University of Pittsburgh
March 15, 2012

Pitt to Host March 30 Colloquium on Web User Interface Trends and April 3 Institute on Secularism

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Information Sciences will host two events this spring: the first, titled “Emerging Trends in Search User Interfaces,” will be held March 30, and the second, titled “Secularism on Campus,” will take place on April 3. Information about these events follows.

Free Public “Emerging Trends” Colloquium

Today’s trends toward more natural Web interfaces are provoking a movement in the social use (as opposed to solo use) of technology, suggesting how search functions may change in the future. The free public “Emerging Trends in Search User Interfaces” colloquium, which will look at the effects of these trends, will take place at 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 30, in the Pitt Information Sciences Building, Room 403, 135 N. Bellefield Ave., Oakland. 

Marti Hearst, a professor in the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, will discuss the future of search user interfaces based on her book Search User Interfaces (Cambridge University Press, 2009). These trends in technology are, or will be, interwoven in various ways, says Hearst, and all will have interesting ramifications for search interfaces and future research.

Hearst has invented or participated in several well-known search interface endeavors, including the Flamenco project, which investigated and promoted the use of faceted metadata for collection navigation. Hearst’s other research areas include computational linguistics, information visualization, and the analysis of social media. She has received a National Science Foundation CAREER award, an IBM Faculty Award, and a Google research award, among others. She has been the principal investigator on grants totaling more than $3 million.

Hearst received her BA, MS, and PhD degrees in computer science from UC Berkeley.

“Secularism on Campus” Institute

Leaders of collegiate secular groups on campuses nationwide, including leaders of Pitt’s Secular Student Alliance, will gather on the University’s Pittsburgh campus to discuss the impact of secular organizations on campus life and the groups’ struggles to promote awareness of their missions on their respective campuses. The institute will take place from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. April 3 in Pitt’s Clapp Hall Auditorium, 4249 Fifth Ave., Oakland. It is free for university students with a valid ID, $15 for Center for Inquiry members, and $20 for the public. Registration is required; for more information and to register, visit

The institute will feature keynote speaker Barry Kosmin, director of Trinity College’s Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture in Hartford, Conn., a group established to conduct academic research, sponsor curriculum development, and present public events regarding topics of secularism in society. Kosmin is also a research professor of public policy and law who has authored more than 70 books and research articles in the areas of sociology, demography, politics, philanthropy, and policy research.

The institute is cohosted by, in addition to Pitt’s School of Information Sciences, Pitt’s Secular Student Alliance, the Pittsburgh-based Center for Inquiry, and the New York-based Center for Inquiry. 





University Units