Alex Endert was awarded the first annual IEEE VGTC Best Doctoral Dissertation Award. The award was presented at the IEEE VIS Conference in October 2013. Alex completed his dissertation in Computer Science at Virginia Tech in August 2012, under advisor Chris North. His dissertation is entitled "Semantic Interaction for Visual Analytics: Inferring Analytical Reasoning for Model Steering". Alex also won the Best Dissertation Award in the Department of Computer Science.
"The IEEE VGTC Doctoral Dissertation Competition IEEE Computer Society Visualization and Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) has recently established the Best Doctoral Dissertation Award program to recognize outstanding academic research and development in visualization and visual analytics. The dissertations must address a topic relevant to visualization or visual analytics. The competition will be administrated by the IEEE VGTC Visualization Pioneers Group (VPG) under the auspices of VGTC. The award, to be known as the IEEE/VGTC VIS Pioneers Group Doctoral Dissertation Award, will be presented annually at the VPG Reception held at IEEE VIS conference."
Congratulations to Ji-Sun Kim, 2012-2013 PHD graduate of our department with co-advisors Denis Gracanin and Francis Quek, on being named 2nd place winner of the ACM Grace Hopper Celebration Graduate Student Research Competition earlier this month. Her competition entry, entitled "Action-Transferred Design Approach of Navigation Techniques for Effective Spatial Learning in 3D Virtual Environments", describes the core part of her doctoral research.
Ji-Sun describes her research thusly: "The proposed action-transferred design approach was inspired by observations from theories of learning, action, perception, and neuropsychology. We empirically demonstrated the proposed action-transferred design approach addresses the practical usability issues of previous walking-like navigation techniques, while effectively supporting spatial learning. We believe that the action-transferred design approach can open many research opportunities and applications in human computer interaction (HCI) research area. These applications include virtual exploration of scientific datasets, historic places, or real estate, architectural or urban design, military or firefighting training, and even robotics (operation of unmanned vehicles)."
This is the 2nd year in a row that CS@VT has had a graduate student win 2nd place in this competition. As a winner of a Student Research Competition at GHC, Ji-Sun will be eligible to participate in the Grand Finals of all the ACM Student Research Competitions for 2013-2014:
VT CHCI graduate student Ji Wang, alumnus Sheng Guo and professor Chris North along with graduate student Jian Zhao from the University of Toronto, have won the grand prize of the Yelp Dataset Challenge. The award announcement can be found here.
The abstract of their winning project titled "Clustered Layout Word Cloud for User Generated Review" is the following: User generated reviews, like those found on Yelp and Amazon, have become important reference material for decision making in our daily life, for example, in dining, shopping and entertainment. However, the large amounts of available reviews make the reading process tedious. In this project, we present a word cloud visualization of user generated reviews based on semantics to facilitate the decision making tasks. We used a natural language processing approach, called grammatical dependency parsing, to create a semantic graph based on the review content. A force-directed layout was then applied to the semantic graph to generate the clustered layout word cloud. Our approach can afford users more insights about reviews by creating word clusters spatially based on their semantic information. We also conducted an experiment to compare the efficiency of our method with two alternative review reading techniques: random layout word cloud and normal text-based reviews. The results showed that the proposed technique had faster task completion times and better user satisfactions.
Siroberto Scerbo and Felipe Bacim, Ph.D. students in CHCI and Computer Science, along with advisor Doug Bowman, have been named finalists in the 2013 Nokia Ubimedia Mindtrek Awards (NUMA). Their project "Insane Llamas" is a next-generation augmented reality game that allows players to defeat evil llamas hiding in the physical real-world environment by shooting virtual kiwis with a physical slingshot attached to an iPad. The game began as a class project in Bowman's 3D Interaction seminar. Based on a submission video, the team was named one of four winners of the competition, and will compete for the top prize Oct. 2 in Finland.
Congratulations to Doug Bowman and his colleagues on placing 6th in the DARPA Virtual Robotics Challenge. This means that the VT team in collaboration with TU Darmstadt will proceed to the next phase of the competition, and will receive an ATLAS robot to use in this next phase. Doug reports that Felipe Bacim (CS Ph.D. student) was the leader of the Operator Control Station (user interface) aspect of the project.
This achievement was featured in the July 3rd ACM TechNews, great publicity for our research and our department.