computational thinking, carnegie mellon
Sponsored by
microsoft research
  Please note: as of February 2013, this site is no longer being actively maintained or updated.  
  Seminar series organized by Roger Dannenberg  

Suguru Ishizaki
Associate Professor, English Department, Carnegie Mellon University
Computational Thinking and Communication Design
Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 2:30 pm, Newell Simon Hall 3305


Modeling is an essential skill of the experienced communication designer. From the design of relatively simple two-fold brochures, to complex websites, and to services, the designers’ work involves understanding the project’s information and the context in a structured fashion. Designers also use common models to critique and revise their solutions. I will illustrate how computational thinking is already part of communication design activities. I will then present early experiments using computing in visual design from the Visible Language Workshop at MIT. These examples will be followed by my own work on dynamic information design, where I attempted to use the multiagent model for representing information design. Based on this overview, I will speculate that the notion of computational intuition may be a valuable asset for communication designers.


Suguru Ishizaki uniquely combines scholarly and practical qualifications with 18 years of experience in interaction design, visual design and basic research on visual and verbal communication. His current research focuses on visual communication pedagogy—including intelligent critiquing systems, assessment methods, visual communication literacy, and online self-learning environments for non-designers.  In his collaboration with David Kaufer in the past 10 years on text analysis, he has designed and implemented a suite of computational tools for the analysis and interactive visualization of rhetorical strategies.

Suguru is currently an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Communication Design in the Department of English at Carnegie Mellon. Before this appointment, he worked at QUALCOMM on the research and development of mobile user interfaces. Prior to that, he was on the faculty of the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. at MIT’s Media Laboratory where he studied under Muriel Cooper and William Mitchell, after receiving his Bachelor Art & Design from Tsukuba University, Japan. He is the author of Improvisational Design: Continuous Responsive Digital Communication (MIT Press, 2003), and a co-author of The Power of words: Unveiling the Speaker and Writer’s Hidden Craft (Erlbaum 2004).