Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Software Engineering
Gregory D. Abowd is Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern in March 2021, he was a Regents’ Professor and held the J.Z. Liang Chair in the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also served as Associate Dean of Research and Space for the College of Computing. Abowd is an internationally renowned and highly cited scientist, well known for his contributions in the general area of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and specifically for his groundbreaking research in ubiquitous computing.
In more than 26 years at Georgia Tech, Dr. Abowd initiated bold and innovative research efforts, such as Classroom 2000 and the Aware Home, as well as pioneering innovations in autism and technology, health systems, CampusLife, and a joint initiative with engineering in computational materials. He was on the founding editorial board of IEEE Pervasive Computing Magazine, and was founding Editor-in-Chief of Foundations and Trends in HCI and The Proceedings of the ACM in Interactive, Mobile, Wearable, and Ubiquitous Technologies. He also founded the non-profit Atlanta Autism Consortium in 2008 to serve and unite the various stakeholder communities in Atlanta connected to autism research and services.
Dean Abowd’s contributions to the fields of Human-Computer Interaction and Ubiquitous Computing have been recognized through numerous awards. In 2008, he was named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. That same year, he was inducted into the ACM CHI Academy, the most prestigious honor for researchers in HCI. In 2009, he received the ACM Eugene Lawler Humanitarian Award for his work in autism and technology. As of 2020, he graduated 30 Ph.D. students, 20 of whom have gone on to successful careers at top universities around the world.
Dr. Abowd received the degree of B.S. in Honors Mathematics in 1986 from the University of Notre Dame. He then attended the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom on a Rhodes Scholarship, earning the degrees of M.Sc. (1987) and D.Phil. (1991) in Computation from the Programming Research Group in the Computing Laboratory. From 1989-1992 he was a Research Associate/Postdoc with the Human-Computer Interaction Group in the Department of Computer Science at the University of York in England. From 1992-1994, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Software Engineering Institute and the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University.
- D.Phil, Computation, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 1991
- MSc, Computation, University of Oxford, United Kingdom 1987
- BS, Mathematics, University of Notre Dame 1986
Honors & Awards
- 2009 ACM Eugene Lawler Humanitarian Award
- 2008 ACM Fellow
- 2008 ACM SIGCHI Academy, Elected
- 2007 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award
- 2002 Selected to attend National Academy of Engineering Symposium on Frontiers in Engineering, Irvine, CA.
- 1997 NSF CAREER award recipient
- IEEE Computer Society
- ACM SIGSOFT
- ACM SIGCHI
- Phi Beta Kappa
Human-Computer Interaction, Ubiquitous Computing, Software Engineering
Dr. Abowd’s research interests lie in the intersection between Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction. Specifically, he is interested in ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) and the research issues involved in building and evaluating ubicomp applications that impact our everyday lives when they are seamlessly integrated into our living spaces.
His research involves the application-driven aspects of mobile and ubiquitous computing. His approach is fundamentally human-centered, but with an emphasis on how technologies can be developed to address opportunities or challenges. The challenges for designing, implementing and evolving hardware and software for everyday human use that runs reliably, continuously and appropriately on the wide variety of worn, held and embedded platforms are numerous and complex. From the human-centered perspective, significant research themes emerge when new computing technology is put into real-life situations. To date, Dr. Abowd has led a group of that has examined such “living laboratories” in application domains of education, personal information management, life in the home, and health management.
The research themes to have emerged from such work are: automated capture and access to live experiences; context-aware applications; and natural interfaces between the physical and electronic worlds. A significant research theme that has resulted from his personal motivation has been the development of technologies to support challenges associated with the understanding and management of autism.
- Nivedita Arora, Jin Yu, HyunJoo Oh, Thad E Starner, and Gregory D Abowd. (2020) Saturn: Technical and design challenges of building a self-sustaining sound and vibration sensing material. GetMobile: Mobile Comp. and Comm. 23, 3 (September 2019), 28–33.
- Jung Wook Park, Hayley I Evans, Hue Watson, Gregory D Abowd, and Rosa I Arriaga. (2020) Growing Apart: How Smart Devices Impact the Proximity of Users to Their Smartphones. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 19(3), 79-88.
- Gregory D Abowd. (2020) The Internet of Materials: A Vision for Computational Materials. IEEE Pervasive Computing, 19(2), 56-62.
- Yogesh Kumar Meena, Xing-Dong Yang, Markus Löchtefeld, Matt Carnie, Niels Henze, Steve Hodges, Matt Jones, Nivedita Arora, and Gregory D Abowd. (2020) SelfSustainableCHI: Self-Powered Sustainable Interfaces and Interactions. In Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’20).
- Vanessa Oguamanam, Taneisha Lee, Tom McKlin, Zane Cochran, Gregory Abowd, and Betsy DiSalvo. (2020) Cultural Clash: Exploring How Studio-Based Pedagogy Impacts Learning for Students in HCI Classrooms. In Proceedings of the 2020 ACM Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’20).
- Vedant Das Swain, Koustuv Saha, Manikanta D Reddy, Hemang Rajvanshy, Gregory D Abowd, and Munmun De Choudhury. (2020) Modeling organizational culture with workplace experiences shared on glassdoor. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’20).
- Christopher Chen, David Howard, Steven L Zhang, Youngwook Do, Sienna Sun, Tingyu Cheng, Zhong Lin Wang, Gregory D Abowd, and HyunJoo Oh. (2020) SPIN (Self-powered Paper Interfaces) Bridging Triboelectric Nanogenerator with Folding Paper Creases. In Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’20).
- Dong Whi Yoo, Michael L Birnbaum, Anna R Van Meter, Asra F Ali, Elizabeth Arenare, Gregory D Abowd, and Munmun De Choudhury. (2020) Designing a Clinician-Facing Tool for Using Insights From Patients’ Social Media Activity: Iterative Co-Design Approach. JMIR Mental Health, 7(8), e16969.
- Dingtian Zhang, Jung Wook Park, Yang Zhang, Yuhui Zhao, Yiyang Wang, Yunzhi Li, Tanvi Bhagwat, Wen-Fang Chou, Xiaojia Jia, Bernard Kippelen, Canek Fuentes-Hernandez, Thad Starner, and Gregory D. Abowd. (2020) OptoSense: Towards Ubiquitous Self-Powered Ambient Light Sensing Surfaces. Proc. ACM Interact. Mob. Wearable Ubiquitous Technol. 4, 3, Article 103 (September 2020), 27 pages.
- Hyeokhyen Kwon, Catherine Tong, Harish Haresamudram, Yan Gao, Gregory D. Abowd, Nicholas D. Lane, and Thomas Plötz. (2020) IMUTube: Automatic Extraction of Virtual on-body Accelerometry from Video for Human Activity Recognition. Proc. ACM Interact. Mob. Wearable Ubiquitous Technol. 4, 3, Article 87 (September 2020), 29 pages.
- Tingyu Cheng, Koya Narumi, Youngwook Do, Yang Zhang, Tung D Ta, Takuya Sasatani, Eric Markvicka, Yoshihiro Kawahara, Lining Yao, Gregory D Abowd, and HyunJoo Oh. (2020) Silver tape: Inkjet-printed circuits peeled-and-transferred on versatile substrates. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 4(1), 1-17.
- Anandghan Waghmare, Qiuyue Xue, Dingtian Zhang, Yuhui Zhao, Shivan Mittal, Nivedita Arora, Ceara Byrne, Thad Starner, and Gregory D Abowd. (2020) UbiquiTouch: Self sustaining ubiquitous touch interfaces. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies, 4(1), 1-22.
Feb 14, 2022
Groundbreaking research on flexible photodetectors with computational powers by Canek Fuentes-Hernandez, associate professor, electrical and computer engineering (ECE), and Gregory D. Abowd, dean of the College of Engineering and professor of ECE, has been published in npj Flexible Electronics. The researchers developed a new approach to achieve motion and gesture recognition using arrays of thin and flexible organic photodetectors distributed in space.
Nov 05, 2021
Michael Silevitch, Robert D. Black Distinguished Professor of ECE, has been awarded $36 million over 10 years to lead a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) multi-institutional Center of Excellence, SENTRY (Soft target Engineering to Neutralize the Threat RealitY). SENTRY will develop a “Virtual Sentry” system that provides just-in-time information to key decision makers to protect civilian soft targets such as transit stations and schools, and crowded spaces such as stadiums from covert threats.
Apr 16, 2021
ECE Professor Michael Silevitch will lead a new Massachusetts program, AI Jumpstart, to connect small business owners in the state with academic faculty experts to learn how machine learning can grow their companies. Northeastern received a $2.2 million state grant that will be used primarily for high-speed computer equipment and also to provide for faculty consultants, both of which will be available to selected companies to get the pilot effort up and running. Northeastern kicked in an additional $2 million, raising the program’s total value to more than $4 million.
Apr 07, 2021
Gregory Abowd is the new dean of the College of Engineering. In this Q&A, he shares his background and research, the importance of an interdisciplinary approach, as well as plans for leading the College into the future.
Mar 02, 2021
Gregory D. Abowd joined Northeastern University as Dean of the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering in March 2021.