Here follows a summary of my contributions to the fields of human-computer interaction (HCI), data visualization, and visualization. References within square brackets refer to publications from my CV; these are also listed below.

Also see my biography page.

Professional Contributions

  • Leading researcher in the field of human-computer interaction (since 2008), data visualization (2003), and visual analytics (2007).
  • Director (7th since 1983) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL) at University of Maryland, College Park from 2016 to 2021.
  • Papers co-chair for the IEEE InfoVis conference in 2016, 2017, and 2020 (the only person serving three times in this position).
  • Distinguished Scientist of the ACM in 2018 (one of 40 appointed that year).
  • Member of 4 journal editorial boards and 59 technical program committees (TPCs) since 2008.

Research Contributions

  • Inventor of ubiquitous analytics in 2009 that enables anytime, anywhere sensemaking [J30]. Ubiquitous analytics is a more general precursor to immersive analytics.
  • Inventor of the accessible data visualization topic within the scientific visualization community in 2019 [J68].
  • Inventor of data comics in Fall 2014 [TC1, C54], and pioneer in data-driven storytelling.
  • Inventor of olfactory data representations in 2019 [J61].
  • Inventor of fluid data visualization in 2011 [J19].
  • Research on immersive data visualization (prior to immersive analytics) in 2003 to 2006.
  • Pioneer in collaborative visualization from 2011 to present [J18].
  • Creator of many HCI and visualization systems, including ubiquitous analytics platforms [C37, J37, J63] as well as gestural [C53], touch [C28], full-body [C42], wrist-based [C49], and pen-based [J29] interaction.
  • NSF CAREER award in 2013.
  • Mentor for graduated doctoral (8) and masters (5) students.

Educational Contributions

  • Co-author of the sixth edition of Designing the User Interface (2016), one of the leading HCI textbooks.
  • Course designer for one of the world’s first graduate courses in Visual Analytics in 2009 at Purdue University (ECE 695D); documented in a 2012 IEEE CG&A article.
  • Accommodations for enabling blind students to take UMD data visualization courses.
  • Teaching and mentoring awards in 2012, 2014, and 2017.

Service Contributions

  • Chair for the ACM CHI Viz subcommittee in 2020 and 2021.
  • Papers co-chair for the IEEE InfoVis conference in 2016, 2017, and 2020.
  • Chair for the ACM SIGCHI Outstanding Dissertation Award subcommittee for 2021–2023.
  • Member at large in the IEEE Computer Society Publications Board in 2016.
  • Member of 4 journal editorial boards and 59 technical program committees (TPCs).
  • Series co-editor for the Springer Nature book series on Synthesis Lecture on Visualization.

Contributions to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Commercial Impact

  • 3 U.S. PTO provisional patents.
  • Expert witness work on touch interaction, Virtual/Augmented Reality, and computer graphics.
  • Academic advisor and board member of Keshif, LLC from 2018 to 2021.


TC1.Zhenpeng Zhao, Rachael Marr, Jason Shaffer, Niklas Elmqvist. Data Comics: Sequential Art for Data-Driven Storytelling. HCIL Technical Report, No. 15, 2015.
J18.Petra Isenberg, Niklas Elmqvist, Daniel Cernea, Jean Scholtz, Kwan-Liu Ma, Hans Hagen. Collaborative Visualization: Definition, Challenges, and Research Agenda. Information Visualization, 10(4):310–326, 2011.
J19.Niklas Elmqvist, Andrew Vande Moere, Hans-Christian Jetter, Daniel Cernea, Harald Reiterer, T. J. Jankun-Kelly. Fluid Interaction for Information Visualization. Information Visualization, 10(4):327–340, 2011.
C28.Sundar Murugappan, Vinayak, Niklas Elmqvist, Karthik Ramani. Extended Multitouch: Recovering Touch Posture and Differentiating Users using a Depth Camera. In Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology, pp. 487–496, 2012. 
J29.Waqas Javed, Niklas Elmqvist. ExPlates: Spatializing Interactive Analysis to Scaffold Visual Exploration. Computer Graphics Forum, 32(2):441–450, 2013.
J30.Niklas Elmqvist, Pourang Irani. Ubiquitous Analytics: Interacting with Big Data Anywhere, Anytime. IEEE Computer, 46(4):86–89, 2013.
C37.Sriram Karthik Badam, Niklas Elmqvist. PolyChrome: A Cross-Device Framework for Collaborative Web Visualization. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces, pp. 109–118, 2014.
J37.Sriram Karthik Badam, Eli Raymond Fisher, Niklas Elmqvist. Munin: A Peer-to-Peer Middleware for Ubiquitous Analytics and Visualization Spaces. IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, 21(2):215–228, 2015.
C42.Sriram Karthik Badam, Feresteh Amini, Niklas Elmqvist, Pourang Irani. Supporting Visual Exploration for Multiple Users in Large Display Environments. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science & Technology, 2016.
C49.Tom Horak, Sriram Karthik Badam, Niklas Elmqvist, Raimund Dachselt. When David Meets Goliath: Combining Smartwatches with a Large Vertical Display for Visual Data Exploration. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, paper no. 19 (13 pages), 2018.
C53.Andrea Batch, Hanuma Teja Maddali, Kyungjun Lee, Niklas Elmqvist. Gesture and Action Discovery for Evaluating Virtual Environments with Semi-Supervised Segmentation of Telemetry Records. In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality, pp. 1–10, 2018.
C54.Zhenpeng Zhao, Rachael Marr, Jason Shaffer, Niklas Elmqvist. Understanding Partitioning and Sequence in Data-Driven Storytelling: The Case for Comic Strip Narration. In Proceedings of the iConference, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 11420, pp. 327–338, 2019.
J61.Biswaksen Patnaik, Andrea Batch, Niklas Elmqvist. Information Olfactation: Harnessing Scent to Convey Data. IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, 25(1):726–736, 2019.
J63.Sriram Karthik Badam, Andreas Mathisen, Roman Rädle, Clemens Nylandsted Klokmose, Niklas Elmqvist. Vistrates: A Component Model for Ubiquitous Analytics. IEEE Transactions on Visualization & Computer Graphics, 25(1):586–596, 2019.
J68Jinho Choi, Sanghun Jung, Deok Gun Park, Jaegul Choo, Niklas Elmqvist. Visualizing for the Non-Visual: Enabling the Visually Impaired to Use Visualization. Computer Graphics Forum, 38(3):249–260, 2019.