Plaisant Honored with IEEE Visualization Career Award

Tue Oct 27, 2020

Catherine Plaisant, a senior research scientist in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), has just received the IEEE Visualization & Graphics Technical Committee (VGTC) Visualization Career Award.

The award, established in 2004, honors one individual annually who has made significant contributions to the field of visualization through their research, over a long period of time.

Plaisant was recognized for her comprehensive body of work within the field of data visualization, including her contributions to evaluation, benchmarks and case studies, and her specific research focus on event sequence visualization.

She received the award during the IEEE VIS 2020 conference, held from October 25–30. The event is taking place entirely online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of the work by Plaisant, who also serves as the associate director of research in the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), involves research on the design and evaluation of novel user interfaces.

Her 70 journal articles, 116 conference papers, 15 book chapters and three books are the main products of her research. Along with her longtime collaborator Ben Shneiderman, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of computer science, Plaisant has co-authored the 4th, 5th and 6th editions of “Designing the User Interface,” one of the major books on the topic of human-computer interaction.

She says she is honored to receive the IEEE award, adding it is an additional recognition of the excellent work that goes on at the University of Maryland in the field of visualization.

“This award is truly a recognition of all the students and collaborators who have contributed to all my projects, made hard work more rewarding, and also made life more fun,” Plaisant says. “I am forever grateful to Ben Shneiderman for having been a supportive mentor during my early years at UMIACS, and the best research partner one can imagine for more than three decades.”

The unique multidisciplinary HCIL community has also provided a home away from home, Plaisant says, where friendship fuels teamwork and creativity.

Additionally, Plaisant recognizes the support from UMIACS in helping her research and scholarship through the years.

“UMIACS staff has provided me with a good work environment, from seamlessly managing all of our research grants in a confident and calm manner to helping with tech support,” she says.

Plaisant's award acceptance speech can be viewed here.

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld