* Patiently hoping for a Degree
* Piled higher and Deeper
* Professorship? hah! Dream on!
* Please hire. Desperate.
* Physiologically Deficient
* Pour him (or her) a Drink
* Philosophically Disturbed
* Probably headed for Divorce
* Pathetically hopeless Dweeb
* Probably heavily in Debt
* Parents have Doubts
* Professors had Doubts
* Pheromone Deprived
* Probably hard to Describe
* Patiently headed Downhill...
* Permanent head Damage
* Pulsating heaving Disaster?
* Pretty homely Dork
* Potential heavy Drinker
* Professional hamburger Dispenser
* Post hole Digger
* Professional hair Dresser
* Progressive heart Doctor
* Professional humidity Detector
* Piano hauling Done
* Pro at hurling Darts
* Professional hugger of Dames
* Private house Detective
* Pizza hut Driver
* Pretty heavily Depressed
* Prozac handouts Desired
* Pretty heavy Diploma
* Pathetic homeless Dreamer
* Please hold Dangerous
* Permanently held Dear
* Proudly half Dead
* Promised hell Down-the-road
* Precisely helping Deadheads
* Processed here, Dammit
* Probably heavenly Death

... welcome to add more!

PSU CFA

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Penn State Chinese Friendship Association (CFA) is really an important club for me, as well as every Chinese student in PSU, I believe. They offer generous help to every Chinese student coming to Penn State from our home country, such as airport picking, housing information, moving, and so on. They have a web forum (in Chinese) providing us a platform to communicate with other Chinese students sharing experience and information during the period living in this new county. Also there are wonderful activities like mid-autumn day party and the first Chinese Culture Festival. CFA also has many subdivisions. I often play on Saturday afternoon with our soccer club. Those are quite easygoing, entertaining people. My advisor, Xiaolong (Luke) Zhang, usually comes too! Talking to elders in CFA with similar culture background is extremely helpful when I entered this unfamiliar environment. 

Famous Person in My Field - Stuart K. Card

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Stuart K. Card is a Senior Research Fellow and the manager of the User Interface Research group at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

In addition to the Franklin Institute's Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science (2007), Card:

- received the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)'s SIGCHI's first CHI Lifetime Achievement Award (2000) and was named the first Fellow of the CHI Academy (2001);

- was named an ACM Fellow (2000) in recognition of his fundamental pioneering contributions toward creating a theory and practice of human-computer interaction that integrates computer science and psychological science;

- was named a Fellow of the World Technology Network (2005), which focuses on the business and science of bringing important emerging technologies into reality; and

- was recently elected (2007) a member of the National Academy of Engineering, which is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer.


* Stuart Card at his interview in 2002. (From source: http://www.designinginteractions.com/interviews/StuCard)

Card graduated in 1966 with a A.B. in Physics from the Oberlin College. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied with Herbert Simon and Allen Newell, two Artificial Intelligence pioneers, in an interdisciplinary program in psychology, artificial intelligence, and computer science. He has been an adjunct faculty member at Stanford University. He has been working at PARC since 1974.

Card's study of input devices led to the Fitts's Law characterization of the mouse and was a major factor leading to the mouse's commercial introduction by Xerox. His group has developed theoretical characterizations of human-machine interaction, including the Model Human Processor, the GOMS theory of user interaction, information foraging theory, and statistical descriptions of Internet use. These theories have been put to use in new paradigms of human-machine interaction including the Rooms workspace manager, papertronic systems, and the Information Visualizer. The work of his group has resulted in a dozen Xerox products as well as the contributing to the founding of three software companies, Inxight Software, Outride, and Content Guard.

Cited over 1000 times, Card's book with Tom Moran and Allen Newell, "The Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction" (1983), was the first to use "human-computer interaction" in its title. His book with Josh Mackinlay and Ben Shneiderman, "Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think" (1999) first used "information visualization" in its title and helped define a new field.

My Publication Venues

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My area of interest is about HCI and visualization. There are three major annual conferences on this field.

1. CHI

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The ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) series of academic conferences is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human-computer interaction. It is hosted by ACM SIGCHI, the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction. CHI has been held annually since 1982. CHI 2009 will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. In 2009, the organization of the CHI program committee is divided into topical subcommittees including: Improving Usability; Specific Application Areas; Interaction Beyond the Individual; Design; Interaction using Specific Capabilities or Modalities; Behavioral Study and Theory; Technology, Systems, Tools, and Infrastructure; Interaction Techniques and Devices; Interaction in New Contexts.

2. UIST

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The ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) is the premier forum for innovations in the software and technology of human-computer interfaces. Sponsored by ACM's special interest groups on computer-human interaction (SIGCHI) and computer graphics (SIGGRAPH), UIST brings together researchers and practitioners from diverse areas that include traditional graphical & web user interfaces, tangible & ubiquitous computing, virtual & augmented reality, multimedia, new input & output devices, and CSCW. The intimate size, the single track, and comfortable surroundings make this symposium an ideal opportunity to exchange research results and implementation experiences.

3. SIGGRAPH

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Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) is the name of the annual conference on computer graphics (CG) convened by the ACM SIGGRAPH organization. The first SIGGRAPH conference was in 1974. SIGGRAPH is widely considered the most prestigious forum for the publication of computer graphics research. As of 2008, SIGGRAPH conferences was also held in Asia (SIGGRAPH Asia), in addition to the conferences in the United States. In 2011, for the first time ever, the main SIGGRAPH conference will be held outside the United States - Vancouver, Canada.

My Academic Communities

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There are three major academic communities in the area which I am interested, namely human-computer interaction, and visualization.

1. ACM CHI

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ACM SIGCHI, the ACM's Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction, brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation, and study of interactive computing systems for human use. ACM SIGCHI provides an international, interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas about the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). It was formed in 1982 by renaming and refocusing SIGSOC, the Special Interest Group on Social and Behavioral Computing.

It hosts the major annual international HCI conference, CHI, with around 2500 attendees, and publishes two of the main international publications on HCI: interactions, and Transactions on CHI (TOCHI). It has two membership publications, the SIGCHI Bulletin and interactions.

The CHI Academy is an honorary group of individuals who have made extensive contributions to the study of HCI and who have led the shaping of the field. Professor John M. Carroll and Professor Mary Beth Rosson are within this group. The Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious award SIGCHI gives. The criteria for achievement are the same as for the CHI Academy, only more so. In 2003, this award was given to Professor John M. Carroll.

2. ACM SIGGRAPH

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ACM SIGGRAPH is the New York-based Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. It was founded in 1969 by Andy van Dam (its direct predecessor, ACM SICGRAPH was founded two years earlier in 1967). Computer Graphics is the quarterly periodical publication of ACM SIGGRAPH.

ACM SIGGRAPH convenes the annual SIGGRAPH conference, attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals. The organization also sponsors other conferences around the world, and regular events are held by its professional and student chapters in several countries. The organization's stated values are excellence, integrity, volunteerism, passion and cross-disciplinary interaction.

3. IEEE

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The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE is an international non-profit, professional organization for the advancement of technology related to electricity. It has the most members of any technical professional organization in the world, with more than 365,000 members in around 150 countries.

IEEE produces 30 percent of the world's literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, publishing well over 100 peer-reviewed journals. The content in these journals as well as the content from several hundred annual conferences are available in the IEEE's online digital library.

How do people manage their digital pictures?

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We are facing exploding digital image repository in this age of bits, either in our own computer or from online resources. The problem is how to manage these images so that user can find, browse and explore them more efficiently and effectively. It can be an issue of HCI, as well as Information Visualization.


Comparing of two examples of image browsers: PhotoMesa vs. Time Quilt


PhotoMesa can be a negative example. It uses Treemap-like layout (because they are from the same research lab!) to put lots of small thumbnails all in the window. I doubt whether user could get useful information from thumbnails in this size. The only chance for user to remind a picture's content might be from the pop-out larger thumbnail when his mouse passes a certain image, which is inefficient.

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Time Quilt is another attempt which arranges images by chronological order. The technique most interests me in this demo is that Time Quilt uses a representative image as the cover of a group/folder of images. When user clicks on that representative image, pictures in this certain folder will show up. It is like a zoom-in effect. However, how to choose the representative image, as well, how to arrange large set of thumbnails, it still an open question.

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Who is my advisor, academically

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My advisor is Prof. Xiaolong (Luke) Zhang (full CV). From academic perspective, he is a typical information science people. He has studied and worked in three different iSchools. He holds a Ph.D degree in Information Science with a specialization in HCI from University of Michigan. He had been an assistant professor in School of Information Recourses & Library Science at The University of Arizona for 2 years. Now he is working here in IST.

Xiaolong's research interest is mostly on human-computer interaction specifically visualization. His research has two main domains: knowledge visualization and user interaction in Multiscale virtual environments. Thus his publications appear relatively on journals/conferences related to these fields. He has papers in international journals of Human Computer Studies and Virtual Reality. For conferences, I believe the most two he attends are ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) and ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST).

At teaching aspect, Xiaolong's teaching experience dates back to his graduate student time. He was the graduate instructor for several courses in SI, UMich, such as User Interface Design, and Search and Retrieval. During the working period when he was in U of Arizona, he taught courses like Introduction to Information Technologies, and Collaborative Information Retrieval. At IST, Penn State, he has taught three different courses for both undergraduate and graduate students. He used to teach IST 210: Organization of Data. Currently in this semester, he is teaching IST 220: Networking and Telecommunications (in which I am the TA) and IST 526: Information Visualization (which I am taking).

Who is my advisor, personally

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My advisor in IST is Prof. Xiaolong (Luke) Zhang. His name "Xiao Long" in Chinese means "little dragon". Differently from Western countries, dragon in China was a symbol of emperors. We often call our Chinese as "descendants of dragon". So "Xiao Long" and "Long"(dragon) are popular names in China.

We are from the same country - China, and the same undergraduate university - Tsinghua University. However, honestly I have very little information about my advisor's personally life, because we only know each other for less than 2 months. As far as I know, he has a little daughter - He often mentions her but I have not got a chance to see her. Another thing I know is that Xiaolong is a soccer fan - we played together on weekends.

I believe a good personality match between advisor and student is quite important for graduate studies. Xiaolong is a very easygoing man, and always glad to offer help. So far it is a very nice experience working with him.

IST and me

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It was a bit unexpected for me to know my college, our college, the College of Information Science and Technology was created in 1997. It took two years to make the new college open its door and admit the first students for the Fall 1999 semester. Maybe at the point of facing a new century, information technology is so important for people and society. Research should not only focus on developing technology itself, but also take care of changes in our everyday lives following the revolution of information. Penn State realized this. Unlike other iSchools mostly succeed to their library schools, IST is built from white paper. It was a lot of money to found this new school. The construction of an IST building cost $58.8 million dollars to complete. While IST's overall research funding is in excess of $36 million dollars as for 2007.

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When applying for Phd program, I was not aware that IST did not have departments in its college - I thought it was an "IST "department". But at the time I actually study here, I notice research area in IST is quite broad. It is very rare that HCI and cyber security researchers belong to a same "department", and do research project together. In my point of view, this kind of parallel structure is very helpful for inter- and multi- disciplinary research work. Although the organizing problem may arise along with its expansion, it is still necessary to keep this broad research surface and to limit restrictions followed by dividing organizations.

I benefit from this flat structure during the time in IST. This let me get in touch with many areas I am interested. My research is mainly on HCI. In IST there is a superb HCI research team. All of professors cooperate frequently, in spite of the "HCI center" is loosely organized. Currently I am working with Dr. Zhang specifically on information visualization. In my first year I may reach as many fields as possible during courses to fix on my best research topic. I have to say IST is providing an appropriate platform for me to achieve this.

Do we really need another Web browser?

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An article full of highly praise and admiration to Google's new browser, as well as their company: "a promising, modern, streamlined, nonbloated, very secure alternative to the browsers currently available" ...

I downloaded Chrome and tried for around four minutes. Nothing very much special. Maybe Google fans are happy to see their new product. For common users like me, having another choice perhaps makes simple web surfing unnecessarily complicated. But Firefox is going to meet a big embarrassment, I guess. Comparing to Microsoft, Mozilla maybe feel more challenging, because their users are more likely to accept new things, and concern more about browser's performance than its compatibility. At earlier time, they turned to Firefox from IE. Now similar thing happens. The most unfortunate thing is that, the default search engine of Firefox has always been - Google.

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