Upcoming Tux Talk By Christopher Collins on 5th Dec, 2017

Christopher Collins:
Finding What to Read: Visual Text Analytics Tools and Techniques to Guide Investigation

2017-12-05 12:30 at DGP: BCIT, 5th Floor

 

 

Abstract

Text is one of the most prominent forms of open data available, from social media to legal cases. Text visualizations are often critiqued for not being useful, for being unstructured and presenting data out of context (think: word clouds). I argue that we should not expect them to be a replacement for reading. In this talk I will briefly discuss the close/distant reading debate then focus on where I think text visualization can be useful: hypothesis generation and guiding investigation. Text visualization can help someone form questions about a large text collection, then drill down to investigate through targeted reading of the underlying source texts. Over the past 10 years my research focus has been primarily on creating techniques and systems for text analytics using visualization, across domains as diverse as legal studies, poetics, social media, and automotive safety. I will review several of my past projects with particular attention to the capabilities and limitations of the technologies and tools we used, how we use semantics to structure visualizations, and the importance of providing interactive links to the source materials. In addition, I will discuss the design challenges which, while common across visualization, are particularly important with text (legibility, label fitting, finding appropriate levels of ‘zoom’).

Bio

Dr. Christopher Collins is the Canada Research Chair in Linguistic Information Visualization and an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). His research focus is interdisciplinary, combining information visualization and human-computer interaction with natural language processing to address the challenges of information management and the problems of information overload. His work has been published in many venues including IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, and has been featured in popular media such as the Toronto Star and the New York Times Magazine. Dr. Collins is a past member of the executive of the IEEE Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee and the IEEE VIS Conference Organizing Committee, and received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto.

 

Upcoming Tux Talk By Bill Buxton on 21st Nov, 2017

Bill Buxton:
Ubiety: On Design, Place and the Importance of Manners

2017-11-21 12:30 at MaRS

 

Abstract

It is a paradox that the better we get at producing useful, affordable, desirable, usable technologies, the more we are confronted by complexity and lack of overall satisfaction. This is partially, or even mainly, due to the demands for economies of scale. Hence, we are deluged by digital do-dads – apps, services and gadgets which on their own may be wonderful, but collectively create an overly complex ecosystem of baubles. What is missed is that the cumulative complexity of enough such baubles crosses the barrier, above which the ecosystem becomes inscrutable. Lying behind this is that things simply do not work together. In a world dominated by “social computing”, there are virtually no social relationships amongst the technologies themselves. Weiser’s label, Ubiquitous Computing, holds. But the result has little or anything to do with what he – or the rest of us on the team – envisioned or intended.

My argument is that he used the wrong word. Ubiquity, i.e, technology everywhere, all the time, etc. is no panacea. Rather, the word that fits far better is Ubiety – a closely related term, but one which has at its core the notion of place. Hence, it points towards the right technology at the right place – extended (in my usage, at least) to encompass place in the physical sense, but also time, social, cultural, temporal, absolute, relative, etc. Furthermore, if we layer the notion of mobility of human action on this framing, what emerges is an enhanced sense of the importance of transitions, and adaptation. This, by way of Piaget, leads us to perhaps a different way of thinking about intelligence – of human and machine – and how intelligent design may pave the way to wrestling the ever-growing complexity to the ground, thus enabling us, and our technologies, to meet our true and worthy potential.

Bio

Bill has been walking the path between where people and technology meet for over 40 years – as a designer, musician, lecturer, writer, teacher, critic and researcher. His focus has always been on the human, and his work reflects a particular interest in the creative disciplines. He believes that appropriate design is that which enhances human intelligence and creativity, not replaces it. As a practicing skeptimist, he is a devotee of Melvin Kranzberg’s first law: “Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.” His corollary to this is, “Without informed design, it is more likely to lean to the bad than the good.” It is towards becoming thus informed, and enlisting others to do so as well, that both his work, and this talk, are directed.

RBC Research Prize 2017: UofT Faculty and Student Winners

 

RBC and the University of Toronto recently partnered up to create the RBC Innovation Fellowship program, a joint venture designed to recognize exceptional faculty and graduate students and to provide them with additional resources to advance their research.

The RBC Research Prize 2017 winners come from a variety of disciplines, including Machine Learning and Advanced Data Analytics, Cybersecurity, and User Experience Design/Design Thinking/Human-Machine Interfaces.
 
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This year’s RBC Fellowship Winner is DGP’s own Varun Perumal, a Human-Computer interaction researcher and bonafide hardware engineering fanatic, whose Printem film makes it possible for anyone with a home printer to produce their own electronic circuit boards.
 
Varun gave RBC a brief overview of his winning proposal in an interview: 

“My research is primarily about creating novel fabrication techniques – the process of making physical things – that will change the future of how we manufacture. Just as 3D printing has made advances in decentralizing and speeding up the production of mechanical products, we’re trying to do something similar for electronics, mainly the components that go into your devices.”

 

 

 

This year’s RBC Research Prize Winners are Gerald Penn and Cosmin Munteanu

The faculty members also gave a brief overview of their winning proposal: 

“One of the interesting challenges we’re facing is that everyone’s jumping on the AI bandwagon, but we don’t have a very good human interface for it yet. In the finance world, for example, high-level financial analysts – these are people who do long-term planning for large investment firms or banks – still use pen and paper. It’s shock from a tech perspective. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, but they’re not benefitting from all these machine learning and NLP advances. The essence of our proposal is to make sure these people can benefit from the technology and to address the problem that the software currently available to support these tasks isn’t designed well for their purposes.”

 

Full interviews and more details about the winning proposals are available on the RBC Institute for Research website

 

 

 

Upcoming Tux Talk By Anind Dey on 7th Nov, 2017

Anind Dey:
Routines and Behaviors: Leveraging everyday routines to enhance interactive systems

2017-11-07 12:30 at MaRS

 

Abstract

Commodity smart phones and initial Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices have made the visions of ubiquitous computing common place. However, despite the rapid adoption of this technology, we have not progressed much past the use of location-based systems in commercial ubicomp systems. The Ubicomp Lab at Carnegie Mellon University has been using people’s interactions with such devices to better understand human behavior and routines. In this talk, I will describe the value of leveraging human behaviors and routines in interactive mobile and IoT-based systems. I will demonstrate how the ability to opportunistically extract these routines (and anomalies) can dramatically enhance interactive systems in a number of domains, including healthcare, driving, education, and sustainability, as they can be used to create effective interventions and supporting systems.
 

Bio

Anind K. Dey is the Charles M. Geschke Professor and Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also the director of the Ubicomp Lab, which performs research at the intersection of ubiquitous computing, human-computer interaction and machine learning, in the areas of mobile computing, health and sustainability among others. He has authored over 100 papers on these
topics and serves on the editorial board of several journals. In 2015, Anind was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy for his work on context-aware and adaptive systems. Anind received his PhD in computer science from Georgia Tech, along with a Masters of Science in both Computer Science and Aerospace Engineering. He received his Bachelors of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from Simon Fraser University.

 

More information about the 2017/2018 Tux presentation series is available on the official Tux website

New Faculty for the 2017/2018 Academic Year

Faculty Appointments 2017/2018

“We’re thrilled to welcome the next wave of U of T computer science faculty, many of whom are jointly appointed with cognate departments, enabling us to significantly expand computer science’s collaborations with multiple disciplines across campus.”

– Ravin Balakrishnan, Professor & Chair