Brent Hecht
Assistant Professor
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota

Keller Hall 5-191
Twitter (@bhecht)
Google Scholar

My Lab

GroupLens (with Loren Terveen and Joe Konstan)


June 2014: Received a Google Geography Education award!

June 2014: "WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia", our paper on our awesome open-source WikiBrain software library, was accepted at WikiSym 2014 (w/ Shilad Sen and UMN undergrad Toby Li)

May. 2014: Taught "A Crash Course in Geography for HCI Researchers and Practitioners" at CHI 2014

Apr. 2014: "Designing Better Location Fields in User Profiles" accepted at GROUP 2014 (w/ Ting-Yu Wang and F. Maxwell Harper)

Mar. 2014: Received 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award!

Mar. 2014: Keynoting ER&L 2014

Mar. 2014: "A Tale of Cities: Urban Biases in Volunteered Geographic Information" accepted at ICWSM 2014 (w/ Monica Stephens)

Mar. 2014: "Informing Online and Mobile Map Design with the Collective Wisdom of Cartographers" accepted at DIS 2014 (w/ Johannes Schöning and Werner Kuhn)

Dec. 2013: "NewsViews: An Automated Pipeline for Creating Custom Geovisualizations for News" accepted at CHI 2014 (w/ Tong Gao, Jessica Hullman, Eytan Adar and Nicholas Diakopoulos)

Dec. 2013: Talk at Google HQ

Nov. 2013: Invited talks at Texas A&M and Macalester College

Oct. 2013: Talk at Microsoft Research in Redmond

Brent J. Hecht, Ph.D.

Brent Hecht is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota. With interests that lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction, geography, and big data, his research centers on the relationship between big data and human factors such as culture. A major focus of his work involves volunteered geographic information and its application in location-aware technologies.

Quick Bio:

Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in computer science and geography from Macalester College. He was a keynote speaker at WikiSym – the premiere conference on wikis and open collaboration – and has received awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction and geography (e.g. ACM CHI, COSIT). He has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, AllThingsDigital, ACM TechNews, and various international TV, radio, and Internet outlets.

For Prospective Students:

I am currently looking for students excited about doing work at the intersection of HCI, geography, and big data. Undergraduate and graduate students who would like to join my group should feel free to e-mail me directly. Please include a little bit about yourself (e.g. your major, degrees, CV/resume) and let me know something about your research interests. I have worked with students with backgrounds in computer science, geography (with strong technical skills) and/or related disciplines.

Selected Recent Publications:

AAAI ICWSM: Hecht, B., Stephens, M. 2014. A Tale of Cities: Urban Biases in Volunteered Geographic Information. Proceedings of ICWSM 2014. Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.
Paper PDF | Blog Post

ACM CHI: Gao, T., Hullman, J., Adar, E., Hecht, B., Diakopoulos, N. 2014. NewsViews: An Automated Pipeline for Creating Custom Geovisualizations for News. Proceedings of CHI 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM DIS: Schöning, J., Hecht, B., Kuhn, W. 2014. Informing Online and Mobile Map Design with the Collective Wisdom of Cartographers. Proceedings of DIS 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM GROUP: Wang, T., Harper, F. M., Hecht, B. 2014. Designing Better Location Fields in User Profiles. Proceedings of GROUP 2014. New York: ACM Press.

WikiSym: Sen, S., Hecht, B., Li, T. 2014. WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym / WikiSym 2014). New York: ACM Press.

ACM CSCW: Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., Hecht, B., Morris, M., Teevan, J., Gergle, D. 2014. To Search or to Ask: The Routing of Information Needs Between Traditional Search Engines and Social Networks. Proceedings of CSCW 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

PH.D. THESIS: Hecht, B. 2013. The Mining and Application of Diverse Cultural Perspectives in User-Generated Content. Northwestern University.
* Best Dissertation Award (Northwestern Elec. Engineering and Computer Science Department) Preprint PDF

ACM SIGIR: Hecht, B., Carton, S., Quaderi, M., Schöning, J., Raubal, M., Gergle, D., Downey, D. 2012. Explanatory Semantic Relatedness and Explicit Spatialization for Exploratory Search. Proceedings of ACM SIGIR 2012. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM CHI: Bao, P., Hecht, B., Carton, S., Quaderi, M., Horn, M. and Gergle, D. 2012. Omnipedia: Bridging the Wikipedia Language Gap. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

AAAI ICWSM: Hecht, B., Teevan, J., Morris, M., Liebling, D. 2012. SearchBuddies: Bringing Search Engines into the Conversation. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media. Selected for oral presentation. Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.
Paper PDF | Video