Department of Computer Science

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Dr. Keith Vertanen Receives Distinguished Researcher Award

Keith award

Dr. Keith Vertanen received Montana Tech's 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award for his outstanding research in the field of human computer interaction (HCI). In the past three years, Dr. Vertanen has published 16 peer-reviewed publications in top computer science venues, submitted as PI seven external grant proposals totaling over $1.4 million, collaborated with top researchers around the world, and provided research opportunities to Montana Tech undergraduates. Keith is a respected expert in the HCI field, currently serves as an associate chair for the MobileHCI Conference, and has served as a technical program committee member, a reviewer, and a workshop organizer.

Dr. Vertanen’s HCI research focuses on enhancing communication capabilities of users with disabilities by improving recognition-based text entry and mobile device interfaces. Keith integrates the computer science disciplines of HCI, natural language processing and machine learning to a variety of accessibility topics like improved text entry systems, eyes-free text entry, eye-typing, speech-only interfaces, and other alternative communication methods. His 16 publications on these topics appear in top international conference proceedings, including the flagship ACM Computer Human Interaction (CHI) Conference on Human Factor in Computing Systems (acceptance rates around 25%) and ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility. One paper he coauthored received Honorable Mention for Best Paper at ETRA’12. Overall, Keith has 30 refereed publications and 286 citations.

Keith has been supervising and mentoring both graduate and undergraduate students. One graduate student he worked with received the SIGACCESS 2012 Best Student Paper. He is now the co-supervisor of a PhD student at the University of St. Andrews. Keith also mentors three Montana Tech undergraduates and has two publications with them. In April, two of the undergraduates attended the CHI 2014 to show their multiplayer touchscreen typing game Text Blaster during the Interactivity Sessions.

Dr. Vertanen’s strong record of research goes beyond publishing and writing grant proposals. He is very active in extending his research field by serving on technical committees and reviewing publications. Keith is currently the Associate Chair for the ACM International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI 2014. He is a co-organizer of the Special Interest Group (SIG) for “The Usability of Text Entry Systems Now and in the Future” at CHI 2014. He co-organized two CHI workshops on “Designing and Evaluating Text Entry Methods” at CHI 2012 and “Grand Challenges in Text Entry” at CHI 2013. In addition to serving on three technical program committees, Keith has been a reviewer for 12 conferences over the last 3 years.

Congratulations to Keith Vertanen for receiving Montana Tech's 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award!