Abstract -- In 1994, I started building interactive systems and while more of the programming is now done by my students than me, I can not resist the thrill of designing and building something that solves real problem or explores new ways of interacting with data. Even after building over a dozen major systems, I continue to struggle with what I find to be an impedance mismatch with systems building and the world of academia. I have managed to have some level of success, but in many ways, it was through a matter of luck and timing. In this talk, I will discuss the lessons I have learned in doing systems work, which for me has meant learning to balance my inner drive with the demands our discipline and organizations place on us. Along the way, I’ll show a number of interactive systems I have built including a number of zoomable user interface systems, collaborative systems for children, crowdsourcing systems, and some of my current visualization efforts.
Biography -- Benjamin B. Bederson is a professor of computer science and a past director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and the College of Information Studies (iSchool). Bederson's research focuses on human computation, mobile device interfaces, interaction strategies, digital libraries and children's education. Bederson is well-known for his work on Zoomable User Interfaces (ZUIs) since the mid-1990s, including the Pad++ and Piccolo toolkits for zoomable and structured 2-D graphics. That work led to his well-known applications around personal photo management (PhotoMesa), calendaring (DateLens), and hierarchical data visualization (SpaceTree). ZUIs have since become well-established in a wide range of domains, including maps and mobile phones. He is also known for his work around children's educational technologies, including his notable International Children's Digital Library. Its website (http://www.childrenslibrary.org/) contains the largest freely available collection of children's books from around the world. It also represents the outcome of a range of research efforts, including computer-vision based applications for text readability, as well as work in translation and mobile access. Additionally, Bederson has established himself in the area of human computation, an approach to combine human with computational effort to solve problems at a scale and quality that neither could accomplish alone. One important example of this work is his National Science Foundation and Google supported work on MonoTrans, a system that enables monolingual human speakers to collaboratively translate text. He received his doctorate in computer science from New York University in 1992.