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Distinguished Lecture

Interaction and Infrastructure: Taking a Human-Centered View on Networking

Keith EdwardsProfessor Georgia Institute of Technology

We often think of the "user experience" as being an application layer concern, something that can be applied in a thin veneer of menus and graphics atop a software and hardware infrastructure. In this talk I'd like to challenge that notion, to argue that concerns of interactive experience reach (or should reach) deep into the infrastructure stack. While tensions between interaction and infrastructure show up throughout computing, in this talk I will focus specifically on examples that arise from what I will call human-centered networking.?What if, in addition to "traditional" concerns such as scalability, latency, and so forth, we approached networking from human-centered perspectives, such as understandability, maintainability, and installability? In this talk I'll argue for how the existing networking infrastructure impacts the interactive experience of networking, and argue for why networking should be a domain for HCI research. I will also present an overview of my group's work in this area, focusing especially on networking in the home. I will discuss a number of projects, including a new type of network appliance that aids in network provisioning, collection and analysis of empirical data around home network usability problems, work in end user-centric network visualization, and some explorations into new form factors and capabilities for home network equipment.
W. Keith Edwards is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Computing within Georgia Tech's College of Computing. His research focuses on bringing HCI perspectives to core computing concerns such as networking, information security, and middleware for ubiquitous computing environments. Prior to joining the faculty at Georgia Tech he was Principal Scientist at Xerox PARC, where he also managed the Ubiquitous Computing group and contributed toward the commercialization of several key technologies. He is the author of two books on Sun's Jini distributed computing framework, over 50 refereed research papers, and is the author of almost four dozen US and International patents either granted or pending.

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