Hi, I am Jason, a 1st-year PhD student @UMD HCIL, working with Prof. Joel Chan.

About Me

Technological innovations and unprecedented challenges like global pandemic are dramatically changing the way people work. In the face of increasing automation and artificial intelligence in workplace and in society, we need to rethink the role of people and their relationships to technology. As an HCI researcher, I am passionate about investigating how to augment and enhance people’ performance in human-centered and creative tasks with which automation typically falls short, as “from automation to augmentation”. To be more specific, I build AI-powered systems to help people grapple with creative knowledge tasks.

Previously I have worked as a researcher in the UCSD Design Lab, working with Prof. Steven Dow and Dr. Stephen MacNeil. I also worked with Prof. Xiaojuan Ma at HKUST. My research led to publications accepted to top-tier HCI conferences including CHI, CSCW, UIST, as well as other venues with more specific focus such as CHIIR and C&C. You could contact me by email: ding at umd dot edu | Curriculum Vitae


Dec 2021 | Thrilled to be featured in UMD iSchool iStar spotlight!

Nov 2021 | Our paper got accepted at CHI 2022. Thank you all my amazing mentors and collaborators!

Oct 2021 | Attended UIST 2021 & CSCW 2021 to present our work.

Sep 2021 | Started my PhD study at UMD iSchool & HCIL and awarded Dean’s Fellowship.

Jul 2021 | Our demo paper got accepted at UIST 2021.

Jun 2021 | Attended C&C 2021 to present our work.

May 2021 | Attended CHI 2021 to present our work.

Apr 2021 | Our paper got accepted at C&C 2021.

Mar 2021 | Attended CHIIR 2021 to present our work.

Dec 2020 | Three papers got accepted at CHI 2021, CSCW 2021 and CHIIR 2021.


Google Scholar

Full Conference Papers:

  1. Z. Ding, J. Kang, T.O.T. Ho, K.H. Wong, H.H. Fung, H. Meng, X. Ma. TalkTive: A Conversational Agent Using Backchannels to Engage Older Adults in Neurocognitive Disorders Screening. In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’22), New Orleans, USA, 2022. (Accepted with minor revision)
  2. S. MacNeil, Z. Ding, A. Boone, A. B. Grubbs, S. P. Dow. Finding Place in a Design Space: Chal- lenges for Supporting Community Design Efforts at Scale. In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW’21), Online, 2021.
  3. S. MacNeil, Z. Ding, K. Quan, T. J. Parashos, Y. Sun, S. P. Dow. Framing Creative Work: Helping Novices Frame Better Problems through Interactive Scaffolding. In Proceedings of the 2021&2022 Conferences on Creativity and Cognition (C&C’21&22), Online, 2021.
  4. S. Palani, Z. Ding, A. Nguyen, A. Chuang, S. MacNeil, S. P. Dow. CoNotate: Suggesting Queries Based on Notes Promotes Knowledge Discovery. In Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’21), Online, 2021.
  5. R. Chang, Q. Wang, Z. Ding. Revolutionizing Urban Energy Planning: A Roadmap Towards City-level Energy Modelling in Australia. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Con- struction Project Management and Construction Engineering (iCCPMCE’18), Sydney, Australia. (Best Paper)
  6. Q. Wang, S. Zhang, D. Wei, Z. Ding. Additive Manufacturing (AM): A Revolutionized Power for Construction Industrialization. In Proceedings of the 2018 International Conference on Construc- tion and Real Estate Management (ICCREM’18), Charleston, USA. (Best Paper)

Short Conference Papers:

  1. S. MacNeil, Z. Ding, K. Quan, Z. Huang, K. Chen, S. P. Dow. ProbMap: Automatically Construct- ing Design Galleries through Feature Extraction and Semantic Clustering. In Adjunct Proceedings of the 2021 Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST’21 Demo), Online, 2021.
  2. S. Palani, Z. Ding, S. MacNeil, S. P. Dow. The “Active Search” Hypothesis: How Search Strategies Relate to Creative Learning. In Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR’21 Poster), Online, 2021.


  1. S. Chang, Q. Wang, H. Hu, Z. Ding, H. Guo. An NNwC MPPT-Based Energy Supply Solution for Sensor Nodes in Buildings. Energies, 12(1), 1-20.
  2. R. Chang, Q. Wang, Z. Ding. How is the Energy Performance of Buildings Assessed in Australia? A Comparison between four Evaluation Systems. International Journal of Structural and Civil Engineering Research, 8(2), 133-137.

About My University Experience

Below is an interview of me, named “How to make the most use of your university experience“. It was published in Jan 2018 and until Jun 2019 it has 43,500+ views on YouTube. Honestly, every one has regrets and so do I – I never thought I did make the most use of my undergraduate experience. Luckily, I am still in a university now and have the chance to fulfill myself.