PhD student and SCC Lab member Nan-Chen Chen received the Microsoft Research Graduate Women Scholarship for 2014. The highly selective scholarship was established to encourage first year female PhD students in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Math. It is awarded to only ten recipients a year in recognition of their undergraduate work and future research goals. Nan-Chen is interested in building visual analytics tools to help people better understand data. She is passionate about developing technologies that support collaboration and bridging the gaps between disciplines so that people from different fields can more easily work together to solve problems. Further information about the scholarship can be found here.
SCC Lab members Megan Torkildson (undergraduate student) and Daniel Perry (PhD student) represented the HCDE Department at UW’s Computing Open House this past Saturday, an event that drew over 1,000 middle and high school students and their families to explore and learn about computing activities on campus. Torkildson and Perry were among the HCDE volunteers at a table that featured an interactive iPad activity as well as the bioinformatics game, MAX5, developed by Perry and members of the Games for Good Research Group. “Many of the students we spoke with were pretty excited to find out about our department, especially the ones interested in computing as well as film production, art, or game animation. They didn’t know a department like ours existed where they could easily combine these interests” remarked Perry. The annual event was sponsored by Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, and featured dozens of projects in computing related fields.
As an academic lab we focus a lot on formal user studies. But what about companies that are looking for a few simple ways to improve their user interface and get feedback? Lab member Katie Kuksenok’s recent blog post offers tips for organizations seeking to improve their user experience. Read more here. The post was also recently featured on LifeHacker.
Professor Cecilia Aragon presented the keynote address November 11th at the first annual I Chilean Conference on Human Computer Interaction (ChileCHI) in Temuco, Chile. PhD student Daniel Perry also presented recent research he’s conducted on game design. Aragon’s keynote talk offered insights into the evolving state of HCI, drawing on research she has conducted in visualizing large datasets. Aragon also delivered an inspirational talk in Spanish to women computer scientists titled “Choosing to fly: why getting a PhD in computer science is like flying upside down.” The first annual ChileCHI Conference was held in Temuco, Chile, and brought together the international and Latin American HCI communities to exchange ideas, methods, approaches and techniques. The conference theme focused on intercultural exchange and cooperation between people with different backgrounds and needs.
Daniel Perry (who is advised by Aragon) gave a well-received presentation on a paper titled “Diverse Player Experiences in the Design of Science Games for Bioinformatics.” The paper was co-authored by Perry, Aragon, and HCDE students Aaron Lynch, Asmi Joshi, Karin Hellman, John Robinson, Melissa Richtarik, and UW Microbiology student Alyssa-Cyre Oyadomari. The research described the design of the bioinformatics game Max5, built by Perry and HCDE’s Games for Good Directed Research Group. Perry remarked that, “It was really exciting to be a part of such an energetic HCI community. There’s a lot we can learn from increased exchange between the North American and Latin American research communities.”
SCC Lab Director and Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) Professor Cecilia Aragon is co-PI of a recently awarded $37.8 million collaborative initiative for data science research that was received from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The University of Washington, the University of California, Berkeley, and New York University are partners in the five-year initiative that was announced Tuesday at a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy event.
Dr. Aragon’s research focuses on computer-supported cooperative work, visual analytics, and creativity for scientific collaborations, including the socio-technical aspects of cyberinfrastructure. The award will support her further work in understanding relationships and collaborations between data science and science using an ethnographic approach. “It is critical to understand the culture of data science as a socio-technical system and not as a purely technical problem of developing better algorithms to process huge volumes of data, although those are needed as well. In the end, human insight will be required to make sense out of exponentially greater quantities of complex data,” said Aragon. The UW team, which is made up of faculty from across campus, is led by Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering and Director of the UW eScience Institute. UC Berkeley’s team is led by Nobel laureate astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter, and NYU’s by neuroscientist and computer scientist Yann LeCun.
Further information on the initiative and award recipients can be found at the eScience Institute blog.
Undergraduate lab member Megan Torkildson gave a well received talk at HCDE’s Corporate Affiliates Day (CAP Day) yesterday morning. CAP Day is a time for faculty and students to share research projects and connect with industry partners including Microsoft, Mosaic, Boeing and others. Megan spoke about the department’s emphasis on community involvement in research and shared her recent work on text and social media analysis, discussing the development of the ALOE (Affect Labeler of Expressions) tool and research on social media Twitter posts around an oil spill.
“Let’s share food and flavors we care about, and learn new recipes,” so began the entreaty by lab member and CSE PhD student Katie Kuksenok to start a lab tradition of sharing healthier homemade foods. Out with the pizzas and sodas and in with the fresh soups, salads, breads, and grains. The SCCL’s inaugural lab meal was a huge success, featuring delicious dishes fresh from Katie’s kitchen, including a savory pumpkin curry soup with lentils, a sweet potato cranberry arugula salad, and a chai spices mango bread pudding. Lab member Michael Brooks contributed warm corn bread, the perfect addition to this fall meal. SCCL director Cecilia Aragon commented, “judging from everybody’s delighted commentary and lip-smacking, it was a tremendous success.” Looking around at the empty dishes and big smiles after the meeting, we couldn’t agree more.
On next week’s menu: Korean style rice balls with vegetables, meats, and fish, and a mapo tofu side contributed from the kitchen of lab member and PhD student Ray Hong. Yum!
SCC lab member Megan Torkildson has received the College of Engineering’s Emerging Leaders in Engineering Scholarship and HCDE’s Boeing Scholarship. The Emerging Leaders Scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students in the Emerging Leaders in Engineering program who demonstrate leadership potential.
Megan is currently an undergraduate in Human Centered Design & Engineering and was previously a National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar. Her main academic interests are interaction design, information visualization, crowdsourcing, and social media research. She placed second in the CHI 2013 Student Research Competition for her work on visualizing machine learning errors. Megan also works as a PEERs (Promoting Equity in Engineering Relationships) leader, educating the engineering community about the importance of diversity in engineering.
SCC lab member John Robinson received the Sakson Diversity Undergraduate Scholarship in the Human Centered Design & Engineering Department. The scholarship was established to award undergraduate students in HCDE that are expanding diversity in the educational and professional setting.
SCC Lab member and CSE PhD student Katie Kuksenok and SCC Lab director Cecilia Aragon were co-authors on a recent article accepted to the Journal of Surgical Research. The article titled “Crowd-Sourced Assessment of Technical Skills (C-SATS): A Novel Method to Evaluate Surgical Performance” marks the first use of crowdsourcing for surgical skills assessment. The article was co-authored by Carolyn Chen, Lee White, Timothy Kowalewski, Rajesh Aggarwal, Chris Lintott, Bryan Comstock, Katie Kuksenok, Cecilia Aragon, Daniel Holst, and Thomas Lendvay.
The article explores the effectiveness of large crowds sampled from two on-line crowdsourcing venues, Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk and Facebook, testing the hypothesis that crowdsourcing of technical skills using validated surgical assessment tools is equivalent to assessment by experienced surgeon educators. Their results show that not only could crowds, presumably unfamiliar with surgical education, rate a common robotic surgery suturing task equivalent to experienced surgeons’ ratings, but that the crowds could also be honed to identify crowd workers who demonstrated markers of critical thinking making the workers more accurate. While this research finding does not presume that such a rating can assess surgical judgement, they note that this observation is not unlike being able to identify good from bad athletic performances in a sport one may have no ability to play.
This research represents a departure from conventional wisdom and practice in the area of procedural skills education. CSATS may provide a potential opportunity to disseminate basic technical skills assessment rapidly and globally while preserving educator resources ‘on the ground’ for refined, tailored advanced technical skills curricula to accelerate individual learning curves.