Aran Lunzer

Aran Lunzer comes from Britain, and has been finding ways to make his programming hobby double as a career ever since the summer-holiday jobs during his Engineering studies at the University of Cambridge. On graduating in 1986 he joined IBM UK Laboratories, working in a software technology group that introduced him to the joys of Smalltalk and the power of end-user programming. This motivated him to return to full-time study at the University of Glasgow in 1991, graduating four years later with a PhD in human-computer interaction. His thesis demonstrated how interfaces that support a form of reconnaissance can help users to explore large result spaces.

After an internship at UBS in Zurich he moved to Hokkaido University in northern Japan, working there as a researcher in two periods totalling 12 years; between these periods he worked at the University of Copenhagen from 2002-2004. Whereas reconnaissance places all initiative in the hands of the user, the "subjunctive interface" approach developed over this time allows for shared initiative between user and system.

Aran joined VPRI as a senior researcher in October 2011, following a one-month visit earlier that year. His plan is to embed subjunctive-interface mechanisms deep into the software platforms being built here, to help users understand the context of results they obtain from searches and from simulations. What we'd like is for users to think "What other results are nearby, and what would have to change in order for me to see them?". We'd like our interfaces to foster and to reward such curiosity.

Aran's personal page is here.