Lecturer in Computer Science
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Ph.D., Lancaster University (UK)
Florian Block’s research is situated at the intersection of human computer interaction, information visualization and data science. It grapples with a growing paradox: Even though increasing amounts of data are released for the general public, generated by the general public and collected about the general public, these data sets, and the valuable insights they may contain, are still largely inaccessible to the general public.
The ability to find meaning within data is usually exclusive to expert audiences who have extensive training, pre-existing knowledge about the nature of the data itself, and access to specialized methods and tools for data analysis. However, we are beginning to understand that enabling the general public to work with and understand data can have a beneficial impact on society, such as bringing cost savings, improving sustainability, fostering scientific discovery and increasing informed participation in the democratic dialog.
Block’s research focuses on how novel interactive technology, coupled with innovative visualization techniques, can enable the general public to understand the structure of, formulate questions about and interpret the meaning of data. In particular, she is interested in how interactive technology, such as large-scale multitouch displays, can enable groups of nonexperts to engage with data and thus introduce the analysis of data to environments that are inherently social, such as classrooms, museums and homes.