The 2017 CHCCS/SCDHM Achievement Award of the Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society is presented to Dr. Kori Inkpen for her many contributions to the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), especially her work on collaboration technologies.
Kori Inkpen is a Principal Researcher and Research Manager at Microsoft Research (MSR). After completing her B.Sc. in Computer Science & Mathematics in 1992 at Dalhousie University, she obtained a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1997 from the University of British Columbia and then held a one-year NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Human Interface Technology Laboratory at the University of Washington. She became a faculty member in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University in 1998 before moving to Dalhousie University in 2002 as Associate Professor and later Professor in the Faculty of Computer Science. In 2008, she joined Microsoft Research where she has held a number of positions. She currently manages the neXus group that explores Social Computing, Computer-Supported Collaborative Work, and Information Visualization.
Throughout her career, Kori’s work has been characterized by her focus on designing and evaluating computer tools to support collaborative activity and her persistent mentorship of younger researchers. Her doctoral research was a key component of the Electronic Games for Education in Math and Science (E-GEMS) Project. She studied how computer game technology could be used to encourage young children to learn about mathematics and science by playing games together and how subtle changes in the user interface could affect the nature of the collaboration, especially when the affect was different for girls and boys. This began a long-term interest in working with children to better understand their use of technology, both to provide insights into how best to design user interfaces for children, but also to understand how insights gained from watching children explore technology might inform the design of technology for adults. During her doctoral research, she also began mentoring students, especially young women interested in computer science, something she has continued to do throughout her career.
As a new junior faculty member at Simon Fraser, she formed the Edge Lab, re-establishing a strong HCI research presence within the School of Computing Science. She and her students conducted research on a range of important emerging topics that have since become mainstream areas within the field of HCI, including further work with technology for children, early explorations of single-display groupware, and studies of the social aspects of multi-user tabletop collaboration and collaboration across mobile devices. Three of her SFU Edge Lab students are now HCI faculty members at Canadian universities. At Dalhousie, where she re-incarnated the Edge Lab, she expanded her research to look at a variety of interaction techniques for large wall-mounted and tabletop displays, issues of privacy and security specific to collaboration technology, and novel approaches to heterogeneous multi-display environments that integrate collaboration activity using personal hand-held and larger shared displays. Again, several of the students who worked with her in the Dalhousie Edge Lab have since gone on to careers as HCI research faculty in Canadian universities.
After joining the staff at Microsoft Research, Dr. Inkpen’s research shifted from focusing on co-location collaboration to exploring support for remote collaboration. She has continued to look at collaboration technology for children but also focuses on collaboration in the workplace, in the home, and in the general consumer space. She has examined factors affecting the success of video conferencing tools such as gaze, replay, spatialized audio, avatars, and embodied proxies, and has numerous contributions demonstrating the benefit of these advances. Beyond just improving today’s videoconferencing systems, Dr. Inkpen has explored ways to move beyond traditional talking heads videoconferencing to support rich shared experiences and she has explored ways that people can attend events together, watch TV together, and go shopping together. More recently she has been investigating the potential of live video streaming to connect people in new ways. She has also assessed collaboration technology aimed at supporting social engagement for healthcare, learning, entertainment, and leisure time activities. In addition to her many research achievements, she has continued her mentoring activities at MSR include hosting graduate, undergraduate, and high school interns within her research project teams.
Kori has been very active in efforts to support women in computing and in a number of initiatives to increase opportunities for Canadian HCI researchers to engage with each other. She organized the first “Imposter Syndrome” panel at the ACM Grace Hopper 2009 conference, which became a frequent event at Grace Hopper and has now extended beyond the initial panel to many different activities and events focused on women in technology. Kori was a founding member of the Network for Effective Collaboration Technologies through Advanced Research (NECTAR), an NSERC-funded strategic research network (2004-2008) that brought together researchers from six Canadian universities to focus on next-generation collaboration tools. She has been a regular participant in the annual Graphics Interface since 1997 when she presented her first paper, and has contributed to the conference in a number of ways: Program Committee Member for GI 2000, Local Arrangements Co-Chair for GI 2003, HCI Program Co-Chair for GI 2005, and Keynote Speaker for GI 2016.
Dr. Inkpen has published over 100 scientific papers in journals and conferences. She has been named in 20 patents that have been granted or are under review. She is a frequent invited keynote speaker at international conferences and has held numerous senior roles on conference program committees and organizing committees.
When not at work, Kori enjoys spending time with her family and friends, playing sports and travelling. She can often be found watching her daughter Gabi play volleyball, hanging out at the hockey rink with her son Declan, or at the gym with Lorenzo. Her favorite place to relax is at her cottage in Nova Scotia where she spends time every summer with her family.