Ben Bederson

Professor Emeritus
3171 A.V. Williams Building
(301) 405-2764
Ph.D., New York University (Computer Science)
Special Awards/Honors: 
2012 ACM Distinguished Scientist, 2012 CHI Academy, 2010 SIGCHI Social Impact Award, 2009 Digital Education Award

Benjamin B. Bederson is an emeritus professor of computer science and a past director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab and the College of Information Studies (iSchool).

Bederson's research focuses on human computation, mobile device interfaces, interaction strategies, digital libraries and children's education. He is also co-founder and chief scientist of Zumobi, a premium mobile app network.

Bederson is well-known for his work on Zoomable User Interfaces (ZUIs) since the mid-1990s, including the Pad++ and Piccolo toolkits for zoomable and structured 2-D graphics. That work led to his well-known applications around personal photo management (PhotoMesa), calendaring (DateLens), and hierarchical data visualization (SpaceTree). ZUIs have since become well-established in a wide range of domains, including maps and mobile phones.

He is also known for his work around children's educational technologies, including his notable International Children's Digital Library in collaboration with Ann Weeks and UMIACS member Allison Druin. Its website contains the largest freely available collection of children's books from around the world. It also represents the outcome of a range of research efforts, including computer-vision based applications for text readability, as well as work in translation and mobile access.

Additionally, Bederson has established himself in the area of human computation, an approach to combine human with computational effort to solve problems at a scale and quality that neither could accomplish alone. One important example of this work is his National Science Foundation and Google supported work on MonoTrans, a system that enables monolingual human speakers to collaboratively translate text.

He received his doctorate in computer science from New York University in 1992.



Bederson BB, Boltman A.  1999.  Does animation help users build mental maps of spatial information? Information Visualization, 1999.(Info Vis' 99) Proceedings. 1999 IEEE Symposium on.


Bederson BB, Meyer J.  1998.  Implementing a zooming User Interface: experience building Pad++. Software: Practice and Experience. 28(10):1101-1135.


Druin A, Stewart J, Proft D, Bederson BB, Hollan J.  1997.  KidPad: a design collaboration between children, technologists, and educators. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems.

Bederson BB, Hollan JD, Stewart J, Rogers D, Druin A, Vick D, Ring L, Grose E, Forsythe C.  1997.  A zooming web browser. Human Factors in Web Development.


Bederson BB, Hollan JD, Druin A, Stewart J, Rogers D, Proft D.  1996.  Local tools: an alternative to tool palettes. Proceedings of the 9th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology.


Bederson BB, Wallace RS, Schwartz E.  1995.  A miniaturized space-variant active vision system: Cortex-I. Machine Vision and applications. 8(2):101-109.

Furnas GW, Bederson BB.  1995.  Space-scale diagrams: understanding multiscale interfaces. Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems.


Wallace RS, Ong PW, Bederson BB, Schwartz EL.  1994.  Space variant image processing. International Journal of Computer Vision. 13(1):71-90.

Bederson BB, Wallace RS, Schwartz EL.  1994.  A miniature pan-tilt actuator: the spherical pointing motor. IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. 10(3):298-308.


Bederson BB, Wallace RS, Schwartz EL.  1993.  Control and design of the spherical pointing motor. , 1993 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 1993. Proceedings.


Bederson BB, Wallace RS, Schwartz EL.  1992.  Two miniature pan-tilt devices. Robotics and Automation, 1992. Proceedings., 1992 IEEE International Conference on.

Wallace RS, Bederson BB, Schwartz EL.  1992.  Voice-bandwidth visual communication through logmaps: the Telecortex. Applications of Computer Vision, Proceedings, 1992., IEEE Workshop on.