Research Themes

Work in AI and creativity at the SIAT iViz Lab.

Research by faculty and students at SIAT is notable for its interdisciplinary focus on applied and use-inspired research, as well as collaboration with other researchers and external partners.  We are boundary crossers, developing new research approaches and methodologies to explore the possibilities created by the design of technology for humans.

Integration of research themes

Research at SIAT is characterized by interdisciplinary foundations, human-centered design, and the building of rich media. It does not cleanly fall in to traditional categories, but rather seeks to create new knowledge at the intersection of art and science.

Many of our faculty draw from multiple traditions to accomplish new synergistic research at the confluence of disciplines, for example, visual analytics (involves people and interactive computing), participatory design (involves people and design, digital media (involves interactive computing and media), and parametric design (involves interactive computing and design).

Graduate students should expect to interact with colleagues with different backgrounds and a range of expertise.

Chronoscope. Project by Amy Chen, William Odom, Ce Zhong, Henry Lin, and Tal Amram.

An overview of research at SIAT

While interdisciplinary often refers to closely related disciplines, here we refer to much broader forms of interdisciplinary research:

Research areas

Interactive Computing

Within this area, SIAT faculty members tend to emphasize interactive computing and computer science more strongly in their work, aiming their publication efforts towards more technical journals and conferences along with distributing software to receptors or the public.

Researchers work within the specializations of visual analytics, human-computer interaction, artificial intelligence, tangible interfaces, virtual reality, game design and technology, educational technology, and other related themes.


Research in this area is characterized by its interest in interactive media and digital media technologies. Within this area SIAT faculty members tend to emphasize the Studio tradition in their work, aiming their dissemination efforts towards gallery shows and performances, often with a twinned effort at publication in the archival literature. Although each faculty member works within their own chosen medium, each shares a common basis of computer-mediated expression as central to their practice.

Researchers in this area work in the specializations of performance technology, interactive animation, interactive environments and installations, game narrative, film and video, audio/music, digital curation, and other related themes.


Research in the Design area is characterized by faculty interest in interaction, with two broad approaches: a) design of digital artefacts/systems for contexts other than work (including the home, play, child development, pain management, sustainability and indigenous cultural heritage), and b) tools for design and analysis. The dissemination strategy of these researchers takes place along three tracks: publication in the broad HCI literature, publication in the application domain, and creation of demonstrable design artefacts suitable for use by the intended user community.

Researchers in this area work in the specializations of parametric design, sustainable design, interaction design, game design, museum design, design for children and the elderly, and other related themes.


Research in the People area is characterized by the study of the human experience in technology-rich environments. Some projects apply laboratory methods from cognitive and experimental psychology to understand perception, cognition, and emotional responses of individuals as they are influenced by visual information systems. Others take a sociological or anthropological approach, using ethnographic methods and grounded theory to examine communication, collaboration, and cultural practices in organizations and society.

Researchers may also combine these approaches to create new ways of studying the interaction of technology and people. Results can be found in publications in the application domain and in the journals and conferences of their respective fields. These include papers in cognitive and perceptual psychology, history, anthropology and ethnography of media, human-computer interaction, learning analytics, education, visual analytics, emergency management, chronic pain management, and health data management.

Science of Interaction

Science of Interaction researchers use the scientific method to develop and test theories of human perceptual, cognitive, interactive, and communicative performance. Informed by scientific theory and findings, they design and prototype interactive systems and thoroughly evaluate them in their context of use.

Results are published in the fields of psychology, computer science and human computer interaction as well as the application domains in which these systems are built and studied. These include visual analytics, health care, computer aided design, learning analytics, emergency management and sustainability.