The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is an interdisciplinary research center jointly sponsored by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology; and the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science at Virginia Tech.


Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a multi-disciplinary enterprise, drawing from the human sciences, computational sciences and engineering, and information technologies. The Center for HCI (CHCI) at Virginia Tech is a university-wide research center that addresses both the facilitation and the foundational understanding of human interaction with and through technology. The CHCI excels in cross-disciplinary research on interactive computing that extends into the everyday life of individuals, groups, and societies. The CHCI fosters research excellence through funding programs, shared resources, and forums for idea exchange.

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction at Virginia Tech celebrated its 20th anniversary on 15-16 October 2015. The event was a huge success with attendance from a variety of industry and academia-affiliated alumni, current students, as well as former and current faculty members. You can watch the Plenary Panel discussion, which opened the event, on our youtube channel. You can also get more information about the event on the dedicated web page.

Research Thrusts

Human Computer Interaction (HCI), the overarching research area of the CHCI, is is a broad and diverse domain. Although the work of the affiliated faculty is equally broad and diverse, we have identified two key research thrusts that represent specific sub-areas of HCI for which the Center can obtain or maintain a world-class standing. The research thrust areas are:

Research Highlight

Kurt Luther and T.M. Murali (PIs) receive NIH Award


The project titled "Using Crowdsourced Design to Visualize Effects of Environmental Chemicals on Signaling Networks" was awarded $ 600,000 over two years. This research involves the development of a web-based system called GraphSpace to enable citizen scientists and non-experts to improve visual representations of processes within the cell that are affected by environmental chemicals. GraphSpace will assist molecular biologists and toxicologists in discovering hypotheses about how these chemicals may harm human health. This grant is also a collaboration with Zooniverse, the largest online citizen science portal. Check out the NIH project information.

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Recent News

CHCI's presence at the Science Museum during VT Science Festival


PhD student Panagiotis Apostolellis represented the CHCI with his work on Collaborative Orchestrated Learning in Virtual Environments (C-OLiVE), during the Virginia Tech Science Festival - School Preview Day, on Friday 1 ...

CHCI welcomes new member Gang Wang


The Center for HCI is pleased to welcome its newest member, Dr Gang Wang. Gang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and his research covers a range of topics of Cyber Security, Internet Measure ...

Edward Fox receives XCaliber Award


Edward A. Fox, professor of Computer Science and CHCI faculty, has received the university’s 2016 XCaliber Award for making extraordinary contributions to technology enriched active learning. Established in 1996 by the ...

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Recent CHCI Seminar

Supporting Emergency Evacuations with Mobile and Crowd Technologies

2016-10-14 at 08:30:00 in ICAT Learning Studio (253A) in the Moss Arts Center

Presenter: Navid Falla and Dr Kurt Luther

Abstract: During emergencies like a natural disaster or active shooter, building occupants are often instructed to evacuate as quickly as possible. Yet, unfamiliar surroundings, panicked crowds, obstacles, and other factors pose many challenges to safe, efficient evacuation. New indoor navigation technologies could help overcome these challenges by directing people to safe paths and exits via their mobile devices. However, little is known about how to design interfaces for evacuation scenarios, or how users will respond to them. To find out more, we designed a smartwatch application that provides simulated turn-by-turn indoor directions in the Moss Arts Center and used it as a technology probe to understand users’ attitudes and behaviors. In two experiments and 45 participants, we compared smartwatch use and non-use in to highlight issues related to user experience, movement, trust, and attention in a variety of realistic evacuation scenarios. Our findings indicate that smartwatches can realistically improve evacuation safety, but there are important caveats. We also discuss possibilities for leveraging crowdsourced human intelligence to support more effective evacuations.

Bio: Dr. Kurt Luther (photo) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science, a member of the Center for Human–Computer Interaction, and a fellow of ICAT. He builds and studies crowdsourcing systems that support creativity and discovery. Many of his current projects focus on crowdsourced sensemaking, data analysis, and investigation. Previously, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the HCI Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech. His undergraduate degree is from Purdue University. He has also worked at Microsoft Research, IBM Research, and YouTube.

Navid Falla is a PhD student in Human-Centered Design program. He has a background in architecture and design, with an undergraduate degree in architecture from Iran, a Masters in Landscape Architecture at Virginia Tech and several years of professional work. Navid's interest is in interdisciplinary areas of work between architecture and design, social computing and crowdsourcing. He is working on ideas to incorporate crowdsourcing into the built environment.

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Fluid 960 Grid System, created by Stephen Bau, based on the 960 Grid System by Nathan Smith. Released under the GPL / MIT Licenses.