2019 IPaT Lunch Lectures

Kathy Pham

"Computing, Ethics and the Public Interest - What does this even mean?"

Speaker: Kathy Pham

Date: 2019-11-21 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Come for a lively talk and discussion about computing, ethics, and the public interest. The talk will range from ethics and responsibility in computer science, to honoring expertise across disciplines, to applying computer science and engineering skills to the civic and public sector. Georgia Tech and the College of Computing prepared Kathy Pham for broad impact across large tech companies, government, and the public sector. This talk will touch on opportunities for deep impact in society using our computing skills, and the many different ways a degree from Georgia Tech lays a strong foundation for the impact. Kathy will pull from her experience at Google, IBM, and the White House, and share observations from the current landscape of computing, ethics, and the public interest.

Kathy Pham is a product leader, computer scientist, and founder who has held roles in product management, software engineering, data science, consulting, and leadership in the private, non-profit, and public sector. Her work has spanned Google, IBM, Harris Healthcare, and the federal government at the United States Digital Service at the White House, where she was a founding product and engineering member. She has founded the Ethical Tech Collective, Product and Society, Women in Product Boston, the Cancer Sidekick Foundation, Team Curious, and Unite for Sight Southeast. Kathy focuses on product, ethics, responsibility, and technology.

At the Harvard Kennedy School, Kathy created and teaches Product Management and Society, and launched Product and Society. Kathy is an Affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Klein Center where she leads the Ethical Tech working group, and focuses on ethics in technology, with an emphasis on engineering culture and computer science curricula. She is also a Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, faculty affiliate at the Center for Research on Computation and Society (CRCS) at the Harvard, faculty affiliate with Assembly:Disinformation, and Fellow at Mozilla partnering with Omidyar Network where she co-leads the Responsible Computer Science Challenge. As a 2018 fellow of the MIT Media Lab and Harvard Assembly, Kathy co-founded ai-in-the-loop focused on community inclusion in the development of Artificial Intelligence.

Kathy has been recognized as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Guest to the State of the Union Address, a finalist in the StarCraft II After Hours Gaming League, an inductee of the Georgia Tech Greek Hall of Fame, and worldwide champion at the Imagine Cup Technology Competition.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, Georgia) and Supelec in (Metz, France). When not traveling or teaching, Kathy can be found checking surf reports along the New England coast.

Kristian Kloeckl

"The Urban Improvise: Improvisation-Based Design for Hybrid Cities"

Kristian Kloeckl

2019-11-14 12:00:00

TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

The built environment in today’s hybrid cities is changing radically. The pervasiveness of networked mobile and embedded devices has transformed a predominantly stable background for human activity into spaces that have a more fluid behavior. Based on their capability to sense, compute, and act in real time, urban spaces have the potential to go beyond planned behaviors and, instead, change and adapt dynamically. These interactions resemble improvisation in the performing arts, and this talk presents a new improvisation-based framework for thinking about future cities. Kristian Kloeckl moves beyond the smart city concept by unlocking performativity, and specifically improvisation, as a new design approach and explores how city lights, buses, plazas, and other urban environments are capable of behavior beyond scripts. Drawing on research of digital cities and design theory, he makes improvisation useful and applicable to the condition of today’s technology-imbued cities and proposes a new future for responsive urban design.

Kristian Kloeckl is a designer and associate professor at Northeastern University’s School of Architecture and Department of Art + Design where he heads the graduate program in Experience Design. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at the University IUAV of Venice and a research scientist at MIT, leading the Real Time City Group at Senseable City Lab, and establishing the lab’s research unit in Singapore. Kloeckl’s work probes the boundaries of interaction design in the context of today’s hybrid cities and investigates the role of improvisational frameworks for design. He is the author of the forthcoming book “The Urban Improvise. Improvisation-Based Design for Hybrid Cities” published by Yale University Press and his work has been exhibited at venues such as Venice Biennale, MoMA, Vienna MAK, Singapore Art Museum. Kristian Kloeckl is a frequent speaker at international conferences such as Montreal World Design Summit, Hybrid City Conference, MIT Platform Strategy Executive Symposium, World Bank SDN Forum, Red Dot Design Museum Singapore, Austrian Innovation Forum, ICA Conference Taipei, eGov Global Exchange Singapore.

Lisa Marks

"Supporting Craft with Parametric Design Techniques"

Speaker: Lisa Marks

Date: 2019-11-07 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

As Industrial design continues to embrace digital manufacturing, we are in constant danger of losing the culturally indicative crafts that express individual cultures. As global wealth inequality grows, can we create low tech, parametric tools to bring products to global market? Does the spread of generative design in products have to mean a drop in artisanal jobs that support entire towns and regions? Can we blur the line between designer and maker by working collaboratively? In this talk we look at ways that new design tools can go to emerging and potential markets to create opportunity without losing jobs, skills, and traditions. ***P*** This topic can connect design to production by looking upstream, encourages socially sustainable practice. This can allow us to design for production near the material source taking advantage of embodied skills instead of homogenizing design.

Lisa Marks is an industrial designer whose work combines craft and algorithmic design. She uses technological adaptations of traditional techniques to promote sustainable methods of production that help endangered craft communities. Her work has been presented at design weeks in New York, Milan, and Bangkok and has recently won the 2019 International Grand Prix Lexus Design Award. Lisa holds an MFA from Parsons School of Design and Is currently an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Georgia Institute of Technology.

HyunJoo Oh

"Everyday Materials Transformed by Computing"

Speaker: HyunJoo Oh

Date: 2019-10-31 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Look around at some of the familiar objects and materials in your surroundings. These things can be transformed. By combining everyday materials with computing, we can extend and reimagine their expressive and functional possibilities. We can also invite people to explore a new design space through making. In this talk, HyunJoo will present her recent work in integrating paper and recycled materials with computing and discuss a suite of computational design tools her research team has developed. She will describe how combinations of everyday materials with computation can expand creative possibilities while leveraging familiarity to empower designers and learners.

HyunJoo Oh is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Industrial Design and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Working at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction and Design, she develops computational design tools that integrate everyday materials with computing. Her work investigates fundamental questions on how people see and think, and make, in particular how those are closely linked and shape each other. Her work has been published and exhibited at ACM SIGCHI conferences such as CHI, TEI, and DIS, and featured in venues including CNET and Maker Ed.

Krystina Madej

"Disney Animation: Story and Technology"

Speaker: Krystina Madej

Date: 2019-10-24 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Walt Disney is described variously as an American entrepreneur, a film producer, a pioneer of the American animation industry, the founder of the theme park industry. Public perception of him is of a filmmaker with an uncanny ability to create entertaining family oriented animated films and experiences. More than that Walt Disney was a visionary who believed technology should be pushed to its limits to realize stories, provide experiences, and build worlds. That a technology did not exist or was not yet ready to solve a problem was not an obstacle – his answer was always – build it.

Disney Stories: Getting to Digital (Lee & Madej, 2012) discusses how Walt Disney and then the Walt Disney Company narratives evolved from traditional animation to computer games and online narrative experiences. In the upcoming second edition (January 2020) I look at technology as it has been used to enhance story from the first feature animation Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the first VR short Cycles. This talk first provides an overview of the technological innovation that has driven the many arms of the Disney empire, most recently the animatronics for the new Star Wars worlds at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This is followed by a presentation of Disney advances in technology made in the genre of animated films from the 1940s to today as Disney moved from the traditional methods of integrating animation and live action in Song of the South and later Mary Poppins, to CGI assisted films beginning with Tron, through many iterations to Big Hero Six, and finally to VR and its use in shorts such as Styles.

Krystina Madej is Professor of Practice at Georgia Tech, Atlanta, where she has taught since 2011. Her research interests are play and games, interactivity and collaboration in social media, material culture of media, and narrative across media. In particular she looks at children’s traditional and digital games, play and narratives in social media and Disney’s approach to narrative and technology. Her research has resulted in a number of books including Physical Play and Children’s Digital Games (2016), Interactivity, Collaboration, and Authoring in Social Media (2015), and Disney Stories: Getting to Digital (2012). She has been visiting professor and taught courses in Narrative at the Center for Digital Media in Vancouver, Canada, and in Children’s Games, Disney Animation, and Design Thinking at the University of Lower Silesia in Wroclaw, Poland (both for the Erasmus program and the Masters in Big Data, Digital Media, and Trendwatching). Dr. Madej’s first interest was in Fine Arts: she received her BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She went on to a career as a design strategist and partnered with a colleague to start the first Industrial Design and Communications business in western Canada that used computer technologies for the design and production of products, graphics, and exhibits. She later returned to academia and completed her doctoral studies in Digital Narrative at the School of Interactive Art and Technology, SFU, Vancouver, Canada.

Yanni Loukissas

"All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society"

Speaker: Yanni Loukissas

Date: 2019-10-17 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

In our data-driven society, it is too easy to assume the transparency of data. Instead, Yanni Loukissas argues in All Data Are Local, we should approach data sets with an
awareness that data are created by humans and their dutiful machines, at a time, in a place, with the instruments at hand, for audiences that are conditioned to receive them. The term
data set implies something discrete, complete, and portable, but it is none of those things. Examining a series of data sources important for understanding the state of public life in the United States—Harvard's Arnold Arboretum, the Digital Public Library of America, UCLA's Television News Archive, and the real estate marketplace Zillow—Loukissas shows us how to analyze data settings rather than data sets. Loukissas sets out six principles: all data are local; data have complex attachments to place; data are collected from heterogeneous sources; data and algorithms are inextricably entangled; interfaces recontextualize data; and data are indexes to local knowledge. He then provides a set of practical guidelines to follow. To make his argument, Loukissas employs a combination of qualitative research on data cultures and exploratory data visualizations. Rebutting the “myth of digital universalism,” Loukissas reminds us of the meaning-making power of the local.

Yanni Alexander Loukissas is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech, where he directs the Local Data Design Lab. His research is focused on helping creative people think critically about the social implications of emerging technologies. His new monograph from MIT Press, All Data Are Local: Thinking Critically in a Data-Driven Society, is addressed to a growing audience of practitioners who want to work with unfamiliar data both effectively and ethically. Originally trained as an architect at Cornell, he subsequently attended MIT, where he received a Master of Science and a PhD in Design and Computation and completed postdoctoral work at the Program in Science, Technology and Society.

Wei Wang

"Designing Human Machine Interfaces in Future Vehicles"

Speaker: Wei Wang

Date: 2019-10-10 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Digital technologies have increasingly begun to permeate the driving experience in recent years to support continually increasing information and cognitive needs associated with driving and non-driving activities in the car. With recent pilot projects like Waymo, Uber, and Tesla, we can anticipate that autonomous driving technology will have a significant impact on accelerating the transformation of automobile interface in its more than one hundred years long history. As the technology matures, and initial public enthusiasm wanes, designing a better user experience within this new mode of travel will be of critical importance for our future. In this talk, we examined the user experience issues that will arise with the introduction of autonomous driving including the attention-activity changes and related design considerations. We then discuss current disciplinary-specific design methodologies and introduce a more comprehensive approach to the design space to optimize the opportunities for user interaction with examples to meet the changes in the vehicle and the associated transportation service.

As an assistant professor, Dr. Wei Wang brings industrial and international experience to the Industrial Design program at Georgia Institute of Technology. His research interests stand in the interactive technology, human-computer interaction and smart product design from user experience perspective. He is directing DesigNext lab in School of Industrial Design on the applications of emerging interface design in future consumer electronics. His patents in gesture interaction and mobile service have been applied widely in consumer products by Nokia and Microsoft. Wang won multiply international awards, included the Annual Engagement and Enterprise Awards from Queen Mary University of London (UK), Annual Achievement Awards from Nokia (Finland), the Science and Technology Award of China Mechanical Industry (China), and the Michelin Challenge Design Award in the worldwide. Wang used to work in Nokia Research Center, Hunan University and Queen Mary University of London before he joined Georgia Tech in 2016. Wang is a member of IDSA and ACM SIGCHI, and received his Ph.D. in design in 2008.

Lining Yao

"Materialized AI: Robotic Morphing Matter"

Speaker: Lining Yao

Date: 2019-10-03 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Morphing matter harnesses the programmability in material structures and compositions to achieve transformative behaviors and integrates sensing, actuation, and computation to create adaptive and responsive material systems. These material systems can be leveraged to design soft robots, self-assembling furniture, adaptive fabrics, and self-folding foods. In this talk, Lining presents the recent works in the Morphing Matter Lab, Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and highlights several robotic morphing materials that weave advanced manufacturing with computational tools. Her team believes that the term “robotics” does not only refer to conventional robotic forms and controls but also connects to the artifacts’ ability to make decisions, adapt, move, and respond to different stimuli. More information from the lab site: https://morphingmatter.cs.cmu.edu/

Lining Yao is an Assistant Professor of Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science, directing the Morphing Matter Lab. Morphing Matter lab develops materials, tools, and applications of adaptive, dynamic and intelligent morphing matter from nano to macro scales. Research often combines material science, computational fabrication and creative design practices. Lining and her lab work anti-disciplinarily, publishing and exhibiting across science, engineering, design and art. Lining gained her PhD at MIT Media Lab, where she combined biological and engineering approaches to develop physical materials with dynamic and tunable properties including shape, color, stiffness, texture and density. Beyond her teaching and research in the School of Computer Science, Lining holds courtesy appointments at Mechanical Engineering, as well as Material Sciences and Engineering. She is supervising undergraduate and graduate students across the College of Engineering and College of Art.

Jessica Roberts

"Designing Technologies to Drive Curiosity"

Speaker: Jessica Roberts

Date: 2019-09-26 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

When we think about technology mediating human interactions with data, we often think about how it improves the practices of people’s usual activities, from making them more mindful of their daily movements through step-tracking devices, to improving capabilities to make informed business decisions using data-rich analytics in a digital dashboard. This talk explores how technologies can expand people to look beyond what they usually do: how can a zoomable interface spark wonder about aquatic insects to engage non-scientists in water quality monitoring, and how can a touchscreen inspire new questions about familiar objects to foster cross-cultural dialogues? I will present multiple projects integrating interactive technologies as mediators of informal, social learning and argue for the importance of technology’s role in provoking empathy, curiosity, and engagement to drive and expand interest in unfamiliar domains.

Jessica Roberts is an assistant professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. She holds a PhD in Learning Sciences from the University of Illinois-Chicago with a concentration in geospatial analysis and visualization and a B.S. from Northwestern University with a concentration in theatre design. Her research examines how people learn through, with, and about data in out-of-school environments such as museums and citizen science activities and how interactive technologies mediate social, informal learning experiences. Her work on the design of interactive learning technologies has won paper awards at CSCL and CHI, and her projects have been exhibited at venues including the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the New York Hall of Science.

Greg Maletic

"Playdate: Creating A New Handheld Video Game Console"

Speaker: Greg Maletic

Date: 2019-09-12 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Playdate — a tiny, yellow, handheld game console — made a bigger splash than its creators envisioned when it was announced this past May. Relying on a combination of old tech (a 1-bit black-and-white display), new design (from Sweden’s renowned Teenage Engineering) and some just-plain-weird ideas (a side-mounted crank as a game controller), software maker Panic Inc. hopes that Playdate can carve itself a niche in a video game marketplace where giants dominate. The story is still in-progress — Playdate won’t be released until next year — but Greg Maletic, Panic’s Director of Special Projects, will give you an insider’s peek at the decisions that have driven Playdate’s conception, design, manufacture, and marketing.

Greg Maletic has had a varied career that includes software development, theme park design, and consumer electronics. Maletic currently is the Director of Special Projects at Panic Inc., where he leads a small team developing Playdate, a new handheld video game console shipping in 2020. Prior to Panic, Greg worked with Walt Disney Imagineering, developing attraction concepts and drawing illustrations for use in Disney theme parks. In 2007, Maletic combined his love of film with his overwhelming interest in games and technology, releasing the documentary TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball. TILT chronicles the development of “Pinball 2000”, Bally/Williams last-ditch effort to save the dying pinball industry. Maletic’s early work experience is in software development and marketing, first at Apple as a product manager for MacOS, later as a co-founder of Zero G Software, a software tools maker sold to Macrovision in 2005.

Richard DeMillo

"Usability, Privacy, Cybersecurity and the Right to Vote: Why elections are not as simple as they seem"

Speaker: Richard DeMillo

Date: 2019-09-05 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

All modern public elections in the United States use computers called voting machines to automate at least part of the voting process. Like all computers, voting machines can be misprogrammed, misconfigured, misused and hacked. Poorly secured data, open networks, and aging computing equipment with known vulnerabilities to malware are all subject to attack. There is substantial evidence that foreign adversaries have infiltrated American election systems and there is growing evidence that election results were affected. Federal agencies, the Intelligence Community, and congressional committees all agree that action is required. This talk will focus on the unique aspects of elections from a computing standpoint: (1) Why are there not national standards? (2) What cybersecurity tools would make elections more secure? (3) How does the right to a secret ballot affect election technology? (4) What is the future of electronic voting in the state of Georgia?

Richard DeMillo is the Charlotte B. and Roger C. Warren Professor of Computing and Professor of Management, former John P. Imlay Dean of Computing, and Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Author of over 100 articles, books, and patents, he has held academic positions at Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Padua. He directed the Computer and Computation Research Division of the National Science Foundation and was Hewlett-Packard's first Chief Technology Officer. He is the 2013 Lumina Foundation Inaugural Fellow which recognized his founding of the Center for 21st Century Universities as a “unique institution.” He is also a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is the author of the influential 2011 book “Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities” and an award-winning 2015 sequel entitled “Revolution in Higher Education: How a Small Band of Innovators will Make College Accessible and Affordable.” Both books were published by MIT Press. 

Polo Chau

"Towards Secure and Interpretable AI: Scalable Methods, Interactive Visualizations, and Practical Tools"

Speaker: Polo Chau

Date: 2019-08-29 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

We have witnessed tremendous growth in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) recently. However, research shows that AI and ML models are often vulnerable to adversarial attacks, and their predictions can be difficult to understand, evaluate and ultimately act upon.

Discovering real-world vulnerabilities of deep neural networks and countermeasures to mitigate such threats has become essential to successful deployment of AI in security settings. We present our joint works with Intel which include the first targeted physical adversarial attack (ShapeShifter) that fools state-of-the-art object detectors; a fast defense (SHIELD) that removes digital adversarial noise by stochastic data compression; and interactive systems (ADAGIO and MLsploit) that further democratize the study of adversarial machine learning and facilitate real-time experimentation for deep learning practitioners.

Finally, we also present how scalable interactive visualization can be used to amplify people’s ability to understand and interact with large-scale data and complex models. We sample from projects where interactive visualization has provided key leaps of insight, from increased model interpretability (Gamut with Microsoft Research), to model explorability with models trained on millions of instances (ActiVis deployed with Facebook), increased usability for non-experts about state-of-the-art AI (GAN Lab open-sourced with Google Brain; went viral!), and our latest work Summit, an interactive system that scalably summarizes and visualizes what features a deep learning model has learned and how those features interact to make predictions. We conclude by highlighting the next visual analytics research frontiers in AI.

Polo Chau is an Associate Professor of Computing at Georgia Tech. He co-directs Georgia Tech's MS Analytics program. His research group bridges machine learning and visualization to synthesize scalable interactive tools for making sense of massive datasets, interpreting complex AI models, and solving real world problems in cybersecurity, human-centered AI, graph visualization and mining, and social good. His Ph.D. in Machine Learning from Carnegie Mellon University won CMU's Computer Science Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention. He received awards and grants from NSF, NIH, NASA, DARPA, Intel (Intel Outstanding Researcher), Symantec, Google, Nvidia, IBM, Yahoo, Amazon, Microsoft, eBay, LexisNexis; Raytheon Faculty Fellowship; Edenfield Faculty Fellowship; Outstanding Junior Faculty Award; The Lester Endowment Award; Symantec fellowship (twice); Best student papers at SDM'14 and KDD'16 (runner-up); Best demo at SIGMOD'17 (runner-up); Chinese CHI'18 Best paper. His research led to open-sourced or deployed technologies by Intel (for ISTC-ARSA: ShapeShifter, SHIELD, ADAGIO, MLsploit), Google, Facebook, Symantec (Polonium, AESOP protect 120M people from malware), and Atlanta Fire Rescue Department. His security and fraud detection research made headlines. Website: https://www.cc.gatech.edu/~dchau/

Keith Edwards

"GVU Center Overview and Funded Research Projects"

Speaker: Keith Edwards

Date: 2019-08-22 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

In the first GVU Brown Bag Seminar of the academic year, Keith Edwards, GVU Center Director and Professor of Interactive Computing, will kick off our talk series with an overview of the GVU Center detailing its unique resources and opportunities, and previewing some of the events coming up this semester. Come, enjoy lunch, and learn about some of the ways you can connect with GVU. Also, each year, the GVU Center and IPaT announce funding for the Research and Engagement Grants, which support early stage work by Georgia Tech researchers. This year’s winners will give brief overviews of the work they will be doing over the coming academic year. Following the brown bag talk, stick around for our fall ice cream social.

Keith Edwards is a Professor in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech and Director of the GVU Center. His research interests focus primarily on driving human-centered concerns into core computing infrastructure. He is a pioneer in the exploration of human-centered perspectives on computer networking, particularly in the home and has been active in developing more usable approaches to information security systems. Lately, his research has expanded into a number of explorations of the social impacts of computing technology, and understanding how technology can support the work of non-profits and NGOs. While he is a technologist at heart, he enjoys working with designers, as well as ethnographers and other social scientists.

Lynn Dombrowski

"Desigining Within Capitalism: What Are Key Challenges in Building Just Futures of Work?"

Speaker: Lynn Dombrowski

Date: 2019-03-14 12:00:00

Location: TSRB

Capitalism is when private entities control the means of production. It has been critiqued as causing vast social and economic inequality. Where might designers be able to intervene within the pervasive social and economic problems created by capitalism? My research examines wage theft, which is when a worker is legally denied benefits or wages by their employer or manager. Wage theft is a pervasive and massive problem for low-wage workers in capitalist systems. In this talk, I discuss empirical results from interviews with low-wage workers, employers, pro-worker advocates, and computing technologists. I highlight key challenges that inhibit just futures of work within capitalism, including material and institutional constraints, overt politics, and compromised resistance tactics. Specifically, I describe the data, design, and technology-oriented activist practices of pro-worker advocates and the compromises and constraints they encounter when working with and advocating on behalf of low-wage workers. These practices can inform the design strategies and outcomes of computing technologists designing socio-technical tools to address wage theft. Lastly, I conclude with insights for research and practice.

Lynn Dombrowski is an assistant professor in Informatics at Indiana University - Purdue University - Indianapolis (IUPUI). Her primary focus is within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and design research. She focuses on understanding, designing, and evaluating technologies that work to address social issues and seeks to identify key sociotechnical strategies for dealing with oppression and social inequalities. She often works alongside marginalized communities and community partners.

Anne Sullivan

"Crafting Stories"

Speaker: Anne Sullivan

Date: 2019-03-07 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Touching on computational craft and hybrid fabrication, this talk looks at the process of designing and creating story-based interactive experiences and games through crafts and crafted or crafting interfaces. Games are generally fast-paced with responsive controls, while crafting is often a slower, methodical process. This leads to some interesting design challenges and novel experiences. The talk will cover some of the projects created by the speaker, including Loominary – a game system that runs Twine games and uses a tabletop loom as the controller. Through the act of playing, the player’s choices are literally woven into a personalized tangible artifact of the player’s game session.

Anne Sullivan is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. Her work focuses on the ways in which interactive experiences and craft can co-exist with a particular eye towards narrative and storytelling experiences from underrepresented perspectives. Dr. Sullivan is an award winning quilter and the concept designer and producer of Loominary – a collaborative game system that uses a tabletop loom as the controller - which has been shown internationally, including at the SAAM Arcade exhibit at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Hand glove
Michaelanne Dye
Caitlyn Seim
Stevie Chancellor

Foley Scholars

Michaelanne Dye, Towards Access and Beyond: Human Infrastructures in Constrained Contexts

More than four billion people across the world have yet to access the internet. Despite increasing initiatives by companies and governments to bring more people online, social, economic, and political barriers continue to limit internet engagements among underrepresented groups. As a result, people collaborate to overcome barriers to participation, particularly in politically and economically constrained contexts. I address these concerns by focusing on the case of Cuba, where up until recently internet access was limited to just five percent of the population. Presenting results from qualitative inquiry in Havana from 2014 to 2017, I describe how participants are receiving and engaging with the incremental introduction of access to the world wide web. I also present insights into how people have created their own versions of the internet in response to barriers. I draw on the framework of human infrastructure to reveal how people are sustaining multiple, disconnected information networks, and the tensions and opportunities that arise from these efforts. I will discuss how this work contributes to our understanding of the social elements embedded in internet adoption and participation, and how this critical understanding has implications for the design of social media systems in order to better support collaborative efforts of historically underrepresented groups.

Caitlyn Seim, Wearable Tactile Stimulation for Stroke Rehabilitation (pictured at very top)

Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States and globally. Many stroke survivors lose function in their upper extremities, which can make it difficult to do everyday tasks like dressing or eating. In addition to weakness and loss of sensation, spasticity and tone can cause hands to be involuntarily clenched in a rigid position — a problem for which there are few effective treatments. Getting rehabilitation therapy can be a challenge and up to 50% of stroke survivors do not qualify for traditional exercise-based therapies. This talk introduces a novel stimulation method and mobile, wearable devices to provide therapy on-the-go and to those with very limited movement.  Preliminary results and next steps are presented.  Our stimulation method may provide a powerful tool to reduce disability after a stroke, and the wearable form factor allows users to receive intensive therapy during their normal daily routine.

Stevie Chancellor, Human-Centered Algorithms for Deviant Mental Health Behaviors Online

Social media can provide a rich platform for those seeking better health and support through difficult experiences. Yet, it can also provide space for deviant mental health behaviors, very dangerous and stigmatized behaviors related to mental health. These behaviors are dangerous to participants as well as to platform health. However, the deep complexities of mental health and these clandestine behaviors resist straightforward, data-driven approaches to detection and intervention. In this talk, I will describe how human-centered algorithms can identify and assess deviant mental health behaviors in pro-eating disorder communities, bringing insights from Human Computer Interaction, applied data science, and social computing. In addition, I will show how these approaches can inform platform strategies for engaging with these communities. Finally, I will briefly discuss how human-centered insights can be brought to computational methods to answer our toughest questions about deviant behavior online.


Michaelanne Dye is a PhD candidate in Human-Centered Computing in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Blending the fields of Social Computing and ICTD (Information and Communication Technologies and Development), her work uses qualitative methods to study how people access and participate with internet technologies in resource-constrained contexts with the goal of informing the design of more equitable and inclusive technology. She received her Master’s in Sociocultural Anthropology from Georgia State University, and draws heavily on this background to engage in technology research. Michaelanne is a Microsoft Research Ph.D. Fellow, a three-time recipient of the Herz Global Impact Award, and an American Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Fellow. Her work has received Best Paper Honorable Mention awards at the ACM CHI and CSCW conferences.

Caitlyn Seim is a PhD candidate in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  Her concentration is Human-Centered Computing with focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience. She is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Microsoft Research PhD Fellow.  Her research interests include wearable computing, haptics, HCI, rehabilitation, and accessibility.  More specifically, her work examines human cognition and learning from haptic interaction, and creating new lightweight, mobile devices for rehabilitation.

Stevie Chancellor is a PhD candidate in Human Centered Computing in Interactive Computing. Her research interest lies in Social Computing, Data Science, and HCI to understand online communities and mental health. Stevie’s work has won multiple Best Paper Honorable Mention awards at CHI and CSCW, premier venues in human computer interaction. Her work has been supported by a Snap Inc. Research Fellowship and has appeared in national publications such as Wired and Gizmodo.

Cary Bearn, Christopher Le Dante, Rebecca Serna, Kari Watkins

"Building Tomorrow’s Sustainable Transportation System through Better Data - Increasing Bikeability and Bike Safety"

Speakers: Cary Bearn, Christopher Le Dante, Rebecca Serna, Kari Watkins

Date: 2019-02-21 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Popular adoption of bicycling as a mode of transportation can reduce overall congestion, air pollution and fossil-fuel energy consumption while at the same time enabling an active lifestyle and providing users with a low cost, equitable means of transportation. For this reason, many planning agencies have incorporated bicycle planning in their long term vision for their regions, including Atlanta. One of the major impediments to choosing bicycle as a transportation mode is safety issues, with major safety perception factors including high speed limits, high traffic volumes, last mile disconnect in the network, and an absence of physically separated facilities for cyclists. Come hear from four experts in bicycle research and planning in the Atlanta area as they talk about crash data analysis, cyclist stress, and work in Atlanta to shift mode share. Attendees will gain a better understanding of research underway, data available for new research, and areas for potential bicycle-related research in the future.


Cary Bearn
Cary Bearn joined the City of Atlanta's Office of Mobility Planning as the Chief Bicycle Officer. Prior to this position, she was a Transportation Planner/Engineer at Fehr & Peers in Los Angeles. Recently Cary was a co-author on a paper Dr. Watkins published in Research in Transportation Business and Management in 2018 on adapting a measure of bicycle comfort to evaluate bicycle access to MARTA stations.  Cary Bearn has a Masters in City and Regional Planning and a Masters in Civil Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelors degree in Biology from Williams College.

Christopher Le Dantec
Dr. Christopher Le Dantec is an Associate Professor in the Digital Media Program in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research is focused on the area of digital civics emerging from the intersection of participatory design, digital democracy, and smart cities. He works closely with the City of Atlanta and a range of community-based partners to explore new forms of civic participation through community-centered design inquiry. His research has direct impact on how policy makers and citizens work together to address issues of community engagement, social justice, urban transportation and development. He is the author of Designing Publics (2016, MIT Press).

Rebecca Serna
Executive Director Rebecca Serna has a Master’s degree from Georgia State's Andrew Young School of Policy Studies in Urban Policy in Planning and Nonprofit Management. Serna was a bike/ped intern with the Georgia DOT and draws on her experience as a Fulbright in Bogotá, Colombia, where she studied participatory planning practices and innovative public transportation projects. Awards include 2015 Woman of the Year/Women in Transportation Seminar, 2013 Advocate of the Year/Alliance for Biking and Walking, and the 2013 Longleaf/Georgia Conservancy. She lives in SE Atlanta with her husband and three sons, enjoys gardening, dancing, reading and baking, and looks forward to the day when biking for transportation is unremarkable.

Kari Watkins
Dr. Kari Watkins is the Frederick Law Olmsted Associate Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Tech. Her teaching and research interests include multi-modal transportation planning, the use of technology in transportation, traveler information, and complete streets design to create a more livable transportation system. Dr. Watkins’ is the recipient of the Council of University Transportation Centers (CUTC) 2017 New Faculty Award and was recently named to Engineering Georgia’s 100 Influential Women to Know. 

Bart Knijnenburg

"Why We're Really Bad At Privacy Decisions"

Speaker: Bart Knijnenburg

Date: 2019-02-14 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Privacy issues are an undying obstacle to the real-world implementation of information systems, from online retailers, to social networks, to smart home technology. Existing solutions to these privacy issues involve giving users more control over, and more information about, the privacy settings provided by these systems. In this talk, I will argue that these solutions fail when users with limited cognitive resources encounter systems with complex and far-reaching privacy implications. I will subsequently discuss a novel human-centric solution to improve users' privacy decisions: User-Tailored Privacy. User-Tailored Privacy is an approach to privacy that measures users’ privacy-related characteristics and behaviors, uses this as input to model their privacy preferences, and then provides them with adaptive privacy decision support. In effect, it applies data science as a means to support users’ privacy decisions.

Bart Knijnenburg is an Assistant Professor in Human-Centered Computing at the Clemson University School of Computing where he co-directs the Humans and Technology lab. He holds a B.S. in Innovation Sciences and an M.S. in Human-Technology Interaction from the Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands, an M.A. in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, and a PhD in Information and Computer Sciences from UC Irvine. Bart works on privacy decision-making and user-centric evaluation of adaptive systems. His research has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and corporate sponsors.

John M. Abowd

"Privacy Protection and Data Quality are Everybody's Business"

Speaker: John M. Abowd

Date: 2019-02-07 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

The Census Bureau and many large Internet companies like Google and Apple have adopted formal models for privacy protection in their publications and research. While the technical details of these models are fascinating, their implications for how we live and work in a world where vast amounts of data are processed daily to learn about us are far more important. Privacy protection and statistical accuracy are competing uses of the same good: the information in confidential databases. Engineers design the algorithms for implementing the analysis with privacy protection. But society needs to decide which statistics need to be more accurate than other statistics. That's not an engineering decision, that's a public policy decision. I will talk about how to think about that public policy.

John M. Abowd is Chief Scientist and Associate Director for Research and Methodology at the United States Census Bureau and the Edmund Ezra Day Professor of Economics, Professor of Statistics and Information Science at Cornell University (on leave). At the Census Bureau, he leads a directorate of research centers, each devoted to domains of investigation important to the future of social and economic statistics. At Cornell, his primary appointment is in the Department of Economics in the ILR School. He is also Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (on leave while serving in the federal government), Research Affiliate at the Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique (CREST, Paris, France), Research Fellow at the Institute for Labor Economics (IZA, Bonn, Germany), and Research Fellow at IAB. Abowd is the Director of the Labor Dynamics Institute at Cornell. His current research and many activities of the LDI focus on the creation, dissemination, privacy protection, and use of linked, longitudinal data on employees and employers. Prof. Abowd’s other research interests include network models for integrated labor market data; international comparisons of labor market outcomes; executive compensation with a focus on international comparisons; bargaining and other wage-setting institutions; and the econometric tools of labor market analysis. Prof. Abowd served on the faculty at Princeton University, the University of Chicago, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Cornell.

Morgan Ames

The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child"

Speaker: Morgan Ames

Date: 2019-01-31 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Drawing from her forthcoming book, The Charisma Machine, Morgan G. Ames will chronicle the life and legacy of the One Laptop per Child project and explain why -- despite its failures -- the same utopian visions that inspired OLPC still motivate other projects trying to use technology to "disrupt" education and development.

Announced in 2005 by MIT Media Lab cofounder Nicholas Negroponte, One Laptop per Child promised to transform the lives of children across the Global South with a small, sturdy, and cheap laptop computer, powered by a hand crank. In reality, the project fell short in many ways, starting with the hand crank, which never materialized. Yet the project remained charismatic to many who were enchanted by its claims of access to educational opportunities previously out of reach. Behind its promises, OLPC, like many technology projects that make similarly grand claims, had a fundamentally flawed vision of who the computer was made for and what role technology should play in learning.

Drawing on a seven-month study of a model OLPC project in Paraguay, Ames reveals that the laptops were not only frustrating to use, easy to break, and hard to repair, they were designed for "technically precocious boys" -- idealized younger versions of the developers themselves -- rather than the diverse range of children who might actually use them. Reaching fifty years into the past and across the globe, this talk will offer a cautionary tale about the allure of technology hype and the problems that result when utopian dreams drive technology development.

Morgan G. Ames is a lecturer and postdoctoral scholar with the School of Information and the interim associate director of research for the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society at the University of California, Berkeley. Morgan studies the ways in which computers and computing worlds seek to shape the identities of learners -- in and out of classrooms, locally and abroad -- with a focus on those often left out of this identity-work. Her book, The Charisma Machine: The Life, Death, and Legacy of One Laptop per Child, is due out in 2019 from the MIT Press. Her next project is animated by a story she heard often in One Laptop per Child: that of the self-taught programmer. While reality is consistently more complicated than this story allows, she has become fascinated by the cultural work this story does -- and the harm it could be doing to diversity and inclusion. 

Kinnis Gosha

"Using Conversational Agents To Broaden Participation"

Speaker: Kinnis Gosha

Date: 2019-01-24 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

Conversational agents such as Alexa and Siri have brought this type of technology to the everyday household. However, these agents also provide a unique opportunity to provide mentoring and advisement to individuals in ways that cannot be accomplished by traditional human-to-human interactions.  This presentation will provide details on multiple projects (in progress and completed) that leverage various types of conversational agents to address issues in the area of broadening participation in computing.

Dr. Kinnis Gosha (Go-Shay) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Director of the Culturally Relevant Computer Lab at Morehouse College. He is also an Affiliate Assistant Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. Dr. Gosha’s research interests include conversational agents, social media data analytics, computer science education, broadening participation in computing and culturally relevant computing.  More specifically, Gosha's passion lies in his research in virtual mentoring where he has several peer-reviewed research publications. Gosha's Culturally Relevant Computing Lab is comprised of mostly undergraduate researchers each year from Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University. The lab investigates research problems centered on creating innovative computing technologies to solve cultural problems and issues. To date, Dr. Gosha has accrued over $7.6 million dollars in sponsored research funding and over 45 peer reviewed research publications. Lastly, his lab is responsible for producing one out of five Black male students currently enrolled in computing doctoral programs.

Xing-Dong Yang

"Wearable Interactions Using Touch without a Touchscreen"

Speaker: Xing-Dong Yang

Date: 2019-01-17 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

The ubiquitous touchscreen has become the primary mechanism with which users interact with small personal computing devices. While there is a trend showing that personal computing devices may become smaller and smaller, a primary constraint on device miniaturization is the user interface (e.g. touchscreen). Screens need to be large enough to be seen, and keyboards need enough physical space to facilitate typing. Arbitrary hardware miniaturization may lead to devices that are not usable. In this talk, I will motivate and present two sensing techniques that enable touch as an input mechanism on wearable devices without the need of a touchscreen. I will also present a haptic technique that enables touch as an output mechanism to create a unique mixed reality experience for games and videos on smartwatches. The long-term goal of this research is to develop interaction modalities that are easy, intuitive, and efficient for interacting with small wearable devices.

Xing-Dong Yang is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College. Xing-Dong completed his Bachelor of Computer Science in 2005 from the University of Manitoba, Canada. He earned his Master of Computing Science with a specialization in Haptic Interfaces in 2008 from the University of Alberta, Canada and his Doctorate in Computing Science with a specialization in Human-Computer Interaction in 2013 from the same university. During his graduate work he was a research intern at Autodesk Research in Toronto and Microsoft Research Asia in Beijing. His dissertation work was awarded the 2013 Bill Buxton Best Canadian HCI Dissertation Award, given annually for the best doctoral dissertation completed at a Canadian university in the field of human-computer interaction. He has over thirty publications in top-tier venues in HCI, including the ACM Conference on Human Factors and Systems (ACM CHI) and the ACM Conference on User Interfaces and Technology (ACM UIST). His work has also been recognized through best paper nominations at ACM CHI 2018, 2016, 2010 and ACM MobileHCI 2009, as well as featured in public press through Discovery News, NBC, and New Scientist. Xing-Dong’s work is currently funded by Microsoft and NSF.

Gregory Abowd

"Confessions of an Applied Computer Scientist"

Speaker: Gregory Abowd

Date: 2019-01-10 12:00:00

Location: TSRB (1st Floor Ballroom)

In my nearly quarter century of work at Georgia Tech, I have been involved in many different projects with many different collaborators.  While I refer to myself as a researcher in Ubicomp and HCI, I am even more comfortable these days with the label of “applied computer scientist.” In this talk, I want to explain what I mean by an applied computer scientist and what it means to apply computing to some other non-computing problem domains. These application domains can vary widely, from health to education to materials science. The domain collaborators can also vary in terms of whether they are practitioners or researchers in their own domain.  Regardless of this variability, I have developed a way of thinking about the collaborative relationship between a computing researcher and these domain specialists.  A lot of it is just common sense, but it is valuable to make that common sense explicit when we think about how to develop a lasting relationship with another domain.  Using my own successes and failures as a backdrop, I will provide a simple framework to understand how to distinguish different kinds of contributions of applied computing. This talk is meant to provide advice on when and how to develop a long-term cross-domain collaboration. Though I won’t speak explicitly about this, the lessons from my talk can also be applied to collaboration across different subdisciplines of computing, so I think the talk is valuable for a very broad computing research community.

Gregory D. Abowd is a Regents’  Professor and J.Z. Liang Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech, as well as Associate Dean for Off Campus and Special Initiatives in the College of Computing.  He has  been on the faculty at Georgia Tech since 1994. An applied computer scientist, Dr. Abowd's research interests concern how the advanced information technologies of mobile, wearable and ubiquitous computing impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces. Dr. Abowd's work has involved applications as diverse as education (Classroom 2000), home life (The Aware Home) and health (technology and autism, CampusLife). He and his current and former students are active inventors of new sensing and interaction technologies. He has recently helped to co-create an interdisciplinary research effort, COSMOS, which investigates the collaboration of materials, manufacturing, electronics, computing and design to explore an alternative future computing industry. Dr. Abowd is an ACM Fellow and a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy.