MSI student profile: Gierad Laput

Gierad Laput

Gierad Laput

Gierad Laput is an MSI student specializing in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). His research interests lie broadly in user interfaces, visualization, and learning, and he’s been involved in research projects since he was an undergraduate. Gierad sees himself as “an advocate for the user” and uses technology to find better ways for people to interact with complex systems and products. The cool projects and the relevant audiences that HCI addresses continually inspire him to focus in this exciting area.

As part of an independent study in collaboration with Adobe and UMSI Assistant Professor Eytan Adar, Gierad explored how programming-by-demonstration and cloud-computing can potentially improve the experience of using complex, monolithic applications such as Photoshop. They created ways for converting existing Photoshop tutorials into mini-applications and explored the idea of pushing “hundreds of Photoshop instances in the cloud,” allowing users to perform complex tasks without the need to install the application on their computer. The system they built, TappCloud, and the solutions they uncovered were published at the 2012 Symposium on User Interface Software & Technology.

In another UMSI project, Gierad and his peers explored how technology can be incorporated into independent living situations to help elderly adults adjust to and be happier in their environment. This project involved hours of research and intimate interviews with the elderly. StoryCubes won one of the top prizes at UMSI’s annual student project expoSItion, and his team presented their work at the 2012 Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) conference.

This summer, Gierad worked at Adobe Advanced Technology Labs, where his research explored the use of natural language (speech) as interfaces for complex applications. In this work, Gierad uncovered the selling points and challenges of using speech-to-text technology in the context of image editing, which has implications on how Adobe products such as Photoshop could be used in the future.

This fall, Gierad is helping facilitate a core HCI class, SI 588: “Fundamentals of Human Behavior,” taught by Assistant Professor Mark Newman.

Prior to attending grad school, Gierad was a researcher at Ford Motor Company in Enterprise Technology. In 2009, he completed dual BSE degrees in electrical engineering and computer engineering at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. He was born and raised in Cebu, Philippines.

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