Welcome new CHCI faculty members
February 6, 2023
Yan Chen is an assistant professor of Computer Science where he directs the Programming with Intelligent Machines & Environments Lab (PRIME). Chen is active in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research community. His research spans programming support tools, software engineering, crowdsourcing, and CS education. His work has been published at top HCI conferences, including ACM CHI, UIST, and CSCW. He received the Best Short Paper award at VL/HCC 2020 and the Best Paper Honorable Mention Award at UIST 2022. Chen was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto (Canada). He received his PhD degree from the University of Michigan (USA), and BS and MS degrees in Applied Math and Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder (USA).
Yan writes: "I create intelligent programming tools that provide real-time assistance to increase productivity and learning for programmers. My work aligns with the CHCI by focusing on the interplay between people and technology, specifically addressing challenges faced by programmers and designing systems to enhance their productivity and learning experience through real-time assistance and personalized help."
Eiman Elgewely is an assistant professor of Interior Design in the School of Architecture + Design. Both her Master’s and PhD from Alexandria University are in the field of Virtual and Cyberspace Design. Her research interests are in the field of Digital Cultural Heritage and museum studies. She has worked on several applied projects in Digital Cultural Heritage in Egypt since 2007, including 3D scanning, documentation, and virtual reconstruction of historical sites. Before joining VT, Elgewely was an assistant professor of Interior Architecture at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University, Egypt, then coordinator of the Interior Design Program at the Arts & Design Department, Applied Science University of Bahrain (ASU).
In addition to her academic background, Elgewely has more than 15 years of professional experience as an interior designer in Egypt. Elgewely is specialized in digital visualization and has taught several Computer-Aided Design courses, including digital drafting and 3D modeling.
Elgewely describes her work this way: "I established the Visualization and Virtual Reality Lab (VVL) in the Interior design program to provide experiential learning opportunities for students and develop my research in digital cultural heritage and museum studies, aiming to combine my teaching with my research.”
Bo Ji is an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science. He received his BE and ME degrees in Information Science and Electronic Engineering from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, in 2004 and 2006, respectively, and his PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio State University, Columbus in 2012. Ji is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Temple University where he was an Assistant Professor from July 2014 to June 2020. He was also a Senior Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Labs, San Ramon, CA, from January 2013 to June 2014.
Ji’s research interests lie in the modeling, analysis, control, and optimization of computer and network systems, such as next-generation (NextG) networks, edge/cloud computing, information-update systems, and cyber-physical systems. He works broadly on various topics at the intersection of networking, machine learning, security and privacy, and augmented/virtual/mixed reality. Ji says, “My current work relevant to HCI is focused on two topics: (1) AR/VR security and privacy; (2) systems and networking support for AR/VR.”
Rodrigo Sarlo is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His program area is in Structural Engineering and Materials. He received his MS and PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. Sarlo’s research interests lie in the areas of vibrations and structural dynamics, structural health monitoring, digital twins, data-driven methods, sensing and data fusion. He received TLOS XCaliber Award for Teaching in 2021 and was the finalist in 2021 Smart City Works Smart City Challenge. He was a Graduate Fellow at American Society for Nondestructive Testing, 2017 and a Hord Fellow, Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineering, 2015.
Sarlo says: "I have recently gotten pretty involved in AR research related to bridge inspection (in collaboration with Joe Gabbard). As part of this research, we are exploring how to integrate AI and computer vision into the AR interface and how to structure human supervision of the AI tasks in a way that maximizes performance. In addition, I recently got another grant through Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) on building trustworthy HCI in this domain. Having access to the CHCI resources as well as connecting with its members would be a great benefit.”
Abby Walker is an associate professor of linguistics in the Department of English. She is the head of the Language Sciences Program in the Department of English, and a co-director of The Speech Lab (in Shanks Hall), which is part of VTLx, an informal network of VT faculty whose research and teaching involves linguistics and language sciences. Walker is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Laboratory Phonology.
Walker investigates the ways in which individuals change their speech in the moment (depending on who they are talking to or what they are talking about) and over time (because of changes in their community, or because they changed communities); the mechanisms behind cross-dialectal speech perception; and the social evaluation of language. Walker says: "As a linguist, I'm interested in the way we use language - especially speech - to interact with computers, and the impact that has on individuals and their engagement and access to computer-assisted technologies, but also the impact it may have on their language.”
Ruichuan Zhang is an assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction. Zhang earned both his PhD degree in Civil Engineering with Computational Science and Engineering concentration and MS degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He earned his BM degree in Management Science and Engineering from the Central University of Finance and Economics in China. He has research interests in data analytics and artificial intelligence for resilient and sustainable built environments, including machine learning, natural language processing and understanding, building information modeling (BIM) and digital twins, Internet of things (IoT), and human-centered approaches.
Zhang says: "My research focuses on machine learning, natural language processing and understanding, and human-centered approaches for design, construction, and operation of smart and sustainable built environments. My current work with my graduate students draws on HCI research: for example, we are developing biophilic design strategies for senior housing using generative models and simulating daily activities for elderly people with such design strategies; we are collecting environmental data and construction activity data using Internet of things (IoT) technologies and analyzing their causal and/or temporal relations. Our work will contribute to HCI research in that it will allow humans (e.g., residents and construction workers) to better interact with computers and computer-supported built environments to improve their quality of life.”