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Past Winner
2012 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships

Sheelagh Carpendale

Computer Science

University of Calgary

Sheelagh Carpendale
Sheelagh Carpendale

As the world shifts to a knowledge society, we often find ourselves struggling to keep pace with new interactive technologies and to harness their potential for good in our lives. Successful products must ensure that people are not overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of digital information and can easily interact with the technology.

Computer scientist Sheelagh Carpendale is at the forefront of efforts being made to ensure information technology devices serve the people who use them in practical, intuitive ways that support everyday work and socialization. Her work has earned her a 2012 E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from NSERC.

Dr. Carpendale draws on her broad interdisciplinary research expertise,—including fine arts, psychology, ethnography, information visualization and human computer interaction—to enable the design of innovative, people-centred information technologies. By studying how people interact with information, images, technology and each other, she designs more natural, accessible and understandable visual representations of data.

Her research team is one of the few in the world developing interactive tabletop display applications, which receive input through natural human actions, rather than a mouse, keyboard or special input device. Her partnership with Calgary-based SMART Technologies has influenced the development of their interactive whiteboards, and has prompted SMART Technologies to include interactive tabletops as part of their multi-touch displays now being used in classrooms and offices around the world. The collaboration continues, as evidenced by a recent patent application of three-dimensional, tabletop interaction techniques invented by Dr. Carpendale and her research group. Other companies, including Boeing, Idelix, Intel, MERL and Microsoft Research, are also taking note of her work.

An internationally renowned and award-winning leader in information visualization and multi-touch tabletop interaction, Dr. Carpendale currently holds the NSERC/AITF/SMART Industrial Research Chair in Interactive Technologies and the Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization.