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ucsd design lab Krzysztof Gajos Harvard University

Krzysztof Gajos

November 12, 2014
Atkinson Hall 1601 on the UCSD Campus



Design at Scale For the Long Tail

I see two limitations of the common design practice that I would like to help overcome. First, Important problems follow a power law distribution: a few of them affect a large number of people each, but there is also a long tail of problems, all very important, but each only to a small number of people. Design approaches that require substantial amount of expert work make design too scarce and too expensive to solve these long tail problems. Second, for the few large scale problems that we do solve, we favor one-size-fits-all design, which produces solutions optimized for the “typical” user. Such design can be a source of unintended, but systematic discrimination causing some groups to be less likely than others to take advantage of a digital resource in the first place, or causing them to have a less efficient or substantially different experience compared to their peers.

I seek scalable approaches that would help us design high quality solutions for the long tail of the problems and for the long tail of the users.


Krzysztof Gajos is an associate professor of Computer Science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Krzysztof is broadly interested in interactive intelligent systems, a research area that bridges artificial intelligence, machine learning and human-computer interaction. Recent projects pursued by his group touched upon areas such as personalized adaptive user interfaces, computer accessibility, peer learning, creativity support tools, crowdsourcing, and tools and methods for engaging broader publics in research.

Prior to arriving at Harvard, Krzysztof was a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft Research. He received his PhD from University of Washington and his M.Eng. and B.Sc. degrees from MIT. In the Fall of 2005, he was visiting faculty at the Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana, where he taught Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. Krzysztof is a coeditor-in-chief of the ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems. He is a recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship.

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