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Department of Informatics

Spring Term 2024

General Information

The colloquia are held in English and take place from 17:15 to 18:30 in room 2.A.01 at the Department of Informatics (IfI)Binzmühlestrasse 14, 8050 Zürich

Visiting a colloquium is free of charge and does not require registration. 

Details about the format of the talk shall be checked always just ahead of a certain presentation date.

If you have further questions please contact Karin Sigg.

Flyer to download (PDF, 200 KB)


Date Speaker Title Place Host



Prof. Dr. Daniel Weiskopf
University of Stuttgart, Germany

Multidimensional Visualization

BIN 2.A.01 and online* Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bernard

Brian Houck
Principal Productivity Engineer at Microsoft, USA

Unlocking Developer Productivity at Microsoft: Every Second Counts BIN 2.A.01 and online* Prof. Dr. Thomas Fritz

Dr. Vladimir Kovalenko
Head of Research Lab, JetBrains, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Beyond Code: Intelligent Collaboration Tools for Software Engineering

BIN 2.A.01
and online*

Prof. Dr. Alberto Bacchelli


Prof. Dr. Laura Garrison
University of Bergen, Norway

Exploring Engagement and Empowerment through Visualization for Medicine and Public Health

BIN 2.A.01
and online*

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bernard

* If you would like to get access to the talk please send an email until 16:00 on the day of the talk to

Newsletter IfI Colloquium
We announce our IfI Colloquium talk series every semester via email. If you want to subscribe to this mailing list please send an email to Karin Sigg.


07.03.2024 – Multidimensional Visualization

Speaker: Prof. Dr. Daniel Weiskopf

Host: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bernard


Multidimensional data analysis is of broad interest for a wide range of applications. In this talk, I discuss visualization approaches that support the analysis of such data. I start with a brief overview of the field, a conceptual model, and a discussion of visualization strategies. This part is accompanied by examples of recent advancements, with a focus on results from my own work. In the second part, I detail techniques that enrich basic visual mappings like scatterplots, parallel coordinates, or plots of dimensionality reduction by incorporating local correlation analysis. I also discuss how space-filling curves can serve to link information to a multidimensional domain. The talk closes with an outlook on future research directions.


Daniel Weiskopf is a professor and director of the Visualization Research Center (VISUS) and acting director of the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS), both at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. He received his Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) degree in physics from the University of Tübingen, Germany (2001), and the Habilitation degree in computer science at the University of Stuttgart, Germany (2005). His research interests include visualization, visual analytics, eye tracking, human-computer interaction, computer graphics, augmented and virtual reality, and special and general relativity. He is spokesperson of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center SFB/Transregio 161 “Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing” (, which covers basic research on visualization, including multidimensional visualization.


14.03.2024 – Unlocking Developer Productivity at Microsoft: Every Second Counts

Speaker:  Brian Houck

Host: Prof. Dr. Thomas Fritz


Unlocking the productive potential of engineer teams is about more than just software tools, it's about shifting the focus back to the driving force behind it all: the developers themselves. Join us for a discussion on how Microsoft uses a blend of research techniques to build an understanding of the human factors that impact developer productivity, and what they do about it.
We'll share the practical tips and strategies that their teams use to measurably improve their developer experiences. Which metrics does Microsoft use to measure their developer experiences (and why)? What is the empirical impact of meetings on productivity? How much does the day of the week impact code throughput? How much does dealing with bureaucratic toil make developers want to quit? What is the #1 most frequently cited workplace challenge amongst developers across the entire industry? Learn the answers to these questions and more!


As a Productivity Engineer at Microsoft, Brian specializes in elevating the wellbeing and productivity of internal engineering teams. His mission goes beyond mere metrics; it's about humanizing the workplace. Through his research into tooling, processes, and cultural dynamics, Brian has successfully implemented strategies that not only boost efficiency, but also foster a collaborative and satisfying work environment.

Brian takes human-centered approach, focusing on improving the day-to-day experiences for developers. This philosophy has led to multiple company-wide initiatives and policies that have measurably enhanced team dynamics and productivity. His passion lies in continually exploring innovative ways to improve our work culture, ensuring that every individual feels valued, motivated and productive.


11.04.2024 – Beyond Code: Intelligent Collaboration Tools for Software Engineering

Speaker:  Dr. Vladimir Kovalenko

Host: Prof. Dr. Alberto Bacchelli


We have made impressive progress with enabling IDEs to boost productivity through smart and efficient code analysis, and lately also by integrating cutting-edge AI models. Today's IDEs are extremely powerful.
In contrast, collaboration tools in software engineering — think issue trackers, code review tools, or messenger workspaces — still largely resemble bulletin board engines from the early 2000's. Most of their beauty and complexity lies in reliability, performance, and UX solutions, rather than in features that truly model, support, and enhance the process of collaborative work.
In this talk, I will make a case for collaboration tools as a fertile ground for data-driven enhancement, discuss several promising directions and related challenges, and tell a bit about our work in this area at JetBrains.


Dr. Vladimir Kovalenko leads the Intelligent Collaboration Tools Lab at JetBrains in Amsterdam.
His main research interest is in extracting valuable insights from traces of collaborative work and building systems that support developers and teams.
Vladimir got his PhD from TU Delft where he worked under the supervision of Alberto Bacchelli and Arie van Deursen.


18.04.2024 – Exploring Engagement and Empowerment through Visualization for Medicine and Public Health

Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Laura Garrison

Host: Prof. Dr. Jürgen Bernard


Nationwide longitudinal public health datasets like the Norwegian mother, father, and child cohort (MoBa) study are enormous and complex. However, such studies have correspondingly enormous potential for researchers and administrators to understand drivers of health and enact policy changes to improve health on a societal level. Visualization is a powerful means to discover and communicate key features in complex data. When blended with approaches from data science, storytelling, and biomedical illustration, the potential for increased user engagement and insights increases further. However, landing on the appropriate story to tell is contingent upon the unique and diverse needs of the target users and the structure of the data itself. Furthermore, the true cognitive and behavioral impacts of the resulting visualization are difficult to rigorously assess. In this talk, I will discuss a set of vignettes from our work exploring different rhetorical and visual abstraction strategies aimed for analysis and dissemination of MoBa study and similar cohort data to researchers and members of the general public. I will highlight challenges and opportunities in our work, with a discussion of strategies for better evaluation of visualizations telling scientific stories.


Laura Garrison is an Associate Professor of Visualization in the Institute for Informatics at the University of Bergen and affiliated with the Mohn Medical Imaging and Visualization Centre (MMIV) and the Centre for Data Science (CEDAS) in Bergen, Norway. Her research investigates the blending of art, science, and technology to understand how different visual abstraction, narrative, and analytics approaches can impact audience comprehension, engagement, emotions, and behavior in public health and medicine. She received her PhD in Visualization from the University of Bergen for her work on multiscale visualization of human physiology. She was awarded the Dirk Bartz Prize for Visual Computing in Medicine in 2023 and the Karl-Heinz Höhne (MedVis) Award in 2021. Prior to her PhD, she worked as an artist and content director in medical education technology start-ups in Chicago, Silicon Valley, and New York City.


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