Spotlight

Professors Alfred Kobsa and Bonnie Nardi Retire

Prof. Emeritus Alfred Kobsa and Prof. Emeritus Bonnie Nardi

Congratulations to Prof. Alfred Kobsa and Prof. Bonnie Nardi as they retire from UCI! Kobsa and Nardi have both led distinguished careers with numerous accomplishments along the way.

During his 19 years at UCI, Kobsa conducted research in the areas of user modeling and personalized systems, privacy, usable security, and support for personal health maintenance.

Earlier, Kobsa was an Institute Director at the German National Research Center for Information Technology (GMD-FIT), a Professor at the University of Essen, an Associate Professor at the University of Konstanz, and a Senior Researcher at the University of Saarbrücken, all in Germany. He was the founding editor of User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction: The Journal of Personalization Research, and the founding president of User Modeling Inc. Kobsa edited several books and authored numerous publications in the areas of user-adaptive systems, privacy, human-computer interaction and knowledge representation. He co-founded the Adaptivity and User Modeling in Interactive Software Systems workshop series and the International Conference on User Modeling.

Prof. Emeritus Alfred Kobsa (center, rear) with his alumni and current Ph.D. students. Left to right: Prof. Sameer Patil (Indiana Univ. Bloomington), Yao Li, Hosub Lee, Eugenia Ha Rim Rho, Prof. Bart Knijnenburg (Clemson Univ.), Prof. Xinru Page (Bentley Univ.), and Prof. Yang Wang (Syracuse Univ.)." title="Prof. Emeritus Alfred Kobsa (center, rear) with his alumni and current Ph.D. students. Left to right: Prof. Sameer Patil (Indiana Univ. Bloomington), Yao Li, Hosub Lee, Eugenia Ha Rim Rho, Prof. Bart Knijnenburg (Clemson Univ.), Prof. Xinru Page (Bentley Univ.), and Prof. Yang Wang (Syracuse Univ.).Kobsa graduated four Ph.D. students from UCI. Including his years prior to joining UCI, he supervised a total of eleven Ph.D. students and co-supervised another nine. His UCI alums gathered at the 2018 ISR Research Forum to help Kobsa celebrate his retirement. “I couldn’t ask for a better advisor than Alfred Kobsa,” said Prof. Yang Wang. “He gave me the space and freedom to explore what I wanted to do research on. Without Alfred, I wouldn’t be a researcher today.” Profs. Bart Knijnenburg, Xinru Page, and Sameer Patil echoed that sentiment, adding that Kobsa was patient and flexible, helped them find the essence of their research, cultivated a tight-knit community among his students and alums, and guided them on the path to becoming professors.

During Bonnie Nardi’s 14 years at UCI, her research focused on activity theory, interaction design, games, social media,and society and technology. In 2014, Nardi was awarded an honorary doctorate, “Doctor Honoris Causa,” from the University of Umeå in Sweden. She was elected to the CHI Academy in 2013.

Nardi co-authored and co-edited numerous books during her time at UCI. Recent books include: Heteromation and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism by Hamid Ekbia and Bonnie Nardi; Ethnography and Virtual Worlds: A Handbook of Method by Tom Boellstorff, Bonnie Nardi, Celia Pearce, and T.L. Taylor; Activity Theory in HCI Research: Fundamentals and Reflections by Victor Kaptelinin and Bonnie Nardi; and Materiality and Organizing: Social Interaction in a Material World, co-edited with Paul Leonardi and Jannis Kallinikos. Nardi continues to co-edit the MIT Press Acting with Technology Series which has many award-winning titles. She is a founding member of the ICS Center for Research on Sustainability, Collapse-preparedness and Information Technology at UCI and of the Computing within LIMITS Workshop.

Prior to joining UCI, Nardi spent time at HP Labs, Apple, AT&T Labs, and Agilent Labs. As noted on page 1, her paper “Interaction and Outeraction: Instant Messaging in Action,” published in 2000 while she was at AT&T Labs, won the Lasting Impact Award at CSCW 2018. Nardi was elected to the CHI Academy in 2013.

Nardi graduated seven Ph.D. students during her time at UCI.

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: