Ben S.

Ben Shneiderman

The Interaction Design Foundation
| Denmark


Ben Shneiderman is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, and Member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park. He has taught previously at the State University of New York and at Indiana University. He was made a Fellow of the ACM in 1997, elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2001, and received the ACM CHI (Computer Human Interaction) Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2010: "For research, software development, and scholarly texts concerning human-computer interaction and information visualization." He was the Co-Chair of the ACM Policy 98 Conference, May 1998 and is the Founding Chair of the ACM Conference on Universal Usability, November 16-17, 2000. Ben Shneiderman's interest in creativity support tools led to organizing the June 2005 NSF workshop and to chairing the June 2007 Conference on Creativity & Cognition.

Dr. Shneiderman is the author of Software Psychology: Human Factors in Computer and Information Systems (1980). His comprehensive text Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction (1st edition 1987, 2nd edition 1992, 3rd edition 1998, booksite Addison-Wesley Publishers, Reading, MA), came out in its 4th edition in April 2004 with Catherine Plaisant as co-author. The Fifth edition appeared in March 2009. His 1989 book, co-authored with Greg Kearsley, Hypertext Hands-On!, contains a hypertext version on two disks. He is the originator of the Hyperties hypermedia system, which was produced by Cognetics Corp., Princeton Junction, NJ.

Since 1991 his major focus has been information visualization, beginning with his dynamic queries and starfield display research that led to the development of Spotfire (Christopher Ahlberg, CEO). He was a Member of the of the Board of Directors (1996-2001). Spotfire grew to 200 employees and during Summer 2007 was bought by TIBCO. Dr. Shneiderman developed the treemap concept in 1991 which continues to inspire research and commercial implementations. The University of Maryland's Treemap 4.0, developed in cooperation with Catherine Plaisant, has been licensed by the HiveGroup, and remains available for educational and research purposes. Dr. Shneiderman remains as a Technical Advisor for the Hivegroup and he was a Computer Science Advisor (1999-2002) to Smartmoney which implemented the widely used MarketMap for stock market analyses.

Later information visualization work includes the LifeLines project for exploring a patient history, and its successor project, PatternFinder, which enables search across electronic medical records.We introduced the Align-Rank-Filter approach to temporal event data exploration and added group analysis features in LifeLines2. Searching for patterns in numerical time series data was enabled by three versions of TimeSearcher, which was applied for stock market, auction, genomic, weather, and other data.The Hierarchical Clustering Explorer supports discovery of features in multi-dimensional data, especially for gene expression data, using the powerful rank-by-feature framework.

Three current projects focus on network visualization: Network Visualization by Semantic Substrates, SocialAction, and NodeXL.These tools are being applied for citation analysis and social network analysis, especially for the iOpener project, STICK (Science Technology Innovation Concept Knowledge-base), and ManyNets (explore & visualize many networks at once) projects. The book Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World will be published in summer 2010. A new direction is based on applying social media to national priorities such as the article in Science, which led to work on emergency and disaster response: Community Response Grids. Raising awareness of the need for expanded research was accomplished by the April 2009 meeting that led to the iParticipate report and then two U.S. National Science Foundation supported workshops on Technology-Mediated Social Participation.

He is as Member of the Board of Scientific Counselors Meeting - National Library of Medicine Lister Hill Center, the National Academies Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals, and the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Networking and Information Technology Technical Advisory Group (TAG). He is on the State of the USA Product Advisory Group and a member of the Web Science Research Initiative Advisory Committee.

In addition he has co-authored two textbooks, edited three technical books, published more than 200 technical papers and book chapters. His 1993 edited book Sparks of Innovation in Human-Computer Interaction collects 25 papers from the past 10 years of research at the University of Maryland. In 1999 he co-authored Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think with Stu Card and Jock Mackinlay, then in 2003 continued in this direction by co-authoring The Craft of Information Visualization: Readings and Reflections with Ben Bederson. Ben Shneiderman's vision of the future is presented in his October 2002 book Leonardo's Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies, won the IEEE 2003 award for Distinguished Literary Contribution. Leonardo's Laptop has been published in Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese editions.

Ben Shneiderman has been on the Editorial Advisory Boards of nine journals including the ACM Transactions on Computer- Human Interaction and the ACM Interactions. He edited the Ablex Publishing Co. book series on "Human-Computer Interaction." He has consulted and lectured for many organizations including Apple, AT&T, Citicorp, GE, Honeywell, IBM, Intel, Library of Congress, Microsoft, NASA, NCR, and university research groups.

Dr. Shneiderman's early work included database research including performance and index optimization. He is also known in software engineering, especially for his widely used innovation of structured flowcharts, commonly known as Nassi-Shneiderman Diagrams. He teaches popular short courses on information visualization and has organized an annual satellite television presentation on User Interface Strategies seen by thousands of professionals from 1987 to 1997.

An important component of his work has been related to photography, including development of the Photofinder and PhotoMesa tools. His devotion to photography includes a long history of photographing professional events, which has resulted in the 3300 photos at the ACM SIGCHI PhotoHistory and the Univ. of Maryland Dept. of Computer Science PhotoHistory. The March/April 2007 issue of ACM Interactions has an 8-page portfolio of 100+ photos from the 25-year history of ACM CHI conferences.

Ben Shneiderman's devotion to photography is inspired by his uncle David Seymour (1911-1956), a world-famous photojournalist, whose biography is shown in web sites that Dr. Shneiderman helped design. The International Center of Photography hosts two of them ( and a third web site has current information on exhibits and publications ( Another family connection is the web site about his parents work, tied to the Univ. of Maryland's S.L. and Eileen Shneiderman Collection of Yiddish Books.

Ben Shneiderman's biography appears in Marquis's Who's Who in America and Who's Who in Science and Technology. He is listed among the top 1000 creative people in the USA in the book: 1000: Richard Wurman's Who's Really Who (2002).