UMass Amherst Computer Science Department Slates Lecture Series Starting Oct. 1

AMHERST, Mass. - The computer science department at the University of Massachusetts has announced its Distinguished Lecture Series for the year.

The series will kick off on Wed., Oct. 1, at 4 p.m. in Goessmann Laboratory, room 20, with a lecture by James D. Foley. Foley is director of the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratory (MERL) in Cambridge. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will be preceded by refreshments in the computer science department’s main office, Lederle Graduate Research Center, room A243.

Foley will speak on "Information Visualization and the World Wide Web." Information visualization can be used with the WWW in three ways: in navigating, to understand how different pieces of information relate one to another; in presenting the results of queries returned by search engines; and in organizing a private collection of retrieved information, such as bookmarks. But navigating the Web currently bears almost no resemblance to navigating the real world, Foley says. The Web is primarily a linguistic world; the real world is visual. Foley will describe visualization techniques that may help users understand a document’s relevance. He will also discuss potential enhancements to the WWW, which would increase its ability to create and present visualizations.

Foley is co-author of three books, "Fundamentals of Interactive Computer Graphics," "Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice," and "Introduction to Computer Graphics." Foley was educated at Lehigh University and the University of Michigan. Prior to joining MERL in 1996, he served on the faculties of the University of North Carolina, George Washington University, where he was most recently chairman of the department of electrical engineering and computer science, and Georgia Tech, where he was founding director of the Graphics, Visualization and Usability Center, which brought together over 30 faculty and 100 students from 10 different colleges, schools, and departments for interdisciplinary research, teaching, and service.

Other lectures in the series are as follows:

* Oct. 29 - "Elephants and Tea Leaves: The Future of the Internet," by Dave Clark of MIT;

* Nov. 12 - "Innovation - the American Way: Unspoken Compacts and Unsealed Covenants," by Anita Jones of the University of Virginia;

* Dec. 3 - "Smart Rooms, Smart Clothes," by Alex Pentland of the MIT Media Lab;

* May 5, 1998 - To be announced.