IDC Seminar: Provenance Information Promotes Fluidity And Rigor: Journalism Revisited

January 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

Dr. Simon Attfield (Middlesex University)


In this talk I plan to revisit work I presented some years ago, but in a way that has relevance for issues of ‘provenance’ and ‘fluidity and rigour’ currently being discussed in the VALCRI project. A field study of journalists working in the newsroom at The Times looked at how they sought and worked with information when writing news articles for the daily edition. The study showed that the task is affected by evolving uncertainty. This led to a research system called Newsharvester which was designed as ‘uncertainty tolerant’ through a very simple feature providing provenance links from a developing collection of content to originating archival sources. In an experimental evaluation, users reported that the provenance feature promoted more flexible and dynamic working and increased user enjoyment. Included in the reasons for using the provenance links were to re-consult information to better understand the context, include specific items they hadn’t realised were important, and generally check for omissions. The study lends support to the idea of  ‘low-cost’ provenance links as promoting ‘fluidity’ for users during complex sensemaking tasks conducted under time-pressure.

IDC seminar (12 Jan) Big Data Visual Analytics: A User-Centric Approach

January 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

Dr. Remco Chang (Tufts University, USA)

remco-changModern visualization systems often assume that the data can fit within the computer’s memory. With such an assumption, visualizations can quickly slice and dice the data and help the users examine and explore the data in a wide variety of ways. However, in the age of Big Data, the assumption that data can fit within memory no longer applies. One critical challenge in designing visual analytics systems today is therefore to allow the users to explore large and remote datasets at an interactive rate. In this talk, I will present our research in approaching this problem in a user-centric manner. In the first half of the talk, I will present preliminary work with the database group at MIT on developing a big data visualization system based on the idea of predictive prefetching and precomputation. In the second half of the talk, I will present mechanisms and approaches for performing prefetching that are based on user’s past interaction histories and their perceptual abilities.

Bio: Remco Chang is an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Tufts University. He received his BS from Johns Hopkins University in 1997 in Computer Science and Economics, MSc from Brown University in 2000, and PhD in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2009. Prior to his PhD, he worked for Boeing developing real-time flight tracking and visualization software, followed by a position at UNC Charlotte as a research scientist. His current research interests include visual analytics, information visualization, and human-computer interactions. His research has been funded by NSF, DHS, MIT Lincoln Lab, and Draper. He has had best paper, best poster, and honorable mention awards at InfoVis, VAST, CHI, and VDA. He is currently an associated editor of the ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems (TiiS) and the Human Computation journals, and he has been a PC and in organizational roles in leading conferences such as InfoVis, VAST, and CHI. He received the NSF CAREER Award in 2015.

IDC seminar (7 Dec) Designing for security: Users are not the weakest link

December 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm

(please note this is not the usual seminar time: 2pm on Monday in C204)

Dr. Sonia Chiasson (Carleton University)


There is a prevailing belief that users are the weakest link in the security chain. In this talk, I will discuss how this perspective is inherently counterproductive to achieving increased cyber security and explore alternatives with a higher chance of improving security.  Our research group explores how systems can be designed to better support secure behaviour and how user behaviour impacts security.  We investigate how underlying system and interaction design choices can lead to more secure systems by decreasing chances of misuse, errors, or exploitation of security mechanisms. I will present research examples from our recent work, including anti-phishing and privacy-preserving apps.


Sonia Chiasson is the Canada Research Chair in Human Oriented Computer Security and a faculty member in the School of Computer Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.  She is Deputy Scientific Director of SERENE-RISC, a Canadian Networks of Centers of Excellence for Knowledge Mobilization created to help protect Canadian individuals and organizations from online security and privacy threats. Her main research interests are in usable security and privacy: the intersection between human-computer interaction and computer security and privacy. She leads Carleton’s Human Oriented Research in Usable Security (CHORUS) research group.


IDC seminar (1 Dec) – Trip Report: Phong Nguyen (VisWeeks) + Craig Anslow (ITS & Splash)

December 1, 2015 at 11:00 am

There is no abstract of speaker bio, as this is a trip report:


Presentation slides


Presentation slides


IDC Seminar (24 Nov) – Generating Insights: Hard-to-get-at data from difficult-to-access users

November 24, 2015 at 11:58 am

Dr. Bob Fields, Middlesex University


This talk reports on the development of a suite of tools to collect, analyze and visualize a diverse range of data from sufferers of mental ill health. The aim is to allow researchers and ultimately sufferers and clinicians to better understand ‘individual signatures’ of factors that indicate or identify episodes of ill health. The tools have been applied in a study working with clients of a mental health service that demonstrates their applicability and acceptability in developing a better understanding of the factors surrounding self-harm behavior.