Two Calit2@UCI Professors Lauded

By Anna Lynn Spitzer

Irvine, Calif., Feb. 18, 2008 -- Two UC Irvine professors affiliated with Calit2 recently received prestigious honors.

Ben Raphael

Paul Dourish, professor of informatics and past Calit2 associate director, has been named one of six new members of the CHI Academy, an honorary group of individuals who have made extensive contributions to the study of computer-human interaction. He will be recognized at the 2008 SIGCHI Awards, April 5-10, in Florence, Italy.

SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction) is part of ACM, an international organization that advances computer science. SIGCHI brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation and study of interactive computing systems for human use.

Dourish works at the intersection of computer science and social science, with a focus on computer-supported cooperative work and ubiquitous computing. His research seeks to understand and define the role of technology in social and cultural production.

His recent work has centered in particular on problems of location and privacy, specifically how people achieve social action with, around and through mobile technologies and digital media.

“It's fabulous to have received this award, and to bring the recognition to the campus,” Dourish said. “It underscores the world-class strength that we have been building in human-computer interaction at UCI. I'm hoping that this will help us go on to new strengths, attracting top-flight graduate students and faculty to our programs.”

Genome Diagram

Bill Tomlinson, assistant professor of informatics, was awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The fellowships “are intended to enhance the careers of the very best young faculty members in specified fields of science,” according to the foundation’s web site. The two-year, $50,000 award will advance Tomlinson’s research in environmental information technology, computer-supported learning, human-computer interactions and multi-agent systems.

The Sloan fellowships are awarded annually in seven fields: chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and physics. This year, a total of 118 Sloan fellowships were awarded; Tomlinson was one of only 16 computer science recipients chosen from a field of 101 nominations – the largest group of nominations in the award’s history.

"Both the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, and Calit2 have been incredibly supportive of my research over the last several years,” Tomlinson said. “This fellowship is an exciting external recognition from a major philanthropic institute, and helps give me the financial freedom to pursue even riskier projects in the future.”

He is especially excited about his work at the intersection of information technology and global environmental issues. “This field - Green IT - has a lot of really fascinating potential, both as a topic for research and also in terms of the social impact it can have."

G.P. Li, director of the Irvine division of Calit2, commended Dourish and Tomlinson for their achievements. “Paul and Bill are conducting groundbreaking computer science research that will change the way we use computers in our lives,” he said. “I’m pleased that they have been recognized for their accomplishments.”