Tuesday 12pm, 12 March 2019

Cesar andrew

"A Conversation with Actuators: An Exploratory Design Environment for Hybrid Materials" and "Managing Messes in Computational Notebooks"

César Torres and Andrew Head

PhD Candidates - UC Berkeley


A Conversation with Actuators: An Exploratory Design Environment for Hybrid Materials
An exciting, expanding palette of hybrid materials is emerging that can be programmed to actuate by a range of external and internal stimuli. However, there exists a dichotomy between the physicality of the actuators and the intangible computational signal that is used to program them. For material practitioners, this lack of physical cues limits their ability to engage in a “conversation with materials” (CwM). This paper presents a creative workstation for supporting this epistemological style by bringing a stronger physicality to the computational signal and balance the conversation between physical and digital actors. The station utilizes a streaming architecture to distribute control across multiple devices and leverage the rich spatial cognition that a physical space affords. Through a formal user study, we characterize the actuation design practice supported by the CwM workstation and discuss opportunities for tangible interfaces to hybrid materials.

About César: César Torres is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. As a researcher, César specializes in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) synthesizing new media and craft theory into the software and hardware design of creative tangible user interfaces. He has received multiple best paper awards at top venues within HCI and been supported through the NSF and Adobe/GEM Consortium Graduate Fellowships and a Microsoft Research Dissertation Grant. He holds a B.A. in Art Practice and a B.S. in Computer Science from Stanford University.

Managing Messes in Computational Notebooks
Data analysts use computational notebooks to write code for analyzing and visualizing data. Notebooks help analysts iteratively write analysis code by letting them interleave code with output, and selectively execute cells. However, as analysis progresses, analysts leave behind old code and outputs, and overwrite important code, producing cluttered and inconsistent notebooks. In this talk, I will introduce code gathering tools, extensions to computational notebooks that help analysts find, clean, recover, and compare versions of code in cluttered, inconsistent notebooks. The tools archive all versions of code outputs, allowing analysts to review these versions and recover the subsets of code that produced them. These subsets can serve as succinct summaries of analysis activity or starting points for new analyses. In a qualitative usability study, 12 professional analysts found the tools useful for cleaning notebooks and writing analysis code, and discovered new ways to use them, like generating personal documentation and lightweight versioning.

About Andrew: Andrew Head is a Ph.D. candidate at UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. In his dissertation research, he studies how interactive systems can help programmers share their expertise. These systems help programmers create code examples, and enrich programming tutorials with context-relevant explanations of code. He has built and studied software development tools with software engineering research teams at Google and Microsoft Research as a research intern. He is supported by the NDSEG fellowship, and his work has been nominated for best paper awards at VL/HCC and CHI.