Gary Olson, 2 ICS Alums receive SIGCHI honors

February 8, 2016

photo: Gary OlsonInformatics professor Gary Olson has received a Lifetime Service Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer–Human Interaction (SIGCHI), as part of the group’s annual effort to recognize and honor leaders and shapers within the field of human-computer interaction.

According to the award website, recipients of the Lifetime Service Award are individuals who have contributed to the growth and success of SIGCHI in a variety of capacities over a number of years. Olson has worked in the human-computer interaction (HCI) field since 1983, when he and colleagues Judy Olson (a fellow informatics professor), Paul Green and Marilyn Mantei taught the first graduate course on the subject at the University of Michigan.

Olson’s contribution to HCI has largely revolved around the concept of distance. From the mid-1980s he and Judy Olson began researching the role technology plays in collaboration. The pair published their highly cited paper, “Distance Matters,” on the subject in 2000 and later authored “Working Together Apart.” Olson has long played an active role in SIGCHI, co-chairing and chairing numerous conferences, as well as award and steering committees. SIGCHI previously elected Olson to the CHI academy and, along with Judy Olson, awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

In addition to Olson, two ICS alumni were also honored in this year’s round of awards. Leysia Palen, professor and founding chair of the newly established Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder, was elected to the CHI academy. She earned her Ph.D. in information and computer science in 1998. Daniel Russell, a senior research scientist at Google, was also elected to the CHI academy. He earned his B.S. in information and computer science in 1977 and has been recognized as a UC Irvine Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumnus.