HCIL Seminar Series

The purpose of the seminars is to help promote interdisciplinary discussion on topics relating to Human-Computer Interaction while facilitating communication between members of the HCI community.  There will be talks throughout the Spring.  

These lectures are *free* and open to the public.  No reservations are needed.

For questions or comments, contact HCIL information at  hcil-info@cs.umd.edu.

Most of the talks are all taking place in the new Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC) on campus.  If you need directions, please go to: www.inform.umd.edu/CampusInfo/Facilities/Buildings/CSIC/ .  Parking is available in the hourly lot across from the AV Williams Building on Paint Branch Drive.
Spring 2004 Series
Eric P. Hoffman, Director and Professor/ Research Center for Genetic Medicine,  Children's National Medical Center, George Washington University
"Bio-informatics and visualizations in human time series and large cross-sectional studies" (Abstract)
February 17, Tuesday, 2:00pm, 3118 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC)

Film: "To Dream Tomorrow:  The Story of Ada Byron Lovelace" (Abstract)
Screening and Discussion with Directors/Producers John Fuegi and Jo Francis
This film is being presented by the Department of Computer Science and the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Hosted by Ben Shneiderman, Professor/Computer Science , University of Maryland, College Park
February 23,  Monday, 4:00pm,  1115 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC)

David Cavallo,  Research Scientist and Principle Investigator/ Future of Learning Group, MIT Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Learning in the Digital Age"  (Abstract)
March 30, Tuesday, 1:00pm, 3258 AV Williams Building

Gary Marchionini, Professor/University of North Carolina at Chapel HillSchool of Information and Library Science
"Agile Views for Digital Video" (Abstract)
April 27, Tuesday, 2:00pm, 3118 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC)
Gerhard Fischer, Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the Center for LifeLong Learning & Design at the University of Colorado at Boulder
"Supporting Collaboration and Distributed Cognition in Context-Aware Pervasive Computing Environments" (Abstract)
May 7, Friday, 11:00am, 3118 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC)



Eric P. Hoffman : "Bio-informatics and visualizations in human time series and large cross-sectional studies"

Biological data remain a problem with enormous dimensionality for those concerned with data analysis, interpretation and visualizations. Human biological data have considerably greater dimensionality than experimental organisms, due to the difficulty in controlling environment and other experimental variables, as well as confounding noise from genetic heterogeneity (e.g. ethnic background, sex), age, and other factors.  Despite the considerable noise in studies of human subjects, the genomic resources have become quite mature, with newly available microarrays able to query all genes at 22-fold redundancy, and even each exon of each gene. We present two studies of human samples, where the sources of noise are  studied and quantitated, and useful information uncovered by filtering, statistical analyses, and visualizations of microarray data. The first is a study of 115 human muscle biopsies, from 12 different diagnostic groups. The large number of groups is used to filter both confounding noise, and unimportant changes, to arrive at significant cause/effect pathway information in specific groups. The second study involves metabolic syndrome, a prelude to type II diabetes. Recent studies have suggested that 40% of individuals born in 2000 will be diagnosed with type II diabetes, and will lose 22 quality years of life from the disorder. Using volunteers with features of metabolic syndrome, we use time series data with multiple muscle biopsies per individual, to derive clear pathway data relevant to development of type II diabetes. In this second example, the longitudinal design allows each individual to serve as their own control, hence canceling out most confounding variables. Collaborators: William Kraus, Duke University. Ben Shneiderman, UMD. Yue Wang, Virginia Tech. Jason Xuan, Catholic University. Co-Authors (post-docs): Marina Bakay, Zuyi Wang, Dustin Hittel, Gisela Melcon.



"To Dream Tomorrow," the newest of Flare's Women of Power documentary films, is the story of Ada Byron Lovelace, her work with Charles Babbage, and their contributions to computing over a hundred years before the time usually thought to be the start of the Computer Age.


Daughter of a mathematically gifted, social activist mother and the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" poet, Lord Byron, Ada's life was unconventional, daring, and short. Possessed of enormous energy and talent, she faced some daunting obstacles -- both in her personal life and the society of her time -- as she fought to work professionally and make a contribution to science and mathematics.

Ada was just 17 when she met Babbage and became intrigued by the workings of a mechanical calculator he had designed. Though as a woman she was barred from universities and scientific libraries, Ada continued her mathematical studies, encouraged by Babbage, who brought her into contact with leading scientists of the day. These included the famous science writer, Mary Somerville; Michael Faraday, first person to generate an electrical current; Isabard Kingdom Brunel, who completed the tunnel under the Thames; and Charles Wheatstone who was developing the telegraph. The group discussed with Babbage his idea of the "Analytical Engine," a powerful new calculator he was designing to have a central processor --the "Mill" --divided from the "Store" where data would be kept. It could be programmed to perform any calculation.

Would the government fund such a huge and costly machine? And, if this general-purpose computing machine were built, would it work? Much later, at the turn of the twenty first century, an experiment carried out at London's Science Museum, shown in the film, supports earlier evidence that Babbage and Lovelace were justified in their confidence that the machine could have been built in their day. At the time, however, a distracted and embattled Prime Minister rejected Babbage's request for further funding, claiming that a computing machine would be "worthless as far as science is concerned."

To help garner support to build the Analytical Engine, Ada sprang into action to describe how such a machine would function. In the Notes, published when she was 27, she went even beyond her famous contemporaries in articulating the concept of symbolic manipulation that would lead beyond number-crunching to applications that are only now, in our own time, beginning to be fully realized.

Reception with light snacks begins at 3:30pm in the lobby of the Computer Science Instructional Center

"An engaging, beautiful, well--researched film."
--Leonard J. Shustek, The Computer History Museum, Silicon Valley

"Moving and intelligent."
-- Irvin Kershner, Director of The Empire Strikes Back

Color, 52 minutes C 2003

Directed and Produced by John Fuegi and Jo Francis

Cinematography -- Morten Bruus

Written by John Fuegi, Jo Francis and Charlotte Arnholtz

Editorial consultation --Niels Pagh Andersen

David Cavallo : "Learning in the Digital Age"

The world resonates with rhetoric about learning - new needs and new opportunities. However, while the volume of the standard rhetoric accurately reflects an urgently growing sense that learning in the twenty-first century will be radically different, its content seldom questions conceptual and organizational constraints inherited from the nineteenth. Our work aims to elaborate the conceptual framework and the language to support thinking on a more holistic, systemic level about what being digital can mean for learning. Our design of technology facilitates these goals by simultaneously attempting to facilitate learning on both a micro and macro scale, and furthering our understanding of learning and development. In this talk I will provide more detail of this emerging framework, using cases from our projects in a variety of settings around the world, from an alternative learning environment we created in a variety of settings. These range from juvenile detention facility in Maine, to schools in Brasil, Thailand, Costa Rica, and Mexico, to informal settings in the U.S., rural Senegal, Brasil and Thailand. I will also discuss some ramifications for the design of new technologies for learning based upon this new framework and these projects.


Gary Marchionini : "Agile Views for Digital Video"

The agile views interface design framework has been applied in a number of research and development settings.  This talk will provide an overview of the framework and focus on its application to digital video retrieval as instantiated in the Open Video Project (http://www.open-video.org).  Inspired by work at HCIL in creating dynamic query interfaces, we aim to define multiple views for information and provide agile control mechanisms for shifting attention among these views.  Five genres of view may be brought into focus during information seeking.  Overviews provide glimpses of collections and previews provide abbreviated glimpses of individual objects.  Both overviews and previews provide “look ahead” functionality at different levels of granularity to help people make judgments before primary (complete object) views are displayed.  Reviews provide historical information about the current or past searches or about a collection or object’s history.  Shared views leverage the skill and knowledge of other people.  Any view can be active (in focus) at any time and those that are not active may be made apparent (peripheral) to provide context for the current focus.  Dynamic mouse actions are used as control mechanisms to shift among the views easily.  For video retrieval, we have focused our attention on creating a variety of visual surrogates to serve as views of the corpus, partitions of the corpus, and specific video segments.  Especially for video, bringing primary views into focus is expensive because loading and processing these views (e.g., full video clips) demands considerable human attention time and system resources. Abstracts, summaries, and other surrogates are valuable because they lower attention time costs by informing decisions about whether to invest in processing the full object. In the Open Video Project we have developed and evaluated storyboards, fast forwards, and excerpts as surrogates.  Textual metadata in previews, different overview options, and shared views (recommendations) are also available. Additionally, our series of user studies have led to a set of evaluation measures that serve to inform our understanding of how people seek and make sense of video content.


Gerhard Fischer: "Supporting Collaboration and Distributed Cognition in Context-Aware Pervasive Computing Environments"

We have developed and extended conceptual frameworks (including distributed cognition, meta-design, and social creativity) and innovative computational environments to support collaboration in design communities. Our computational environments transcend the limitations of desktop computing in several different directions: (1) large computational spaces allowing people to access, contribute, and interact with information to support collaborative work among people in shared physical locations; (2) socio-technical environments enriched by personalized, portable devices and wireless communication supporting people as they move around in the world; and (3) smart physical objects communicating with computational environments, allowing for context-aware information delivery.

The research discussed represents an interdisciplinary research effort bringing together researchers from human-computer interaction, software design and software engineering, ubiquitous computing, participatory design, and end-user development. We have applied our concepts and frameworks to a number of specific application domains, including: urban planning, emergency management, and assistive technology.