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Research Labs & Centers

The department of Human Centered Design & Engineering has a robust agenda with notable breadth supported by 24 faculty working with their students in 15 labs and two centers.

Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience (CoSSaR)

The Center for Collaborative Systems for Security, Safety, and Regional Resilience, directed by Dr. Mark Haselkorn, is a multi-disciplinary environment where professionals from a wide range of entities (Federal, State, County, City, Tribal, International, Public and Private) team with university experts to align strategies, processes and investments in systems for security, safety and resilience.

Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching (CELT)

The Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching, directed by Dr. Cindy Atman, focuses on two synergistic activities: research on engineering education and improving engineering teaching through instructional development.

Communicative Practices in Virtual Workspaces (CommPrac) Laboratory

The Communicative Practices in Virtual Workspaces Laboratory, directed by Dr. Mark Zachry, investigates emergent uses of digital technologies to coordinate work activities. Research topics include uses of shared web services for the conduct of distributed work, visualizations of work activity mediated by online contributor systems, and automated detection of social behaviors based on language use in online systems.

Computer Supported Collaboration (CSC) Laboratory

The Computer Supported Collaboration Laboratory, directed by Dr. Charlotte Lee, conducts research to inform the design of information systems for collaboration. Researchers investigate the development and use of information infrastructures in science and engineering, and the relationship between changes in practice and changes in technology.

Computing for Healthy Living and Learning (CHiLL) Laboratory

The Computing for Healthy Living and Learning Laboratory, directed by Dr. Julie Kientz, designs and develops mobile, persuasive, and collaborative technologies that help individuals, families, and teachers record and review their educational and health goals.

The Data Ecologies Lab (DeLAB)

The Data Ecologies Lab, directed by Dr. David Ribes, focuses on the sociotechnical organizations that support scientific practices, studying the ways that data inhabit heterogeneous, interlinked spaces through the use of data science ethnography and other digital ethnographic methods.

Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation (emCOMP) Laboratory

The Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation Laboratory, directed by Dr. Kate Starbird, examines the dynamics of and applications for massive interaction facilitated by social media and other online platforms. Focusing on specific events and issues that bring people together on a large scale, researchers both examine the flow of interactions and explore possibilities for applying online participation to problem-solving on a massive or even global scale.

Human Centered Data Science (HCDS) Laboratory

The Human Centered Data Science Lab, directed by Dr. Cecilia Aragon, conducts research on human-computer interaction in scientific collaborations, collaborative creativity, cyberinfrastructure, eScience, information visualization, and how social media and computer-mediated communication are changing scientific practice.

Inclusive Design Laboratory 

The Inclusive Design Lab, directed by Dr. Leah Findlater, focuses on lowering barriers to technology use and information access for users with a range of physical, sensory, and cognitive abilities. 

Intentional Traces Collective

Researchers in the Intentional Traces Collective, directed by Dr. Sean Munson, examine ways people generate and use personal data and how it affects their understanding of themselves, others, and the world around them. Focus areas include personal informatics, personal data in health collaborations, digital well-being, and the traces captured by smart home devices and other Internet of Things technologies.


Named after the Urdu word for revolution Inquilab, we are a research lab lead by scholar/activist and assistant professor Dr. Sucheta Ghoshal. Inquilab is hosted at the Human-Centered Design and Engineering Department of University of Washington.

Laboratory for Human-Centered Engineering Education

The Laboratory for Human-Centered Engineering Education, directed by Dr. Jennifer Turns, focuses on applying the practices of user-centered and human-centered design to the challenges of helping engineering students learn more effectively and helping engineering educators teach more effectively.

Machine Agency

Machine Agency, directed by Dr. Nadya Peek, explores harnessing the precision of machines for the creativity of individuals.

Prosocial Computing Laboratory

The Prosocial Computing Laboratory, directed by Dr. Gary Hsieh, focuses on the study, design, and development of technologies that enable people to interact in ways that are efficient and welfare-improving.

Social Computational Systems Lab (SoCS)

The Social Computational Systems Lab, directed by Dr. David McDonald, focuses on the design and implementation of systems that support large-scale collaboration.

Tactile and Tactical (TAT) Design Laboratory

At the Tactile and Tactical (TAT) Design Laboratory, co-directed by Drs. Beth Kolko and Daniela Rosner, we engage in design and participatory inquiry to re-imagine collective futures. Responding to the entangled troubles of advanced capitalism, climate crises, and systemic inequities, we embark on projects that put acts of place making in conversation with accountability, authenticity, sustainability, and care. We contribute to systems and technologies for people and communities that help build worlds infused with access, equity, and joy.