Michelle Annett presented with the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science-NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Supplement Award

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On January 19th, 2016, Michelle Annett was presented with the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science-NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship Supplement Award. UNESCO and L’Oreal invited the top 3% of female post-docs that have received an NSERC PDF Award to apply for this award, and from those applicants Michelle was selected as the single winner.

The award was presented to her personally by Mario Pinto, president of NSERC. The Canadian minister of science, Kirsty Duncan, also read over Michelle’s biography and offered her congratulations. The event took place at the French embassy in Ottawa. Both before and after the award ceremony, Michelle had the opportunity to talk with many members of the embassy, NSERC, and other high-level academics across Canada (e.g., the presidents of the University of Ottawa, the University of Calgary). There were nearly 200 attendees, whom she had a chance to speak with about her research, Autodesk Research, U of T, U of A, and the importance of computer science in general.

This was not only a great experience for Michelle, but it let her shed a positive light on Autodesk, U of T, U of A, and HCI research at a national and international level.

Chris Landreth Lecture on January 27

Chris LandrethThe Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Arts & Science and Faculty of Medicine are pleased to announce and invite the U of T community to a special lecture by Chris Landreth, a Distinguished Research Artist. The lecture will take place on Wednesday, January 27 at the Bahen Centre for Information Technology, 40 St. George Street, Room 5166 4:15 to 5:15 PM, there will be a Q&A 5:15 – 6:30 PM. RSVP for the event at http://web.cs.toronto.edu/news/landrethlecture.htm.

Toronto ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter Event

Bill Polson will be speaking about design patterns in computer graphics at BA 1210 on October 22. The talk begins at 7pm, but doors will open at 6:45.


Bill is currently on leave from Pixar, working on a book on Pipeline Design Patterns, which should be out in mid-2016. At Pixar, Bill was the Director of Industry Strategy, where he was responsible for Pixar’s relationship to the graphics industry. In this role he has shaped the product roadmaps of major graphics software vendors. He is the originator of Pixar’s OpenSubdiv effort, which is redefining how the industry handles high order geometry. Bill has had a number of management roles at Pixar, including Lead of Production Engineering, and Supervising Technical Director of Short Films. Prior to that Bill was a TD and software developer. Bill is active in SIGGRAPH, where he originated the popular new program SIGGRAPH Dailies!


Pipeline Design Patterns


In his talk, Bill will use a simple example to illustrate the common problems of graphics pipelines: getting assets built (in lots of variations), getting them converted to optimized representations and aggregated into shots and levels, and generally carrying edits from modeling through to animation/gameplay and beyond to rendering/display. The talk will discuss the general shape of these problems and their solutions, and will propose some common vocabulary.

Hrvoje Benko to present at TUX

On October 13th, MaRS Discovery District will welcome Hrvoje Benko, who will be presenting at TUX. Lunch reception begins at 12:30pm in the Auditorium and the lecture at 1:00pm. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP via email with Grace Chen at gchen@dgp.toronto.edu.


Hrvoje Benko is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research. He explores novel interactive computing technologies and their impact on human-computer interaction. In particular, his research interests include augmented reality, touch and gesture-based interfaces, depth sensing, and display technologies. He helped found and lead the Microsoft Touch Mouse project and he has extensively collaborated with the Surface Computing group at Microsoft. He has been active in the human-computer interaction field, authoring more than 50 scientific papers and journal articles, as well as serving as the General Chair (2014) and the Program Chair (2012) of the ACM Conference on User Interface Systems and Technology (UIST). For his publications, he received several best paper awards at both ACM UIST and ACM SIGCHI. Before joining Microsoft, he obtained his PhD at Columbia University. More detail can be found on his website:http://research.microsoft.com/~benko/.

Rorik Henrikson’s work featured in UofT news

PhD Candidate and DGP member Rorik Henrikson was recently featured in the U of T news, exploring his research. Adopting his early interest in stage, film and television planning, he created Storeoboard – his stereoscopic 3D storyboard software. Storeoboard was recently used by Canadian director and filmmaker Dylan Pearce in the planning of 40 Below and Falling, the first stereoscopic 3D romantic comedy.

You can read more about it here.

Prof. John Stasko of Georgia Tech visits DGP

Prof. John Stasko of Georgia Tech visited the DGP to talk about visual analytics and information/data visualization.


John Stasko is a Professor in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a widely published and internationally recognized researcher in the areas of information visualization and visual analytics, approaching each from a human-computer interaction perspective. His Information Interfaces Research Group develops ways to help people and organizations explore, analyze, and make sense of data in order to solve problems. Stasko has been Papers/Program Co-Chair for the IEEE InfoVis and the IEEE VAST Conferences, and has served on numerous journal editorial boards including ACM ToCHI, IEEE TVCG, and Information Visualization. In Fall 2013 he was General Chair for the IEEE VIS conference in Atlanta, the primary research meeting for the field of data visualization. Stasko is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Scientist, and in 2012 he received the IEEE VGTC Visualization Technical Achievement Award. He also is an Honorary Professor in the School of Computer Science at the Univ. of St. Andrews in Scotland.


Reflections on Data Visualization (Some Things I’ve Learned Along the Way)


Everyone’s talking about data these days. People, organizations, and businesses are seeking better ways to analyze, understand, and communicate their data. While a variety of approaches can be taken to this challenge, my own research has focused on data visualization. In this talk, I’ll describe the particular advantages that visualization brings to data analysis beyond other techniques. Additionally, I’ll identify three key tenets for success in data visualization: understanding purpose, embracing interaction, and identifying value. To help support this premise, I will draw upon and illustrate a number of current research projects from my lab and I’ll recount a few anecdotes and experiences that  have helped to form my views.

Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visits DGP

Ben Lafreniere of the University of Saskatchewan visited the DGP to talk about rehearsal-based interfaces.


Ben Lafreniere is a Human-Computer Interaction researcher who specializes in the areas of learning and skill development with interactive systems, and the usability of feature-rich software. In 2014 he received a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo for his work on developing task-centric user interfaces. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Interaction lab at the University of Saskatchewan.


Rehearsal-based interfaces are designed to enable a smooth transition from novice to expert performance by making the novice user’s visually-guided actions a physical rehearsal of the expert’s feedback-free actions. While a number of examples of these interfaces have been developed, including Marking Menus and FastTap menus, there is little published data on how skill development happens in real use of these interfaces. In this talk I will describe two studies we conducted on skill development in rehearsal-based interfaces: one in a game that directly rewards rapid menu selections, and another in a drawing application that has no particular need for urgency. Our results show very different patterns of adoption in these two applications, and suggest that rehearsal of physical actions alone does not guarantee that users will adopt expert methods. I will also discuss insights into what affects use of expert methods by users, and the implications of our findings for how rehearsal-based techniques should be employed in practice. Finally, I will discuss ongoing research that builds on this work.