About Me

My name is Shuo Niu. I am a PhD student at Computer Science Department of Virginia Tech. My research area is human-computer interaction, focusing on collaborative technologies for sense-making activities with large social media data. My advisor is Dr. Scott McCrickard.

My research focuses on the design and implementation of groupware supporting co-located sense-making activities. Projects I led use surface technologies, machine-learning approaches and data visualization to support different types of collaborative tasks. Surface technologies provide intuitive ways for users to view and organize digital contents. My work abstracts and translates user interactions into machine-learning parameters and use visualization techniques to support collaborative information analysis.

Research Projects

See details → Collaborative Notifications and Awareness

Large-scale multi-touch displays provide highly interactive spaces for small group activities. These devices feature the ability to detect concurrent touch inputs, which enable multiple co-located collaborators to manipulate virtual spaces in myriad ways. This project explores the patterns of collaborative sense making activities with large multi-touch display.

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See details → BlogCloud: revisitng blogs with machine learning

Time-connected large blogs voluminous textual content, presenting challenges in revisiting and reflecting on experiences. Other data repositories have benefited from machine learning (ML) and interactive visualizations (VIS) to support exploration. This study explores BlogCloud which incorporates ML and VIS to support blog revisitation.

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See details → VISGRAINS: Visualizing Group Activities in Sensemaking

Collocated sensemaking benefits from organizing data representations and generating conceptual understanding. However, the large amount of scattered findings and ideas may hinder management and association of knowledge. This project examines machine learning and visualization techniques to recognize related information based on interactions of different collaborators, to scope the discussion of data and promote focused sensemaking

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See details → TweetBank

TweetBank is the front-end of GETAR project. It is a facet-based visual analytic system for exploring large tweet datasets, which is implemented with D3, Solr REST API, Jena data API, and PHP. The visualizations present the faceted data for social connections, user demographics, time stream, word cloud, and geo-locations.

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See details → Non-contact Tongue Interface

Tongue is a promising candidate to build hand free human-computer interface. In this project, we introduces a new non-contact tongue interface implemented with computer vision technology, Tongible, for people with dexterity impairment to access computer.

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See details → CS education - mobile software development

In collaboration with Andrey Esakia and Mohammed Seyam, we explore CS education methods of incorporating smart-watches and pair-programming in mobile software development courses.

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  • May 2018

    Teach CS3114 Data Structure and Algorithm for Summer18.

  • May 2018

    Passing the PhD prelim! Dissertation will focus on surface systems for collaborative sense-making.

  • Feb 2018

    Journal paper about referential techniques for tongue-interface is published at Smart Health '18.

  • Jan 2018

    Teach CS3714 for Spring 2018. First time teaching full semester course.

  • Jan 2018

    Attend Technology on the Trail workshop at GROUP'18. Present my workshop paper: How Hiking Bloggers Explore Blogs with Interactive Text Visualization.

  • Sept 2017

    Present two papers at INTERACT'17, Mumbai, India. Two papers explore awareness and notifications in collaborative sense-making with multi-user multi-touch display.

  • May 2017

    Teach CS3714 for summer school.

  • Oct 2016

    Two papers accepted by FIE '16, Erie, PA. Present one paper about "learning with interactive tabletop".


  1. Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Steve Harrison. "Investigating Notifications and Awareness for Multi-user Multi-touch Tabletop Displays." In Proc. of INTERACT 2017, Mumbai, India, 2017
  2. Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Steve Harrison. "An Observational Study of Simultaneous and Sequential Interactions in Co-located Collaboration." In Proc. of INTERACT 2017, Mumbai, India, 2017
  3. Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Sophia M. Nguyen. "Learning with interactive tabletop displays." In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2016 IEEE, pp. 1-9. IEEE, 2016.
  4. Shuo Niu, Li Liu, D. Scott McCrickard, Tongue-able Interfaces: Prototyping and Evaluating Camera Based Tongue Gesture Input System, Smart Health, Available online 12 March 2018, ISSN 2352-6483
  5. Mohammed Seyam, D. Scott McCrickard, Shuo Niu, Andrey Esakia, and Woongsup Kim. "Teaching mobile application development through lectures, interactive tutorials, and Pair Programming." In Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), 2016 IEEE, pp. 1-9. IEEE, 2016.
  6. D. Scott McCrickard, Troy D. Abel, Angela Scarpa, Yao Wang, and Shuo Niu. "Collaborative design for young children with autism: Design tools and a user study." In Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), 2015 International Conference on, pp. 175-182. IEEE, 2015.
  7. Shuo Niu, D. Scott McCrickard, and Steve Harrison. "Exploring humanoid factors of robots through transparent and reflective interactions." In Collaboration Technologies and Systems (CTS), 2015 International Conference on, pp. 47-54. IEEE, 2015.
  8. Xuan Zhang, Shuo Niu, Da Zhang, G. Alan Wang, and Weiguo Fan. "Predicting Vehicle Recalls with User-Generated Contents: A Text Mining Approach." In Pacific-Asia Workshop on Intelligence and Security Informatics, pp. 41-50. Springer International Publishing, 2015.
  9. Shuo Niu, Andrey Esakia, and Scott McCrickard. "Exploring Computer Science Topics with Programmable Smartwatches." In Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, pp. 440-440. ACM, 2015.
  10. Andrey Esakia, Shuo Niu, and D. Scott McCrickard. "Augmenting undergraduate computer science education with programmable smartwatches." In Proceedings of the 46th ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, pp. 66-71. ACM, 2015.
  11. Shuo Niu, Li Liu, and D. Scott McCrickard. "Tongue-able interfaces: evaluating techniques for a camera based tongue gesture input system." In Proceedings of the 16th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers & accessibility, pp. 277-278. ACM, 2014.
  12. Li Liu, Shuo Niu, Jingjing Ren, and Jingyuan Zhang. "Tongible: a non-contact tongue-based interaction technique." In Proceedings of the 14th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility, pp. 233-234. ACM, 2012.