Ravin Balakrishnan

University of Toronto

Ravin Balakrishnan

Ravin is a Professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto. He served as the department’s chair from 2015-2019. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Toronto, working with Bill Buxton (himself an earlier recipient of this same award), while concurrently a part-time researcher at Alias|wavefront. He was elected to the ACM CHI Academy in 2011, is the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2007), an Ontario Premier’s Research Excellence Award (2003), the Bell University Laboratories Associate Chair in HCI at the University of Toronto (2002-2006), a Canada Research Chair (2006-2016) and multiple best paper awards at the top conferences in his field (ACM CHI, CSCW, UIST). In addition to working with students and colleagues at Toronto, he collaborates with researchers at leading industrial laboratories and universities worldwide, including stints as a visiting researcher at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories and HP Labs, a visiting professor at the University of Paris & INRIA, and a visiting researcher at Microsoft Research’s Redmond, Beijing, Bangalore and Cambridge labs.

Across the broad domains of HCI research that Ravin has worked on, a common thread is the theoretical underpinnings on which his work is based. Even his most creative and innovative work is conducted with an impressive level of scientific rigour. Through his contributions and methodologies, he has played a significant role in the recognition of HCI as a science, by the top Computer Science departments worldwide. It is thus only fitting that he was one of the first Professors of HCI to serve as Chair of a Computer Science Department at a leading academic institution, where he spearheaded significant growth in both faculty and student enrolments including the hiring of 29 new tenure stream professors over a four year period.

While Ravin’s research accolades and publication record is substantial, perhaps his greatest contribution to the HCI community has been the academic tree he has formed through his mentorship of students, and the resulting growth of HCI as a field both in Toronto and internationally. He has mentored over 50 graduate students and Post-Docs, who have gone on to faculty and research positions at leading international institutions. Many of these graduates are now recognized leaders themselves: recipients of Sloan Fellowships; chairs and organizers of top tier HCI research conferences; leaders of HCI Industry Research Labs; and, founders and CEOs of successful start-ups.

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