Moving to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

It has been a great 9 years in St Andrews, Scotland. Thanks Scotland for having been so welcoming, and thanks to the University of St Andrews for having supported my academic career. I will miss St Andrews and the East Neuk of Fife very much!

Although I keep working with my St Andrews friends/colleagues, and plan to do this for a long time, the University of Victoria (UVic), in the West Coast of Canada is now my new academic (and family) home. The city of Victoria is also a great place to live, with amazing views, nature and art, a growing Tech startup scene.

Aerial view of the University of Victoria

The University of Victoria is laid out around a circle (the Ring) and very close to the water.

If you are student and are interested in my research topics, I am actively searching for students, mostly in the following categories:

  • UVic honours project students
  • UVic independent study projects
  • future PhD students from UVic, Canada and overseas

I will soon refresh the research pages in this website; in the meantime, the most reliable indicator of my current research directions are my most recent papers. If you are interested in exploring possibilities working with me in Visualization, Problem Representation, Infotypography, Visual Language Interfaces or Human-Computer Interaction, just drop me a line at nacenta at uvic dot ca.

Our mini central-european tour: Munich, Konstanz, Zurich

Last week, Uta and I had the chance to take a tour of three impressive labs in Germany and Switzerland. The German and Swiss hospitality cannot be overstated, but most impressive was the range of research.
curvepublic wall displayIn Munich we visited the Media Informatics and Human-Computer Interaction Group, invited by Andreas Butz. It was really nice to see finally the curve (in the picture), among lots of other excellent research, including work by Alice Thudt, a current collaborator of Uta.

collaborative search controlrooms2In Konstanz, we visited the Human-Computer Interaction group led by Prof. Harald Reiterer. The range of research and development is very broad. A particular favorite of mine is the work on zoomable multi-display environments (the ZOIL API), and a number of other interesting experiments related to large displays.

Finally, we had the chance to visit Dr. Elaine Huang and her ZPAC laboratory; we have strong links with this lab (including Helen, another iLab graduate), but there were many other strong research reasons to visit ZPAC; most related to me is the work by Gunnar Harboe, but it was great to learn too about projects on sustainability, cultural communication, and domestic ubicomp.

Naturally, I cannot make justice to everything that all these researchers do in a few lines… maybe you should just visit them too :). We really would like to thank all our hosts for wonderful and insightful visits (special thanks to Fabian, Hans-Christian, Christian, Alice and Helen for bearing with us for so long). We are looking forward to your visits!

Workshop on Infrastructure and Design Challenges of Coupled Display Visual Interfaces PPD’12

Please, come to Capri to discuss MDEs with us!

Workshop on Infrastructure and Design Challenges of Coupled Display Visual Interfaces PPD’12
In conjunction with AVI’12, Capri, Italy, May 25, 2012
Following on from the very successful PPD’08 and PPD’10 workshops at previous AVI conferences.

Keywords: Multi-display environments, MDE infrastructure, Coupled Displays, Interaction Techniques

Submission deadline: March 30th
Acceptance notification: April 5th

The objective of PPD’12 is to bring together researchers active in the areas of multi-display user interfaces to share approaches and experiences, identify research and deployment challenges, and envision the next generation of applications that rely on visual interfaces that can spread across multiple displays. Among the possible outcomes of the workshop are a book and a grant application.

TOPICS (including but not restricted to):
-Understanding the design space and identifying factors that influence user interactions in this space
-Developing evaluation strategies to cope with the complex nature of multi-display environments
-Understanding the implications that display is shaped by human activity into an ecological arrangement and thus an ecology
-Ethnography and user studies of visual interfaces relying on coupled displays
-Examples of applications of coupled display interfaces in real-world applications
-Social factors that influence the design of suitable interaction techniques for shared and private displays
-Exploring interaction techniques that facilitate multi-display interfaces
-Novel input mechanisms for both private and public multi-touch devices as part of multi-display environments
-Techniques for supporting input re-direction and distributing information between displays
-SDK/APIs, IDEs, and hardware platforms for the development of coupled display visual interfaces

An increasing number of interactive displays of very different sizes, portability, projectability and form factors are starting to become part of the display ecosystems that we make use of in our daily lives. Displays are shaped by human activity into an ecological arrangement and thus an ecology. Each combination or ecology of displays offer substantial promise for the creation of applications that effectively take advantage of the wide range of input, affordances, and output capability of these multi-display, multi-device and multi-user environments. Although the last few years have seen an increasing amount of research in this area, knowledge about this subject remains under explored, fragmented, and cuts across a set of related but heterogeneous issues. We invite researchers and practitioners interested in the challenges posed by infrastructure and design.

The workshop will be for a full day and structured to provide maximum time for group discussion and brainstorming. Each participant will be expected to be familiar with all position papers (which will be available to them well in advance of the event). The workshop will structured around four sessions (separated by the morning break, lunch and afternoon break). In the first session the participants will briefly introduce themselves and engage in a brainstorm to outline key discussion topics for the two midday sessions. In the second and third session the group will be divided into sub-groups moderated by the workshop organisers to have focused discussions on some of the key topics identified earlier. In the fourth session the group will reconvene to summarise the advances identified in the breakout discussions.

Alan Dix, University of Birmingham/TALIS
Miguel Nacenta, University of St Andrews
Aaron Quigley, University of St Andrews
Tom Rodden, University of Nottingham

The position papers should be prepared according to the ACM SIGCHI Format (2 column, 10 point font size) and should not be longer than four pages. The submissions can present summarizing, on-going or speculative work.

Send submissions before the end of March 30th.
Submissions will be peer reviewed by a international program committee of multi-display and surface computing experts. Submissions do not have to be anonymous.


Dzmitry Aliakseyeu – Philips Research Europe
Simone DJ Barbosa – Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
Shlomo Berkovsky – NICTA
Alan Dix – University of Birmingham/TALIS
Adrian Friday – University of Lancaster
Rodger Lea – University of British Columbia
Alessio Malizia – Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Miguel Nacenta – University of St Andrews
Kenton O’Hara – Microsoft Research
Aaron Quigley – University of St Andrews
Stuart Reeves – University of Nottingham
Tom Rodden – University of Nottingham
Michael Rohs – Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Lucia Terrenghi – Google
Frederic Vernier – Université Paris-Sud
Jim Wallace – University of Waterloo

Getting busier

The good weather is gone (for now), but our place is just as beautiful in the rain. Today, I will try for a run in the evening, but for now you can check out the photosynth (a kind of panorama) that I made just north of Cellardyke during my run:

I’ll try to keep these coming! 🙂

Newbie in Scotland

Kate and I have been in Scotland for almost a week. So far, we are loving it. The weather is wonderful, our place is amazing, and the people have been wonderfully welcoming. We live now in Cellardyke, which is a tiny fishing village, about ten miles from St Andrews.

For our first impressions of Scotland, it’s best that you check Kate’s funny account of our landing and first days.

Tomorrow I will start work at the SACHI group. Meanwhile, you check out some of the photographs that I made around where we live.

NOTE: because of the University of Calgary e-mail policies, I am not allowed to keep or redirect my ucalgary e-mail, so please, use the gmail address instead. Thanks and sorry for the inconvenience!