42 Tips to Increase Your Website’s Rank from UConn Students

At the University of Connecticut, undergraduate students majoring in Computer Science studied Google’s PageRank algorithm as a practice on stochastic processes and their applications. After their research on the algorithm along with other search techniques that Google uses to rank websites, they have come up with some cool, and easy-to-implement, tips for website owners to organically increase their website rank. As the TA for that class, I felt thrilled with their awesome submissions and wanted to share some of their work on this study.

42 tips to increase your website’s rank based on understanding Google’s PageRank Continue reading

CHI 2016: Diverse, Global, Good

What can a 1000 scientists achieve when they invest one hour doing voluntary work?

Ten teleconference robots facilitated remote attendance to CHI 2016 conference.

Teleconference robots facilitated remote attendance throughout the CHI 2016 conference in San Jose, USA.

This year, and at the heart of Silicon Valley, the CHI conference raised the bar for what is expected from a scientific conference. CHI (pronounced kai) is the most prestigious international conference in the field of human–computer interaction (HCI). It attracts researchers, designers, engineers, and artists who want to (re)shape technology and media to enhance people’s quality of life. This year, CHI 2016 took place in San Jose, USA. Over 3,800 participants from 52 countries presented their work in various media formats, including keynote presentations, media installations, interactive demos, and posters.

CHI is one of the most diverse scientific conferences out there. Women have a strong presence in all disciplines and positions–(vice)presidents, professionals, professors, doctoral candidates, and students. For the last three years, the conference had hosted ‘CHI Women’s Breakfast’ for about 100 attendees, mostly women. This year the conference renamed this event to ‘Diversity & Inclusion Lunch‘, and hosted 500 female and male attendees. The aspects of diversity were expanded beyond gender to include age, disability, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, nationality, marital status, and mental health. Continue reading

A Brief Survey on Software Recommendation Tools

Software engineering recommendation systems assist developers so that they can almost automatically find: 1) code snippets that match their programs, 2) appropriate APIs and libraries, 3) bug fixes, and 4) code changes. These systems are particularly important because they can help developers to handle large amounts of information and write stable programs. In this post, we briefly categorize existing recommendation approaches and tools.

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An Introduction to Gamification in Human-Computer Interaction

User experience (UX) is a field within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) that studies the whole experience of a user with a product, system, or service. UX focuses on  issues such as usability, ergonomics, cognitive load, and affective experiences. However, in the last years, there is a particular growing interest in understanding users’ motivation to use a product, system, or service. This interest is spawned by observable low engagement rates: it is not enough to have a useful system, one needs to also motivate and engage users in it. One possible solution to this comes from a field of study is called gamification or gameful design1, because its main inspiration comes from understanding the factors that make games fun and motivate people to play them voluntarily with so much engagement. Continue reading

Rise of the Chatbots

Almost two decades ago I saw in the arcades the futuristic fighting game “Rise of the Robots”. As a youngster I was imagining what the future of computing and robotics could be. The game ended up not being that great, regardless of that it wasn’t visually very realistic, but instead, it relied on the gameplay and partly on the player’s imagination for the immersion. Hence, around this time, I was dreaming of tablets (from Star Trek) and completely autonomous robots that would help us with everyday tasks (like terminators, without the killing part of course and maybe the Jetson’s robots?).

Yet the future was not exactly what I was expecting. After all this experimentation and technological progress, it seems that people hyped with Chatbots (or chatterbots) instead! Continue reading