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 one talk given each month during the Fall.  

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.

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.
Fall 2003 Series

John H. Flowers, Professor / University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Department of Psychology
Should we listen to our data?  The promise of sonification as alternative or supplement to data visualization techniques."  (Abstract)
September 23, 2:00pm, 2120 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC).

Brad Myers, Associate Research Professor/ Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction Institute
"Mobile Devices for Control" (Abstract)
October 21, 2:00pm,
2120 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC).

Gennady Andrienko / Manager Technology/ Fraunhofer Institut Autonome Intelligente Systeme, Spatial Decision Support Team
"Spatio-temporal information visualization" (Abstract)
November 14, 2:00pm, 2107 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC).

Michael Eisenberg, Associate Professor/ University of Colorado at Boulder, Cognitive Science Institute, Computer Science-Admin  
"Mindstuff:  Educational Technology Beyond the Computer" (Abstract)
December 2, 2:00pm, 2120 Computer Science Instructional Center (CSIC).



John H. Flowers : "Should we listen to our data?  The promise of sonification as alternative or supplement to data visualization techniques"

While it has not yet gained widespread acceptance, the representation of quantitative data through sound is a promising new tool for scientific discovery, education, and communication that is potentially available to nearly anyone with a personal computing device. As is true with the development of computer visualization techniques, the production of effective auditory display technology will require tight collaboration between experts in computer and software technology and cognitive scientists familiar with the properties and limitations of human attention and perception.  Dr. Flowers’ presentation will present examples of recent research on the auditory representation of statistical properties of relatively “simple” numeric data sets, as well as sonification of more complex multivariate time series data such as climate records. His presentation will also outline some avenues of future research on facilitating human decisions concerning complex data and development of assistive technology for blind and visually impaired individuals.

Brad Myers: "Mobile Devices for Control"

With today's wireless technologies, such as BlueTooth and IEEE 802.11, connecting handheld computers and conventional computers together are becoming no longer an occasional event for synchronization. Instead, the devices are frequently in close, interactive communication. Many environments, such as offices, meeting rooms and classrooms, already contain computers, and the smart homes of the future will have ubiquitous embedded computation. Household and office appliances will soon have wireless communication abilities. When the user enters one of these environments carrying a handheld or wearable computer, how will that computer interact with the environment? The Pebbles project is exploring the many ways that small handheld Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) such as PalmOS devices or Pocket PC / Windows CE devices can serve as a useful adjunct to the "fixed" computers in those situations. For meetings, our applications allow the presenter to use a PDA to have better control of presentations, and allow the audience to actively participate with their own PDAs. For the office, other Pebbles applications allow the PDA to be used as an extra input and output device. For the home, we are exploring the use of the PDA as a customizable, intelligent "personal universal controller" (PUC) for appliances. For classrooms, we are investigating how the students' handhelds can enhance testing and notetaking when they are connected to the instructor's PC. For the disabled, we are investigating how PDAs can serve as assistive devices for access to computers and appliances. This talk will provide an overview of our Pebbles project, including a live demonstration of our systems (available for download from our web site) and a discussion of future plans.

For more information, see http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pebbles/

Gennady Andrienko: "Spatio-temporal information visualisation"

The importance of exploratory data analysis (EDA) as a prerequisite to application of computational methods, such as traditional statistical analysis, is currently widely recognized. The goal of EDA is to gain understanding of data, i.e. to penetrate into relationships, patterns, and trends hidden inside data and to formulate hypotheses that can later be checked using statistical methods. Preliminary investigation of data must also precede their preparation to processing by various computation-based analysis tools, such as data mining. 

Techniques of EDA are mostly based on data visualization, i.e. the graphical presentation of data in ways that prompt the discovery of important traits and relationships. Computers enabled features of graphical presentations that are now considered indispensable for EDA: high user interactivity, allowance for various transformations, and multiple dynamically linked views such that changes in one display are immediately propagated to all others. An important category of data dealt with in statistics is spatially referenced data. For visualization of such data, maps are traditionally used, since they are isomorphic to space and thus capable of representing and conveying to human’s eye significant spatial relationships. High degree of user interactivity is a general requirement to map displays intended to support “spatial thinking”, i.e. hypothesis generation, data analysis, and decision making. Examples of possible user interactions include: 

Still, interactive techniques and tools can support information exploration and knowledge construction only when users are able to properly utilize these instruments. User studies demonstrate that effective use of the novel techniques requires learning of the new concepts and ideas. Users are able to understand and adopt the new ideas concerning map interactivity and manipulability. However, these ideas needed to be appropriately introduced; people could not grasp them just from the appearance of the maps and controls.

Our Spatial Decision Support Team (SPADE) at the Fraunhofer Institute for Autonomous Intelligent Systems designs and implements novel visualization techniques to support exploratory data analysis and decision making in a spatial context. In particular, we have analyzed traditional methods of graphical and cartographical data representation, revealed their strong and weak sides, and found ways to enhance their strengths and compensate for weaknesses by adding interactivity and dynamics. We combine cartographic visualization with other methods of graphical data representation and data analysis methods from other disciplines, such as statistics and data mining. To support multi-criteria decision making, we combine established techniques for multi-criteria decision support with interactive maps and graphs and invent our own methods, highly interactive and visual. We suggest a range of techniques for decision support accommodating various styles of decision-making. 

The general topic of the proposed tutorial is visualization of spatial data as a tool for exploratory data analysis, problem solving, and decision-making. The tutorial will be based on the CommonGIS system developed by the SPADE team. The system is available for free use for research and educational purposes. The participants will receive CD-ROMs containing fully functional CommonGIS system and a variety of demonstration projects. 

Most of the tools considered in the tutorial are unique for CommonGIS since this system have been specially designed for the most efficient support of EDA and decision-making. However, the experience gained in the tutorial can be also utilised in work with commercially available software. In many cases, operations that are effectively “packed” in CommonGIS into a single tool may be done in other packages through sequences of data transformation, calculation, and visualization operations. Some recommendations concerning data exploration and decision making with the use of available commercial software will be given. 

The tutorial will be held in 1.5 hours and consists of a lecture combined with demonstration. 

A collection of slides is available at http://www.commongis.com/tutorial/tutorial-ppt.zip



Michael Eisenberg: "Mindstuff: Educational Technology Beyond the Computer"

Educational computing has a (partially deserved) reputation of "virtualizing" children's lives--of distancing children from experience with the physical world. This talk, in contrast, will describe a variety of novel ways in which computational media can be combined with all sorts of physical materials to enhance the practice of both traditional and non-traditional educational crafts. The talk will describe a variety of projects in our Craft Technologies Group at the University of Colorado. In these projects, we attempt to design educationally rich activities that blend together new types of computational media, output devices, and physical stuff.