And how does that make you feel?


July 24, 2014


Confused and frustrated by your difficult programming task? Let’s have your IDE intervene before you get the chance to cause a bug in the software. Bored by your rote assignment? Let’s have your browser find a funny YouTube video to snap you out of it. Stressed out? Let’s Snapchat your friends so they can call and lend you an ear. What else could a computer do if it knew what you were feeling? In this session, we’ll talk about several research projects which leverage low-cost biometric sensors to sense your affect and take action to help you out.


Andrew Begel, Mary Czerwinski, and Erin Solovey

I am a Senior Researcher in the Visualization and Interaction in Business and Entertainment (VIBE) Group at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA, USA. My research applies HCI techniques to study and improve the software development process. I study collaborative software development, Agile methodologies, developer-centric knowledge management, flow and coordination, and K-16 and beyond programming education. I work closely with Mary Czerwinski, Rob DeLine, Kael Rowan, Thomas Zimmermann, and Christian Bird. I have also hosted several interns: Nicolas Bettenburg (Graduate Student at Queen’s University), Anja Guzzi (Graduate Student at Delft University of Technology), Alicia Grubb (Graduate Student at University of Toronto), Khoo Yit Phang (Senior Software Engineer at The Mathworks, formerly graduate student at University of Maryland), Libby Hemphill (Assistant Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology, formerly graduate student at University of Michigan), Reid Holmes (Assistant Professor at University of Waterloo, formerly graduate student at University of Calgary), Christopher Poile (Assistant Professor at University of Saskatchewan, formerly graduate student at University of Waterloo), and Lucas Layman (Research Scientist at Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering, former graduate student at North Carolina State University). Several professors have spent their sabbaticals with me: Yvonne Dittrich (Assistant Professor at IT University of Copenhagen) and Jonathan Sillito (Associate Professor at University of Calgary). While at Microsoft, I have also collaborated with several professors: Beth Simon (Lecturer with Security of Employment at University of California, San Diego) and Thomas Fritz (Assistant Professor at University of Zurich).

I received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in December 2005. I studied with Susan L. Graham. My dissertation was about voice-based programming, how to build a development environment that supports it, and how well programmers can use it. It is intended for programmers with repetitive strain and other injuries that make it difficult for them from using the keyboard and mouse in their daily work. For the quick punch-line, read my dissertation abstract below.

At MIT, I received a Master of Engineering degree in Computer Science in 1997 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1996. I worked on StarLogo, a programmable modeling environment designed to help students learn about science. StarLogo runs via Java on PCs, Macs and Unix machines. A newer version of StarLogo, called StarLogo TNG, incorporates graphical block-based programming and a 3D turtle world to teach programming by enabling kids to create their own games and simulations.

Education in computer science has always been important to me. Along with Steven Wolfman, Daniel D. Garcia and Rebecca Bates, I led workshops on Kinesthetic Learning Activities, physically engaging classroom exercises that teach computer science concepts.

Mary’s research focuses primarily on emotion tracking, information worker task management, multitasking, and awareness systems for individuals and groups. Her background is in emotion tracking and awareness, visual attention and multitasking. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from Indiana University in Bloomington. Mary was awarded the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Service Award, was inducted into the CHI Academy, and became an ACM Distinguished Scientist in 2010. She received the Distinguished Alumni award from Indiana University’s Brain and Psychological Sciences department. Here is a link to her curriculum vita. Here is a link to a recent article on her research in the Washington Post.

Erin Solovey is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Drexel University and also is affiliated with the Drexel School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. Dr. Solovey’s main research area is human-computer interaction, specifically emerging interaction techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces, physiological and wearable computing, and reality-based interaction. She designs, builds and evaluates systems to support users dealing with variable workload levels and multitasking, and systems that provide novel learning experiences. She also investigates effective human interaction with complex and autonomous systems and vehicles. Her work has received awards including the NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellowship and three CHI Best Paper Award Honorable Mentions. She received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Harvard, and her Masters and Ph.D. in computer science from Tufts. She was a research intern at Microsoft Research in 2008. After her graduate studies, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the MIT Humans and Automation Lab.