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Seminar: Improving User Involvement Through Live Collaborative Creation

Sang Won Lee

Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech

Friday, September 21, 2018
11:15am - 12:15pm
2150 Torgersen Hall


Creating an artifact, such as writing a book, developing software, or performing a piece of music, is often limited to those with domain-specific experience or training. As a consequence, effectively involving non-expert end users in such creative processes is challenging. This work explores how computational systems can facilitate collaboration, communication, and participation in the context of involving users in the process of creating artifacts while mitigating the challenges inherent to such processes. In particular, the interactive systems presented in this work support live collaboration, in which artifact users participate in the collaborative process of creating the artifact with creators. In the systems that I have explored, the level of immediate and continuous visibility of the creative process to users constitutes liveness in applications such as programming, writing, music performance, and UI design. Liveness help preserve our natural expressivity, support real-time communication, and facilitate participation in the creative process. Live collaboration is beneficial for users and creators alike: making the process of creation visible encourages users to engage in the process and to better understand the final artifact. Additionally, creators can receive immediate feedback in a continuous closed loop with users. Through these interactive systems, non-expert participants can collaborate to create such artifacts as GUI prototypes, software, and musical performances. However, live collaboration in which users participate in creating an artifact poses challenges of scaffolding a collaborative environment in limited time and allowing non-expert users to be part of the creation process, which may require domain expertise. This dissertation explores three topics: (1) the challenges inherent to collaborative creation in live settings, and computational tools that address them; (2) methods for reducing the barrier of entry to live collaboration; and (3) approaches to preserve liveness in the creative process, affording creators more expressivity in making artifacts and users access to information only available in realtime process.


Dr. Lee Sang Won Lee received the Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering in 2018 from the University of Michigan. His work lies at the intersection of Human-computer Interaction and computer music. His research aims to bring the collaborative live nature of music making to computational systems by developing interactive systems that facilitate real-time collaboration in creative tasks. His work explores how to computationally mediate musical collaboration and enable novel musical expression. More broadly, he has applied the findings from interactive music to applications in a variety of fields, including crowdsourcing, design, writing, and programming. These systems help people collaboratively create artifacts and have liveness in their collaborative process with other people. He holds a Diploma in Industrial Engineering from the Seoul National University and an M.S. degree in Music Technology from Georgia Tech. He has been an active author in top-tier computer music conferences like New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), as well as broader Human-computer interaction venues like ACM UIST and ACM CHI. In addition to academic research publications, he has also presented his research in the form of music performances in peer- reviewed venues such as NIME, Art-CHI, and ICMC, and is a winner of the International Computer Music Association - Music Award 2016 for his composition, Live Writing: Gloomy Streets.