CS welcomes Professor Andruid Kerne
CS welcomes Professor Andruid Kerne Heading link
Professor Andruid Kerne has joined UIC Computer Science from the National Science Foundation and Texas A&M University. Working at the intersection of human-centered computing and creative endeavors, Kerne treats computing as a means of expression. This fall, he is teaching CS 522, Human-Computer Interaction.
Before joining UIC, he spent two decades at Texas A&M, where he served as professor of computer science and engineering and director of the Interface Ecology Lab, a research group he established in 2002. The lab “investigates the future of human expression, focusing on creativity, play, participation, teaching and learning, and inclusion.”
Using design, sensory interface systems, AI, and algorithms, Kerne and his team develop tools, games, social networks, collections, installations, and performances that incorporate computation. He is drawn to blending fields, humans, and technologies. The Interface Ecology Lab has developed a series of tools for people to collect and assemble web information by combining visual, multimedia, and traditional textual forms: LiveMache, IdeaMache, InfoComposer, combinFormation, and CollageMachine. These tools have been used on creative assignments by over 9,000 students in 13 departments at six universities.
Kerne has long straddled both the creative and computational worlds. His background includes varied endeavors, from working as a senior software engineer in computer vision for NASA on the Mars Pathfinder project, to spending a year in West Africa, studying traditional dancing and drumming, and working with Ghanaian artists on a piece for the Pan African Theater Festival.
Kerne holds a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and electronic media from Harvard University, a master’s degree in music composition from Wesleyan University, and a PhD in computer science from New York University.
“I used to do this bimodal thing, where I would make money programming, with little power about for who and what, then do more meaningful work, for free. When I began my PhD studies, I wanted to find a more integrated approach, combining the two,” Kerne said. “Working as researcher and educator in human-computer interaction enables me to address that directly.”
While in his last years at Texas A&M, Kerne served as program director for the National Science Foundation, where he co-directed research funding programs in human-centered computing, technologies for teaching and learning, the future of work, and ethical research.
“Computing has always been a part of my life,” Kerne said. “Computing is not necessarily beneficial to humanity, but I want to believe that it can be. I made a commitment to myself that my involvement with computing will further that.”
Kerne was drawn to UIC for its urban setting, emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and opportunities to work with Chicago’s organizations to innovate ways that computing can serve the local community. At Texas A&M, Kerne began work on diversity and inclusion after teaching a capstone course that included project work that frustrated some of his female and minority students. In response, to improve the learning environment, he initiated participatory workshops called Teamwork: Gender + Race.
“I’m looking to support, teach, and advise a wide range of students, in diverse aspects of computing,” Kerne said. “I work with students to integrate discoveries of new knowledge with good impacts for people and humanity.”