7th Summer School on Computational Interaction brings together human-computer interaction scholars from around the world

The University of Michigan hosted the seventh annual installment of the summer school, supporting the next generation of HCI researchers through applied skills training and lectures from thought leaders.

Early-career researchers in human-computer interaction (HCI) from across the globe came together at the University of Michigan this week for the 7th Summer School on Computational Interaction. The annual summer school is hosted at a different institution each year and provides students with hands-on training from top scholars in the field, teaching them the latest computational methods and how they can be used to design, optimize, and evaluate user interfaces.

Picture of Dr. Q Vera Liao giving a lecture to a full audience
The Summer School’s keynote speaker, Dr. Q. Vera Liao, gives a lecture on the human-centered AI transparency.

Taking place from June 19-23, the 7th summer school was a truly international event, drawing PhD candidates and postdocs specializing in HCI from around the world. The institutions represented included Harvard University, University of Chicago, University of Glasgow, University of Toronto, Aarhus University (Denmark), the Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia), and more.

“The goal of the summer school,” said Nikola Banovic, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at U-M, “is to provide up-and-coming researchers in HCI with applied skills training from leading scholars in this area, as well as to foster an environment of global collaboration and community that we hope will permeate the field.”

A group of students and faculty stand in front of posters on stands discussing their research
The Summer School opened with a poster session, where participants presented and learned about each other’s research.

The summer school launched with a poster session, where participants shared their respective research projects. The first day of the summer school also featured a keynote presentation by Dr. Q. Vera Liao, Principal Researcher at Microsoft, titled “Human-Centered AI Transparency: Lessons Learned and Open Questions in the Age LLMs.” Dr. Liao spoke about the importance, challenges, and implications of designing transparent, understandable AI, particularly in the context of large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT.

The lecture was followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Liao alongside co-panelists Benjamin Kuipers, professor of computer science and engineering at U-M, and Christopher Brooks, assistant professor in the School of Information at U-M. The panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Banovic.

Picture of panel featured Nikola Banovic (left), Q Ver Liao, Ben Kuipers, and Christopher Brooks who is speaking into a microphone
Panelists (from right) Christopher Brooks, Ben Kuipers, and Q. Vera Liao, with moderator Nikola Banovic (left)

Subsequent lectures given throughout the weeklong summer school featured other influential figures in the HCI field, including Alexandra Ion, assistant professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science; Bereket A. Yilma, Research Associate in the Computational Interaction (COIN) research group at the University of Luxembourg; David Lindlbauer, assistant professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and leader of the Augmented Perception Lab at Carnegie Mellon University; Per Ola Kristensson, professor of Interactive Systems Engineering in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge; and CSE’s Prof. Banovic. 

In addition to the week’s lectures and training sessions, the summer school featured “lightning talks” from CSE researchers, including PhD students Sarah Jabbour and Anjali Singh and postdoctoral researcher Somayeh Molaei. These talks allowed participants to learn about some of the innovative projects being undertaken at CSE.

In all, the summer school provided participants with the unique opportunity to network with their peers from elite institutions around the world, as well as learn applied skills in computational methods from top researchers in the field that will propel them forward in their careers.

“We were honored to have been selected to host the summer school and to have been a part of this initiative,” said Prof. Banovic. “Our hope is that it will facilitate cross-institutional collaboration and idea-sharing among the next generation of HCI researchers.”