I spent the last eleven weeks at Aalto University as part of an exchange program. Aalto University is a public research university located in the city of EspooFinland.

At Aalto Univerity, I closely collaborated with the User Interface group led by Professor Antti Oulasvirta. Regarding eye tracking and human visual attention, the work of Professor Oulasvirta’s group is closely related to the research topic of project A07 “Visual Attention Modeling for Optimization of Information Visualizations” within the SFB-TRR 161.

Our collaboration mainly centers around attention-driven optimization of information visualisations. We plan to make use of predictive models of human visual attention on infographics so that designers can iteratively improve the information visualisations by maximizing the visual attention of an objective element. This is to get rid of the laborious and expensive human-in-the-loop design process of information visualisations. During my research stay I met some great colleagues, and I plan to continue our collaboration after I get back to Stuttgart.

While I was in Finland, I also attended the HelsinCHI 2023 symposium. I presented one poster summarizing my PhD’s goals and current results, as well as our paper “Scanpath Prediction on Information Visualisations,” which was accepted in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics.

Yao Wang presenting his work at HelsinCHI 2023.
Yao Wang presenting his work at HelsinCHI 2023. Image: Runhua Zhang

Overall, it was a great winter experience in Finland. I got to know smart and friendly people, enjoyed the great outdoors (we even saw aurora on campus!), and visited historical landmarks in Helsinki. The Chinese food in Helsinki, which even included the Chinese version of Sauerkraut boiled with pork belly, was also authentic.

I would recommend visiting Aalto University and Finland, and I would like to thank all the organizations and people who made my research stay possible.

Helsinki during sunset.
Helsinki during sunset. Image: Yao Wang
My Research Stay at Aalto University, Finland

Yao Wang is a doctoral student at the Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS) (University of Stuttgart) in the Department of Human-Computer Interaction and Cognitive Systems (HCI-CS). Within the SFB-TRR 161, he is a member of project A07 "Visual Attention Modeling for Optimization of Information Visualizations".

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