Skip to main content

HCIL Seminar Series - Spring 2006

The Seminar Series offers a common ground that can promote interdisciplinary discussion on a wide range of topics relating to Human-Computer Interaction.

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

For questions or comments, contact HCIL at


February 2, 2006

Thursday, 2pm, A.V. Williams Building 3258

Michael Twidale
Associate Professor, School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois

Can we fix it? Yes, we can!


What do you get when you lower the barriers of cost and complexity to collaborative computational interactions? It seems that you get an explosion of end-user creativity, ranging from websites to blogs, wikis, podcasts, novel uses of multiplayer games, machinima, mashups, etc. etc.

This seems to offer a set of possible ways to address some pervasive problems in informatics, in particular issues of learnability, problem-solving, tailoring, customization, appropriation and innovation.

In this talk I want to survey a range of activities that all involve people, many of whom would not regard themselves as computer scientists, who are tackling problems collectively, using available technologies. These collective solutions look very similar to the activities of Open Source software development, but do not necessarily require as much computational expertise. How can we design structures, frameworks, interfaces, metaphors and visualizations to help people fix as they go? How is this different from our more conventional approaches to trying to get it right first time for 'them' (and usually failing)? Can collective fixing allow a more inclusive, more radical form of open source software meets participatory design through collaborative usability analysis? How is this approach different from assuming co-developers ought to become computer scientists and declaring like Marie Antoinette: "Let them use emacs"?


Michael Twidale is an Associate Professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before that he was a faculty member of the Computing Department at Lancaster University, UK.

His research interests include computer supported cooperative work, computer supported collaborative learning, user interface design and evaluation, information visualization, museum informatics, how people cope with computers, scenario based design and the application of ethnographic methods to computer systems design and evaluation. All these involve the use of interdisciplinary techniques in order to better understand the needs of end users and their difficulties with existing computer applications as part of the process of designing more effective systems.

Current projects include over the shoulder learning, an investigation into collaborative techniques for improving data quality in databases, and the usability of open source software.

March 6, 2006

Monday, 2pm, CSIC 3120

Michael Gillam
Director, Medical Media Lab
Research Director, National Center for Emergency Medicine Informatics
National Institute for Medical Informatics

Exotic and Emerging Technologies in Medical Informatics


From virtual reality and advanced data visualization to robotics and holographic displays, a variety of high-tech research opportunities are available for students and scientists through the Medical Media Lab at the National Institute for Medical Informatics (NIMI) in Washington D.C. (

The greatest improvements to medical care in the next 10 years are expected to emerge from the use of information technology.

Project ER One/Hospital One is a $400 million dollar next-generation health care facility being built in Washington D.C. to find, develop, and deploy these technologies into a live clinical environment.

This lecture will demonstrate the very latest information technologies from Project ER One/Hospital One; outline the vision of NIMI and the high potential informatics research areas; and present opportunities for collaboration and research partnerships with one of the world's leading research centers in applied medical informatics.


Michael Gillam, MD, is Director of the Medical Media Lab at the National Institutes for Medical Informatics in Washington D.C.  He is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who trained, practices and teaches at Northwestern University. He is both a practicing emergency medicine physician and a programmer who splits his time between Chicago and Washington D.C.  At the Medical Media Lab, he oversees projects that include: augmented and virtual reality applications in medicine, advanced data visualization, datamining, ultra wideband tracking, and medical robotics.  He heads the MedStar fellowship program in medical informatics and oversees all grants programs within the ER One Institutes for Innovation in Medicine.  He has served as chair of the Informatics Sections of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine and the American College of Emergency Physicians.


May 1, 2006

Monday, 3pm, A.V. Williams Bldg 2120

Tamara Munzner
Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
University of British Columbia

Scalable Visual Comparison of Biological Trees and Sequence


We present the TreeJuxtaposer and SequenceJuxtaposer visualization applications for comparing and browsing evolutionary trees and genomic sequences, respectively. These systems use the Focus+Context navigational metaphor of allowing users to fluidly stretch and shrink parts of the view, as if manipulating a rubber sheet with the borders tacked down. We guarantee the visibility of landmarks at all times, so that users can stay oriented as they explore complex datasets. In our systems, landmarks can be regions of difference between datasets, or the results of a search, or user-chosen regions. This technique, which we call "accordion drawing", supports smooth realtime transitions between a big-picture overview and a drilled-down views that show details in context. Our new partitioned rendering infrastructure for scalable accordion drawing (PRISAD) allows fluid realtime interaction with trees of several million nodes and multiple aligned sequences of up to 40 million total nucleotides. We also report on a user study comparing stretch and shrink navigation to more traditional pan and zoom navigation methods, and evaluating the usage patterns of detailed focus areas versus aggregate context areas.


Tamara Munzner received a BS in 1991 and a PhD in 2000 from Stanford. She was on the technical staff of The Geometry Center, a mathematical visualization research group at the University of Minnesota, from 1991 to 1995. From 2000 to 2002 she was a research scientist at the Compaq Systems Research Center in California. She has been an assistant professor in the University of British Columbia Department of Computer Science since 2002. Her current research interests are information visualization, graph drawing, dimensionality reduction, and interactive computer graphics.


Tech Reports
Video Reports
Annual Symposium

Seminars + Events
HCIL Seminar Series
Annual Symposium
HCIL Service Grants
Events Archives
HCIL Conference Travel Award
Job Openings
For the Press
HCIL Overview
Become a Member
Collaborating Groups + People
Academic Visitors
Join our Mailing List
Contact Us
Visit Us
HCIL Store
Give the HCIL a Hand
HCIL T-shirts for Sale
Our Lighter Side
HCIL Memories Page
Faculty/ Staff
Ph.D. Alumni
Past Members
Research Areas
Design Process
Digital Libraries
Physical Devices
Public Access
Research Histories
Faculty Listed by Research
Project Highlights
Project Screenshots
Publications and TRs
Studying HCI
Masters in HCI
PhD in HCI
Visiting Scholars
Class Websites
Sponsor our Research
Sponsor our Annual Symposium
Active Sponsorship
Industrial Visitors

Web Accessibility