Cecilia Aragon

2016 Seminar Series

Why Humans Should Care About Data Science

Extraordinary advances in our ability to acquire and generate data are transforming the fundamental nature of discovery across domains. Much of the research in data science has focused on automated methods of analyzing data such as machine learning and new database techniques. Less attention has been directed to the human aspects of data science, including how to build interactive tools that maximize creativity and human insight, and the ethics and societal factors involved in the next generation of data science discoveries. In this talk, Dr. Aragon will argue for the importance of a human centered approach to data science as necessary for the success of 21st century discovery. Further, she attests that we need to go beyond well-designed user interfaces for data science software tools to consider the entire ecosystem of software development and use: we need to study people interacting with technology as socio-technical systems, where both technical and social approaches are interwoven. Aragon will discuss promising research in this area, introduce the new Master's Degree in Data Science at UW, and speculate upon future directions for data science.

About Cecilia Aragon

Cecilia Aragon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering and a member of the eScience Institute at the University of Washington. She directs the Scientific Collaboration & Creativity Laboratory. Previously, she was a computer scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for six years, after earning her PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 2004. She earned her BS in Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology. She and her students develop collaborative visual analytics tools to facilitate data science, and study current scientific practice around large and complex data sets. Her research interests span human-computer interaction, computer supported cooperative work, visual analytics, information visualization, scientific collaborations, usability and sustainability, collaborative games, distributed creativity, distributed affect, social media, and new methods of computer-mediated communication. In 2009, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her work in collaborative data-intensive science.