he founded the Temple HCI Lab. Before that, he received his PhD from the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte and his BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University. He was also a postdoctoral researcher in the Design Lab at UCSD. Although his background is highly technical, Dr. MacNeil’s research is rooted in human-computer interaction, participatory design, and learning sciences. These design sensibilities have led to his involvement in regional and global design initiatives as a lead organizer for Design for San Diego (d4sd.org) and as a US Representative for the Young Designers’ Circle at the World Design Organization.

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Understanding Social Media Usage related to Cognitive Disabilities in the Arabic World
Speaker: Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng, visiting professor, UMD iSchool; professor, Computer and Information Sciences Department, Towson University

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Social media has become a desirable means for spreading awareness, advocating for rights, establishing communities, acquiring information, and much more. Studies confirmed the substantial value of social support and community belonging for individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Users in the Arabic world have shown an increasing interest in using social media in the past decade. However, there is limited research that investigated how social media was used in the Arabic world to support people with cognitive disabilities and advocate for their rights. We tried to start filling this gap through a two-stage project. In the first stage, we interviewed caregivers and teachers for children with cognitive disabilities from Saudi Arabia to examine their motivations and concerns around using social media in relation to their children or students’ conditions. We found that caregivers used social media with caution to seek information and emotional support, to spread awareness, and to communicate and build communities. In the second stage of the project, we applied text mining approaches, including sentiment and temporal analyses, on Arabic tweets related to cognitive disabilities during a nine year period. Content volume, temporal evolution, user accounts, sentiment, and topics of the tweets were analyzed. The results provide new insight into public perspectives, which may assist interested entities to form and distribute appropriate resources and information.

Bio: Dr. Jinjuan Heidi Feng, a visiting professor at the Trace Center of UMD, is a professor in the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Towson University. She received a Ph. D. in Information Sciences from UMBC in 2005. She conducts research in the area of Human-Computer Interaction, Accessible Computing and Health-informatics. She works with national and local communities to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities through information technology. Her current research projects focus on assistive technologies for people with cognitive disabilities, mobile
applications for healthcare related services, and accessible security techniques for individuals with visual or cognitive disabilities. Dr. Feng has served as the program co-chair for the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS21) and the general chair for ASSETS16. She is associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies and the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing.

Date: Thursday, March 31, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Personal Informatics in the Changing, Social World
Speaker: Dr. Christina Chung, Assistant Professor, Informatics, Indiana University Bloomington

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Personal informatics refers to information individuals can collect about themselves, such as food intake, physical activity, sleep, and mood. Current personal informatics tools have been designed primarily for personal use, focusing on quantitative measurements that are easy to collect via sensors or manual input. These systems often overlook the changing nature of everyday life, the social contexts individuals live in, the variety of goals and values they have, and the constraints and preferences associated with these contexts and values. My research has examined the collaborative use of personal informatics data and co-constructed experience in various contexts. In this talk, I will share a few recent studies unpacking ways to rethink personal informatics technology that considers the changing contexts of health behavior, shifting values and priorities, as well as the social roles and relationships that often deeply intertwine with health decisions.

Bio: Christina Chung is an Assistant Professor in Informatics and the Luddy Faculty Fellow 2020/2021 at the Indiana University Bloomington. She is also the director of the Proactive Health lab. Her research focuses on how ubiquitous computing and personal informatics data can be designed and shared to support relationships, motivate health behavior, and support collaborative care. She has published in top HCI conferences and medical journals; receiving a Best Paper Award, Honorable Mentions, and an Impact Recognition Award. Her research has been featured in mainstream media, such as CNN and Geekwire, and is supported by the National Science Foundation, IU Luddy Faculty Fellowship, and IU Precision Health Initiative. Christina received her Ph.D. in Human Centered Design and Engineering from the University of Washington while she was a member of the Design. Use. Build (DUB) group. Previously, she was also a software engineer in IBM Research Collaboratory Taiwan conducting service innovation research in health and wellness. She holds an M.B.A and B.B.A in Information Management from the National Taiwan University.


Date: Thursday, March 17, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Understanding Remote Working and Diverse Teams
Speaker: Dr. Karen Holtzblatt, Owner & CEO, InContext Design

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Today technology teams are participating in a worldwide experiment on remote working. Even before the pandemic, remote working came with a variety of challenges including reduced interpersonal cues and informal information, time zones management, and difficulty creating relationships. Add to this that women and people of color in tech before the pandemic consistently reported being ignored, devalued, and perceived as less competent than men. Given that diverse teams are increasingly the norm and that they produce the most innovative products, what is the impact of remote working? In this talk Karen Holtzblatt will share some of the findings from The Remote Work Project (https://www.witops.org/remote-work/) conducted as part of the larger research on retaining women in tech. This project was conducted by a remote team of volunteers including UMD students. Karen will also introduce her upcoming book on retaining women in tech launching soon.

Bio: Karen Holtzblatt is a thought leader, industry speaker, and author. As co-founder and CEO of InContext Design, Karen is the visionary behind Contextual Inquiry and Contextual Design, a user-centered design approach used by universities and companies worldwide. Recognized as a leader in requirements and design, Karen has been twice honored by the ACM SIGCHI. Karen is a member of the CHI Academy and the first recipient of the Lifetime Award for Practice presented in recognition of her impact on the field. Karen is also the Executive Director of WITops, a non-profit dedicated to understanding the issues faced by women in tech and finding practical interventions to retain women and help them thrive. The @Work Experience Framework identifies the six experiences women need in their everyday work experiences. WITops volunteer teams have also developed tested intervention techniques to encourage these experiences available at WITops.org. Karen has over 30 years of experience presenting at conferences, coaching product teams, and advising universities on their HCI training.

Date: Thursday, March 10, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Designing to Introduce Technological and Algorithmic Bias in Computing Lessons
Speaker: Dr. Merijke Coenraad, Learning Experience Designer, Digital Promise

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: Technology is ubiquitous in modern society. It affects our daily activities and exists in every household and on every street corner. Yet, research has shown that both the process of creating technologies and the technologies themselves are biased. New technologies are based on datasets, algorithms, and designs that encode developer and data biases. As youth increasingly use technologies in their daily lives, experience the effects of technologies and algorithms, and learn to be technology creators, it is important for them to critically explore and understand the ways that technology introduces and perpetuates inequities. In this talk, I present a design study on the development and implementation of materials specifically designed to teach about Threats to Techquity. Threats to Techquity are aspects of computing and technologies that cause or could cause inequalities, especially inequalities based on marginalized identities (e.g., inequalities due to race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, ability). To understand how to bring Techquity into the classroom, I partnered with youth and teachers using participatory design to develop the “Talking Techquity” curriculum for middle grades (5th through 8th grade) students. Findings from this work revealed: (1) youth initially named and identified examples of visible Threats to Techquity, but as they learned more about these threats, they uncovered and discussed invisible Threats to Techquity more frequently and identified these threats as important topics to be taught to peers; (2) youth and teacher designers had similar instructional priorities and utilized similar pedagogical strategies when designing and critiquing learning experiences about online data collection and data use, but had contrasting ways of discussing examples and different learning goals; and (3) when implementing “Talking Techquity,” teachers who helped co-design the curriculum made adaptations to content and project requirements to provide more scaffolding and ensure students experienced success based on teachers’ perceptions of student needs and other factors. This research encourages researchers, curriculum designers, educators, and students themselves to consider how to teach about the Threats to Techquity affecting youth’s daily lives and demonstrates how participatory design methods can help uncover key conceptualizations and instructional priorities that make this possible.

Bio: Merijke Coenraad is a Learning Experience Designer at Digital Promise. She recently defended her PhD dissertation in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on the intersections of educational technology and equity including the creation of materials, platforms, and experiences in partnership with teachers and youth through participatory design methods. Merijke has an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College and a B.S. in Elementary Education and Spanish and Hispanic Studies from Creighton University. She is a former middle school teacher.

Date: Thursday, March 3, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Human-Centered AI: Ensuring Human Control,
Enhancing Human Performance
Speaker: Dr. Ben Shneiderman, Emeritus Professor, UMD and founding director, HCIL

Location: Zoom (Click here to register)

Abstract: A new synthesis is emerging that integrates AI technologies with Human-Computer Interaction to produce Human-Centered AI (HCAI). Advocates of this new synthesis seek to amplify, augment, and enhance human abilities, so as to empower people, build their self-efficacy, support creativity, recognize responsibility, and promote social connections. Researchers, developers, business leaders, policy makers and others are expanding the technology-centered scope of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to include Human-Centered AI (HCAI) ways of thinking. This expansion from an algorithm-focused view to embrace a human-centered perspective, can shape the future of technology so as to better serve human needs. Educators, designers, software engineers, product managers, evaluators, and government agency staffers can build on AI-driven technologies to design products and services that make life better for the users. These human-centered products and services will enable people to better care for each other, build sustainable communities, and restore the environment. The passionate advocates of HCAI are devoted to furthering human values, rights, justice, and dignity, by building reliable, safe, and trustworthy systems. The talk will include examples, references to further work, and discussion time for questions. These ideas are drawn from Ben Shneiderman’s new book Human-Centered AI (Oxford University Press, February 2022).  Further information at: https://hcil.umd.edu/human-centered-ai

Bio: BEN SHNEIDERMAN (http://www.cs.umd.edu/~ben) is an Emeritus Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (http://hcil.umd.edu), and a Member of the UM Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS) at the University of Maryland.  He is a Fellow of the AAAS, ACM, IEEE, NAI, and the Visualization Academy and a Member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. He has received six honorary doctorates in recognition of his pioneering contributions to human-computer interaction and information visualization. His widely-used contributions include the clickable highlighted web-links, high-precision touchscreen keyboards for mobile devices, and tagging for photos.  Shneiderman’s information visualization innovations include dynamic query sliders for Spotfire, development of treemaps for viewing hierarchical data, novel network visualizations for NodeXL, and event sequence analysis for electronic health records.
Ben is the lead author of Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (6th ed., 2016).  He co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think (1999) and Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL (2nd edition, 2019).  His book Leonardo’s Laptop (MIT Press) won the IEEE book award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. The New ABCs of Research: Achieving Breakthrough Collaborations (Oxford, 2016) describes how research can produce higher impacts. His new book on Human-Centered AI, was published by Oxford University Press in February 2022.

Date: Thursday, February 24, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Building customizable and collaborative AI assistants
Speaker: Paul Bricman

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: AI assistance is an increasingly widespread approach to improving knowledge work. However, most commercial AI assistants today offer users limited customization options, making them difficult to integrate in specific workflows. You might be able to change its voice or superficially integrate it with other apps, but what if you wanted to teach it complex new skills (e.g. formulating research questions, connecting ideas, putting together counterarguments, etc.)? In this talk, I will describe two prototypes which explore this question. Dual is an experimental AI assistant whose skills are entirely defined by users through a lightweight scripting language which extends prompt engineering with variables and nested calls. However, even if customizable skills are handy in tailoring an AI assistant’s skill set to the user’s needs, knowing when to use what skill remains challenging. You might only have a broad overarching goal (e.g. learning a concept, solving a problem, making a decision, etc.) whose translation to individual replies is non-trivial. As an early step in addressing this challenge, I will introduce Oneironomicon, a conversational sandbox for training AI assistants on “dreamed-up” user simulators using reinforcement learning before repurposing their know-how to help real users.

Bio: Paul is a Romanian-born Netherlands-based student exploring ways of augmenting human cognition using AI. On the surface, this happens by designing tiny new primitives, mechanics, and affordances which symbiotically bring together minds and machines. On a deeper level, this happens by putting together a cognitive infrastructure: a patchwork of building blocks which together enable a rich combinatorial space of thought patterns, both organic and artificial, both individual and collective.

Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: From content moderation to school assignment: What do theories of justice teach us about design?
Speaker: Dr. Niloufar Salehi, Assistant Professor, UC Berkeley

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Computational systems have a complex relationship with justice: they may be designed with the intent to promote justice, tasked to resolve injustices, or actively contribute to injustice itself. In this talk I will take two theories of justice, restorative and distributive justice, as frameworks to analyze and imagine alternatives to two real-world systems. First, I will analyze online harms such as harassment and revenge porn and how they are currently addressed through content moderation. I will use restorative justice to discuss the shortcomings of content moderation to effectively address those harms and discuss what alternatives we might design. Second, I will analyze an attempt at using computational systems to promote distributive justice in public schools in San Francisco that ultimately failed to achieve its theoretical promises of transparency, equity, and efficiency. I will show how incorrect modeling assumptions about families’ priorities, constraints, and goals clashed with the real world causing the algorithm to fail. Through this work I argue for recognizing the limitations of algorithmic solutions, broadening how we evaluate computational socio-technical systems, and ongoing engagement with those affected by those systems.

Bio: Niloufar Salehi is an Assistant Professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley, with an affiliated appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her research interests are in social computing, participatory and critical design, human-centered AI, and more broadly, human-computer-interaction (HCI). Her work has been published and received awards in premier venues in HCI including ACM CHI and CSCW. Through building computational social systems in collaboration with existing communities, controlled experiments, and ethnographic fieldwork, her research contributes the design of alternative social configurations online.

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Lightning talks featuring four HCIL student researchers. Students will share a research project or idea and facilitate a discussion among attendees.

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Date: Thursday, February 3, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Fake-News Network Model: A Conceptual Framework for Strategic Communication to Deal with Fake News
Speaker: Mohammad Ali, PhD Student, iSchool, UMD

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: This article analyzes the entire life span of a corporate fake-news report as a case study, proposing a conceptual framework for strategic fake-news communication. Using the confirmation-bias theoretical model, this qualitative textual analysis examines the most widely circulated tweets of a fake-news item about Nike, 603 replies to the tweets, users’ biographical profiles (e.g., political affiliations), the role of opinion leader(s), and relevant prior contexts. The findings provide in-depth insight into how people believe fake news and how their conversations about fake news (re)shape the victim brand’s social realities. Overall, the findings of this study illustrate a “Fake-News Network Model” that explains the underlying mechanisms of how a fake-news item functions together with other aspects (e.g., context, perception, opinion leaders, and cognitive processes), prompting certain people to believe particular fake-news reports and, discuss the victim brand (e.g., Nike) based on that perceived truth. The article discusses the implications of this network model for both fake-news researchers and strategic communication professionals. 

Bio: Mohammad Ali is a doctoral student in the College of Information Studies (iSchool) at the University of Maryland (UMD) College Park. The areas of his research interest include strategic communication, fake news, health informatics, computational journalism, HCI, and computational social science. A former journalist, Ali has studied public administration and mass communication prior to joining the iSchool Ph.D. program. His scholarly works got published/accepted and presented in different journals and conferences, including International Journal of Strategic Communication, Visual Communication Quarterly, Media Practice and Education journal, Atlantic Journal of Communication, Cultivating Q Methodology (book chapter), Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, International Communication Association (ICA) conference, National Communication Association (NCA) conference, and Australian & New Zealand Communication Association (ANZCA) conference. He can be reached at mali24@umd.edu.

Date: Thursday, January 27, 2022
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: AI-powered Interaction: Principles, Models, and Applications
Speaker: Xiaojun Bi, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, Stony Brook University

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: How to leverage AI to enhance and augment users’ interaction with computers is a grand challenge. In this talk, I will use text-based communication in Post-PC computing as an example to demonstrate how to integrate AI into interactive systems. We have created multiple AI-powered writing systems that can (1) infer users’ communication intention from noisy input such as eye gaze, voice, and finger touch, and (2) adapt to individuals and support text input on invisible and imaginary keyboards, and (3) detect whether users develop early signs of Parkinson’s Disease. The secret ingredient behind these AI-powered interactive systems is probabilistic modeling: we have created probabilistic models to quantify uncertainty in interaction, and adapted Bayesian inference as a principle of resolving uncertainty in interaction and integrating multimodal input.

Bio: Xiaojun Bi is an Assistant Professor (2017 – present) in the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University. Prior to joining Stony Brook, he was a Research Scientist at Google LLC. Xiaojun’s research lies at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), with a primary focus on AI-powered Interaction. Xiaojun Bi has authored over 40 publications in the premier HCI publication venues such as CHI and UIST, and has won 10 Best Paper or Honorable Mention awards. He is a two-time Google Faculty Research Award winner and inventor of 33 US patents. Xiaojun Bi earned his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto, and received his Master’s degree in Computer Science and Bachelor’s degree in Automation from Tsinghua University. Further information, including publications and videos demonstrating some of his research, can be obtained from https://www.cs.stonybrook.edu/~xiaojun/


Past BBL Events

Date: Thursday, December 2, 2021
Time:
12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Beyond Shape: 3D Printing Kinetic Objects for Interactivity
Speaker: Liang He, Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Contemporary AI, driven by Big Data and statistical machine learning, raise important questions for researchers as the promise of machines as collaborative partners in a number of everyday and domain settings Emerging 3D printing technology has enabled the rapid creation of physical shapes. However, 3D-printed objects are typically static with limited or no moving parts. Creating 3D printable objects with kinetic behaviors such as deformation and motion is inherently challenging. To enrich the literature for making movable 3D-printed parts and support a wider spectrum of applications, I introduce the concept of “print driver”, a class of parametric mechanisms that use uniquely designed mechanical elements and are printed in place to augment 3D-printed objects with the ability of deformation, actuation, and sensing. In this talk, I will present a series of my research works to showcase how the print drivers can be used to lower the barrier for making 3D-printed kinetic objects and to support augmented 3D printable behaviors for interactivity. I will also share my personal thoughts on how to utilize print drivers to mediating the physical interface and computation and enabling a wider variety of interactive applications.

Bio: Liang He is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, advised by Jon E. Froehlich. He works at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and digital fabrication. He takes a mechanical perspective to create novel design techniques by exploiting parametric mechanical properties and to develop computational design tools for the design, control, and fabrication of 3D printable augmented behaviors. Prior to joining UW, Liang received his M.S. in Computational Design at Carnegie Mellon University, his M.S. in Computer Science at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and his B.S. in Software Engineering at Beihang University. He also worked in HP Labs, in the VIBE group at Microsoft Research (Redmond), and at Keio-NUS CUTE Center. Liang publishes at top HCI venues such as CHI, UIST, TEI, and ASSETS, and received two best paper awards and one best paper nominee..

Date: Thursday, November 18, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Preventing & Responding to Trauma in Online Spaces
Speaker: Virginia Byrne, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs, Morgan State University

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: TBD

Bio: Virginia L. Byrne, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education and Student Affairs at Morgan State University. She earned her PhD in 2020 from the University of Maryland, College Park in Technology, Learning and Leadership from the College of Education. Her research investigates how social media and instructional technologies are changing how we teach, learn, and connect in higher education. In 2016-2017, she worked in the HCIL with Dr. Tammy Clegg, Dr. Jon Frohlich and the BodyVis team.

Date: Thursday, November 11, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Evaluating the Cost of Accessibility through the Lens of Time
Speakers: Brian Wentz and Meagan Griffith

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: There have been wild claims of exorbitant costs required to make interfaces accessible, and these claims distract from the reasonable obligation for accessible websites as well as hinder a productive process to enact new rulemaking regarding web accessibility. At the core of the issue is a lack of concrete data regarding the amount of time lost to inaccessible web interfaces. This talk will discuss our findings related to the unanswered question of time loss directly due to inaccessible web interfaces and its implications not only for organizations but most importantly to users with disabilities.

Bios:

Brian Wentz is a visiting professor at the iSchool during fall 2021, working directly with the Trace Center. Dr. Wentz is also a Professor of MIS at the Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania as well as the Research Advisor for My Blind Spot in New York. For more than 15 years, he has been involved in a variety of projects related to Web accessibility and usability for people with disabilities. His research expertise focuses on HCI, accessibility, usability, and their intersection with business, public policy, and law. His most recent publication, “A Socio-legal Framework for Improving the Accessibility of Research Articles for People with Disabilities” can be found in the Journal of Business and Technology Law.

Meagan Griffith is a second year HCIM student. She is currently a Graduate Assistant for Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden but began working with Dr. Brian Wentz and Dr. Jonathan Lazar in 2019 before her senior year of undergraduate studies at University of Maryland. Her research with Dr. Wentz and Dr. J. Lazar investigated and quantified the time lost by Blind users on the web due to accessibility barriers. Now, she is assisting Dr. Vanderheiden with the deployment of Morphic – a tool that makes computers easier to use and allows portability with settings and AT. Meagan will also be working on new exciting projects investigating what the future of interfaces may look like and how to effectively simplify email interfaces. Additionally, she will be completing her Master’s thesis and plans to defend it in Spring 2022.

Date: Thursday, November 4, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Privacy for Whom? A Multi-Stakeholder Exploration of Privacy Designs
Speaker: Yaxing Yao

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: How to protect people’s privacy is a key challenge in our increasingly data-driven society. Existing research on privacy protection has primarily focused on end-users of computing systems. However, there are various stakeholders at play in these socio-technical systems. Privacy tools that only consider the end-users might collide with the needs of other stakeholders, making these tools less desirable. Drawing from my work on smart homes, I will present the privacy needs of different stakeholders and how these needs might conflict with each other. For example, my research shows that secondary users (i.e., people, such as guests and passersby, who are neither the owners nor direct users, can be subject to usage and recording of smart home devices) have their own privacy needs, which differ from that of the owners and are often ignored. I will discuss how a multi-stakeholder perspective can influence the design of privacy-enhancing technologies (e.g., cooperative mechanisms that bridge different stakeholders) as well as its implications for other emerging domains (e.g., smart cities).

Bio: Yaxing Yao is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Systems at UMBC. His research lies in the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Usable Privacy, and Design. Traditionally, empirical privacy research has focused on the privacy concerns and needs from the individual user’s level. However, evolving networked environments, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Smart Homes, are transforming the privacy landscape considering the conflicting privacy needs, imbalanced power dynamics, and social confrontations among different stakeholders beyond a single user. His research shifts the research focus from the privacy experiences of single users to that of multiple stakeholders in these environments, aiming to develop novel privacy-enhancing technologies to address the privacy needs of multiple stakeholders in shared systems such as the IoT, Smart Homes, and Smart Cities. He earned his PhD in Information Science from the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University (2020) and has complete a postdoc position in the CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University (2020-2021).

Date: Thursday, October 28, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Designing For Distributed Audience Engagement in Immersive Media Experiences
Speaker: Alina Striner, postdoctoral researcher, DIS group

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumption and co-creation of arts changed fundamentally. In this talk, I will present my research on audience participation in media experiences, describing work on mapping a spectrum of audience interactivity, and creating an audience participation design space in the context of game live-streaming. I will also describe work on designing the Co-creation Space, a digital safe space for the creation of remote participatory art. This talk will consider the challenges of designing for distributed liveness and remote co-creation as the arts moves into a hybrid in-person and remote format.

Bio: Alina Striner is a postdoctoral researcher in the DIS group at the Dutch national research institute of Mathematics and Computer Science (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica) in Amsterdam. Her research focuses on designing for immersive audience experiences in interactive media, and on technology for artistic co-creation. Previously she was a ERCIM post-doc fellow at CWI, and completed her PhD in the HCIL in 2019.

Date: Thursday, October 21, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Lightning Talks by HCIL students
Speakers: Sarah Vahlkamp, Hannah Bako, Jude Poole

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2021
Time:
12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Human AI Collaboration: Social Perceptions, Measuring Outcomes and Overreliance
Speaker: Zahra Ashktorab, Research Scientist, IBM

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Contemporary AI, driven by Big Data and statistical machine learning, raise important questions for researchers as the promise of machines as collaborative partners in a number of everyday and domain settings becomes more and more a reality. A number of papers in recent years have addressed questions of human-AI collaboration, for example in medical decision-making, data science work or IT infrastructure design practices. This talk will consist of the study of human-AI collaboration in two contexts: a human-AI collaborative word guessing game and an AI-assisted UX paradigm that aids data labelers by allowing a single labeling action to apply to multiple records.

Bio: Zahra Ashktorab is Research Scientist in the AI Experience team at IBM Research. In her research group, Dr. Ashktorab studies factors that lead to successful collaborations between humans and AI agents in various domains and settings. Her current interests lie at the intersection of machine learning, human-computer interaction, and design. Dr. Ashktorab has published innovations in several different research communities including CHI (Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems), CSCW (Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work) and IUI (Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces). Dr. Ashktorab received a BS in Computer Science from University of Maryland, College Park and her MS and PhD in Human Computer Interaction from University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to joining IBM Research in 2017, she interned for Microsoft Research, Data Science for Social Good, and National Institutes of Health.

Date: Thursday, October 7, 2021
Time:
12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Prompting Rich and Low-Burden Self-Tracking Through Multimodal Data Input
Speaker: Yuhan Luo, PhD Candidate, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Multimodal systems seek to support effective human-computer interaction leveraging people’s natural capabilities. While screen-based touch, keyboard, and mouse input have been the mainstream, we see the growing popularity of speech input. Inspired by speech’s fast, flexible, and expressive nature, I examine how speech input complements traditional touch input on smartphones in supporting self-tracking practices.

Bio: Yuhan Luo is a Ph.D. Candidate in Information Studies at University of Maryland College Park. Her research focuses on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Health Informatics, Personal Informatics, and Ubiquitous Computing. Yuhan is passionate about bringing positivity to individuals’ everyday health and well-being through supporting them to better capture and manage their personal health data. Toward this goal, she has designed and evaluated multimodal self-tracking systems such as mobile apps and Alexa skills. Before joining the Ph.D. program at UMD, Yuhan received her master’s degree in Information Science and Technology at Pennsylvania State University and her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at Southeast University in China. More information can be found on her website: https://www.terpconnect.umd.edu/~yuhanluo/.

Date: Thursday, September 30, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Connecting Contexts: Designing Privacy and Security Resources to Teach Core Concepts to Children and Families
Speaker: Jessica Vitak, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: As smartphones, tablets, and related technologies have become commonplace, children are becoming adept at navigating these devices long before they enter school. At the same time, most conversations about how data privacy and security are deferred until children are in middle and high school, if not older. In this talk, I’ll walk through two of my team’s research projects focused on helping children and families develop digital literacy, with a focus on developing their understanding of privacy and security risks and how to protect their data online. I’ll describe ongoing design work with children to develop tools that are both engaging and educational. And I’ll highlight the important role that libraries, educators, and parents play in teaching and reinforcing core privacy and security concepts.

Bio: Jessica Vitak is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland and Director of the HCIL. Her research evaluates the privacy and ethical implications of big data, the internet of things, and other “smart” technologies. She seeks to understand how privacy concerns play a role in technology adoption and use, and she develops tools and resources to help children and adults make more informed decisions when using technology and sharing sensitive data. For more information, see https://pearl.umd.edu.

Date: Thursday, September 23, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Cognitive Security: All the Other Things
Speaker: SJ Terp, Faculty Member, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: SJ will host a fireside chat on the human side of managing disinformation response across countries, communities, and languages. 

Bio: SJ Terp helps autonomous systems, algorithms, and human communities work together. She’s an Atlantic Council senior fellow, working on technology policy, and cofounded CogSecCollab and ThreeT Consulting, where she worked on processes and technologies for disinformation defense. Her background includes autonomous systems, intelligence systems, data strategy, data ethics, nationstate policy development, crowdsourcing, and crisis data response.

Date: Thursday, September 16, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Where NLP meets people
Speaker: Hal Daumé III, Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Maryland

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Although natural language processing is about language and language is about people, a lot of research in this space in the past has abstracted away the “people” part. In this talk, I’ll briefly summarize some recent past work on bringing “people” back in, focusing on two pillars: (1) language systems that interact with people, and (2) addressing potential harms of language systems on stakeholder populations. Mostly I’ll talk about upcoming/ongoing projects, also following these two pillars, in settings like computational models of stereotyping, designing technology for content moderation, and interactive summarization.

Bio: Hal Daumé III is a Perotto Professor in Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park; he also spends time at Microsoft Research, New York City. He holds joint appointments in UMIACS and Language Science. For more information, see his website: https://users.umiacs.umd.edu/~hal/

Date: Thursday, September 9, 2021
Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm ET

Talk Title: Communities, Computing & the Carolinas
Speaker: Tammy Clegg, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Location: HBK2119 and on Zoom
Zoom registration: Click here to register

Abstract: Recently, I was invited to give a keynote talk at the ACM International Computing Education Research Conference. After putting this talk together, I wanted to share it with my home research community as it included personal reflections on how my own approach to learning and HCI has been shaped by my early experiences in CS. In this talk I will trace my own entree into Computer Science as a woman of color in North Carolina, sharing ways community experiences played pivotal roles. More broadly, I will share research insights from my research that illustrate the pivotal role of communities for STEM learning and that point to ways to mobilize communities to support such learning. Lastly, I will share some examples of STEM and computing learning environments that draw upon inherent characteristics of communities to promote life-relevant STEM learning.

Bio: Tamara Clegg is an associate professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, where she co-directs the Youth eXperience (YX) Lab. She received her Ph.D. from Georgia Tech’s College of Computing and her B.S. in Computer Science from North Carolina State University. Tamara’s work focuses on designing technology (e.g., social media, mobile apps, e-textiles, community displays) to support life-relevant learning where learners, particularly those from underrepresented groups in science, engage in science in the context of achieving personally relevant goals. She seeks to understand ways such learning environments and technologies support scientific disposition development. Tamara’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Studies, and Google.

Date: Thursday, September 2, 2021
Time: 12:30-1:30pm
Location: iSchool Commons (HBK 0300)

Details: Join us for our welcome back to campus event. We’ll do introductions, catch up with lab members and their research, and have pizza. We’ll also have former HCIL director Niklas Elmqvist officially pass the torch (er, hockey stick) to incoming director Jessica Vitak. The event will be held in the iSchool Commons to give us more space to spread out.


Spring 2021 Semester

Fall 2020 Semester