Bill Buxton Award

Daniel Vogel

2010 Bill Buxton Best Canadian HCI Dissertation Award

This inaugural year has two recipients for the best doctoral dissertation completed at a Canadian university in the field of Human-Computer Interaction: Daniel Vogel and Garth Shoemaker.

Two recipients for this award is not the norm. However, we (the selection committee) were compelled to award a ‘tie’. Essentially, we thought other PhD students could benefit by reading both theses as they are quite different in approach, scope and perspective. Yet in spite of these differences, they share much that makes them award-worthy. They both make significant contributions to HCI. They both exhibit the range of skills expected of an excellent researcher in Human Computer Interaction: creativity and design, ability to conduct rigourous studies, technological prowess, intellectual thought, and literary competence.

Daniel Vogel’s thesis Direct Pen Input and Hand Occlusion is an example of a highly rigorous, systematic and very thorough investigation into hand occlusion. It investigates the largely overlooked problem of a user’s hand blocking the display when using a direct input device such as a pen. His work reveals the many problems that arise from hand occlusion, particularly how it affects target selection. Daniel developed a sophisticated geometrical model to represent the shape of the occluded area, and introduced novel techniques that mitigated this problem via occlusion-aware interfaces. His work exhibits considerable attention to details, to visual presentation of results, and to novel methodologies for study design, logging, and analysis.

Daniel completed his BA in Computer Science & Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario, his BFA Intermedia at Emily Carr, and his MSc and PhD in Computer Science at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Ravin Balakrishnan. He is well published, including best paper awards and nominations at various high-end HCI conferences. He is a patent holder, and also received various Fellowships and Scholarships (including NSERC). He is now an Adjunct Professor at Mount Allison University.

The award is named in honour of Bill Buxton, a Canadian pioneer who has done much to promote excellence, both within Canada and internationally, in the field of Human-Computer Interaction. Bill truly advocates HCI. He challenges how academics and practitioners think, and inspires them to do things differently. This is why we are proud to name this award after him.

The winning thesis is selected through a juried process by a selection committee consisting of accomplished researchers in Human Computer Interaction. This year, that jury was Drs. Saul Greenberg (U. Calgary), Carl Gutwin (U. Saskatchewan), and Pourang Irani (U. Manitoba).