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Steven F. Roth
Associate Research Professor, RI
No longer a member of RI.
Research Interests

My research interests are in the general areas of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, with a focus on human-computer interaction and information visualization and exploration. Our students and staff are working on several projects within our research group and collaboratively on other projects in the School of Computer Science, providing HCI and related expertise as part of multidisciplinary teams. Our projects are addressing:


  • the application of artificial intelligence to automate the creation of effective graphical presentations of large amounts of diverse information,
  • novel techniques for human-computer interaction, including 3D visualization and direct manipulation; interactive, graphical data exploration environments for navigation, aggregation, and transformation of data into useful information,
  • explanation generation using coordinated graphics and text produced by graphic and natural language systems, and
  • interactive planning and scheduling environments for complex transportation and factory logistics systems.

SAGE: Automatic and interactive design of graphical presentations of information. The goal of this work is to provide computer systems with the ability to communicate with users through the automatic design of graphical and textual displays. The rationale is to give users access to graphic design expertise and to reduce the burden of assembling data, designing displays and interacting with complex interfaces to graphics packages. To accomplish this, we have been developing an application-independent graphic design system called SAGE. As input, SAGE takes data from applications or databases, and characterizations of the data and tasks to be performed. As output, it generates one or more displays which visually integrate the data in a way that supports the tasks.

Research issues include: representing the syntax and semantics of graphical conventions; encoding graphic selection, composition and other design knowledge; developing techniques for searching the space of alternative designs; representing the behavior of interactive graphical objects for manipulating data in displays, especially for exploring and aggregating large data sets; coordinating automatic and interactive design processes (i.e. coordinating human and machine expertise); coordinating the selection and integration of text and graphics to support explanation of results of planning and scheduling systems; developing approaches to dynamic redesign of displays to assimilate changing data.

Multi-media Explanation. We are developing ways to combine text generation with SAGE's graphics capabilities to produce coordinated explanations and summaries of large databases. This includes automatic selection of important content and expression of this content by distributing it between the two media. Explanations will be generated within an interactive data exploration environment so that both text and graphics serve as interfaces for exploring information in greater detail.

3D Visualization. We are developing techniques and systems and studying the HCI aspects of 3D visualization. The research is concerned with visualization coupled with new interactive techniques designed to enable performance of complex data manipulation and exploration tasks within a 3D environment. Research includes: creating new visualization metaphors for combinations of quantitative, geographic, temporal, categorical and hierarchical data; developing gesturing techniques for a variety of input devices (e.g. pointing, selecting, linking, directing movement) for providing user control in a 3D environment; assessing human perceptual ability for assimilating 3D representations.

Research Interest Keywords
computer graphicsdata visualizationhuman-computer interaction