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HCIL Seminar Series

The HCIL Seminar Series offers a common ground that can promote interdisciplinary discussion on a wide range of topics relating to Human-Computer Interaction. The theme of this Spring's talks is how exciting industrial research can become important products for people. Our speakers are two industry leaders in the field of HCI and they will share their insights and experiences. 

Special thanks to the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship for Sponsoring these events!


Spring 2009 Speakers

April 24, 2009

Friday, 11am, Room 2119, Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Mary Czerwinski
Microsoft Research

From Scatterbrained to Focused: User Interface Help for Today’s Crazed Information Worker


Today's information workers are characterized by their ability to easily handle interruptions, multi-task, switch tasks quickly, and make sense of enormous amounts of information in high-pressure situations. Current and future technologies, including various wearables and sensing devices, ensure that robust communications and information transmissions can occur almost anywhere, any time. Our ability to log, collect, and visualize event data has become more sophisticated, allowing us to analyze trends and identify patterns across many areas of individual and group behaviors. How do we use these technological trends to ensure that we are designing tools that improve productivity, insight, and an overall sense of user control? In this talk, Mary discusses several of her research group's projects in this area along with their path through productization.


Mary Czerwinski is a Research Area Manager of the Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) research group at Microsoft Research. The group is responsible for studying and designing advanced technology and interaction techniques that leverage human capabilities across a wide variety of input and output channels. Mary's primary research areas include studying group awareness systems, information visualization and task switching. Mary has been an affiliate assistant professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Washington since 1996. She has also held positions at Compaq Computer Corporation, Rice University, Lockheed Engineering and Sciences Corporation, and Bell Communications Research. She received a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington. Mary is active in the field of Human-Computer Interaction, publishing and participating in a wide number of conferences, professional venues and journals. More information about Dr. Czerwinski can be found at

April 27, 2009

Monday, 11am, Room 2119, Hornbake Bldg, South Wing

Joe Marks
VP-R&D, Disney Research

The What and How of Technological Research at The Walt Disney Company


At The Walt Disney Company we tell stories. For us, technology is always a means to an end. This influences what technological research we do, and how we do it. If the technology we need to tell a story is for sale in the marketplace, then we can buy it. But if we need a technology that is not commercially available, then we look to our research labs to develop it. For example, some current topics of interest to us include:

• Physical simulation of cloth, hair, and fluids for animated CG movies.

• The representation of 2D geometry for hand-drawn animation.

• Interactive robots for park attractions.

• Mobile computing for guests in our parks & resorts.

• Real-time athlete tracking for sports visualization.

• Fluent user interfaces for chat in massively multiplayer online games.

Because we don’t need to make money from technology per se, and because we have a leading position in the media & entertainment industry, we can conduct our technological research more openly than many other companies. We collaborate with academe, publish our results, and work with research organizations at other companies. Jointly owned intellectual property is often acceptable to us. The idiosyncrasies of our business model thus make R&D at the Walt Disney Company somewhat different than at other companies, but no less important. We anticipate continued growth in our research capabilities as we look for more and better ways to invent and innovate around our core business of storytelling.  


Joe Marks grew up in Dublin, Ireland. He holds three degrees from Harvard University. His areas of interest include computer graphics, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence. He has worked previously at Bolt Beranek and Newman and at Digital's Cambridge Research Laboratory. Prior to joining The Walt Disney Company he was the Research Director at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) in Cambridge, MA, from 2000-2006.











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