Alvitta Ottley, assistant professor of computer science & engineering, recently received the Young Researcher Award and the Best Short Paper Award at the EuroVis annual visualization conference held in Rome in June.

The Young Researcher award was given in recognition of her “outstanding contributions to intelligent visualization systems with exemplary foundations and techniques based on individual differences and cognitive models.”

The paper, titled “Inferential Tasks as an Evaluation Technique for Visualization” was written with collaborators from Tufts University, Northeastern University, EditShare and Novartis Pharmaceuticals. The conference is organized by the Eurographics Working Group on Data Visualization.

Ottley, who also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, applies machine learning to predict individual characteristics, such as personality traits and cognitive abilities, from user interaction logs. Her research pursues areas such as learning and modeling user behavior, individual differences and personalized health risk communication. Her work has been published in leading conferences and journals such as CHI, InfoVis, VAST and TVCG, and she recently received a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the National Science Foundation.

Ottley has published her research in the top venues for visualization research, including EuroVis, IEEE VIS and ACM CHI. Her publications are well-cited, including those that present groundbreaking work on individual differences. She also has served in several organizing committee roles that have directly supported, encouraged and impacted new and junior visualization researchers, such as IEEE VIS diversity and inclusion co-chair, as well as the doctoral consortium chair for ACM TAPIA.


The McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis promotes independent inquiry and education with an emphasis on scientific excellence, innovation and collaboration without boundaries. McKelvey Engineering has top-ranked research and graduate programs across departments, particularly in biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and computing, and has one of the most selective undergraduate programs in the country. With 140 full-time faculty, 1,387 undergraduate students, 1,448 graduate students and 21,000 living alumni, we are working to solve some of society’s greatest challenges; to prepare students to become leaders and innovate throughout their careers; and to be a catalyst of economic development for the St. Louis region and beyond.

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