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HCDE Professors Cecilia Aragon and Sean Munson named Distinguished Members of the ACM

Leah Pistorius
December 15, 2021

Human Centered Design & Engineering Professors Cecilia Aragon and Sean Munson are named Distinguished Members of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for their outstanding scientific contributions to computing.

The ACM Distinguished Member program recognizes up to 10 percent of ACM worldwide membership based on professional experience as well as significant achievements in the computing field. Aragon and Munson are among 63 researchers worldwide to be recognized in 2021. They become the second and third HCDE faculty to receive this honor, joining HCDE Professor & Chair Julie Kientz who was recognized in 2020.

Cecilia Aragon, Professor in the University of Washington's Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering

Dr. Cecilia Aragon is recognized for her research contributions to multiple computational areas related to processing large datasets. Aragon's research focuses on human-centered data science—enabling humans to explore and gain insights from vast data sets. Aragon was the architect for Sunfall, a collaborative visual analytics system for supernova astrophysics. She also co-invented treap, a binary search tree in which each node has both a key and a priority, and the randomized search tree, which uses random priorities in treaps to achieve good average-case performance. Aragon and her collaborators conducted the first extensive evaluation of the simulated annealing algorithm in combinatorial optimization problems. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Washington Research Foundation, the UW Center for Commercialization, Microsoft, and Intel. 

Sean Munson, Associate Professor in the University of Washington's Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering

Dr. Sean Munson is recognized for his research contributions in social and collaborative health technologies. His research has focused on personal health data and its use individually and in collaborations with their support networks, with peers, and with experts such as their doctors or coaches. He has been supported by funding from industry, the National Institutes of Health, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, and the National Science Foundation, including an NSF CAREER Award and an National Institute of Mental Health P50 Center. Munson's work has directly informed the design of major health platforms from Apple and Fitbit, putting designs informed by his group’s research in the hands (and on the wrists) of around a billion people. Across his research, teaching, and service, Munson advocates for applying perspectives from human centered design to improve the design and evaluation of sociotechnical systems. 

Read the press release from the ACM: ACM Recognizes 2021 Distinguished Members for Pivotal Educational, Engineering and Scientific Contributions.