Life and work
Maneesh Agrawala attended the Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science Magnet Program at Montgomery Blair High School. He received a B.S. in mathematics in 1994 and a Ph.D. in computer science in 2002, both from Stanford University. While attending Stanford, he worked as a software consultant at Vicinity Corporation and in the rendering software group at Pixar Animation Studios. He received a film credit for Pixar's A Bugs Life. After graduating, Agrawala worked at Microsoft Research for three years, working in its Document Processing and Understanding Group. In 2006, he joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
Agrawala's work focuses on the design of visual interfaces that help a user process digital information, often using cognitive design concepts. For instance, LineDrive, a program developed by Agrawala, creates route maps that resemble hand-drawn maps, adapting cognitive and map-making techniques to help a computer user process information on a route. This work was the focus of his 2002 Ph.D. dissertation, "Visualizing Route Maps". He has also adapted cognitive science into visual interfaces for complex 3D models. Agrawala has also developed a system that creates step-by-step assembly instructions for complex machines, using the idea of exploded views to help the user understand the spacial relationships between elements. His user-centric approach is viewed as having broad applicability in the fields of computer graphics and user inferfaces.
Agrawala is the recipient of multiple awards, including an Okawa Foundation Research Grant in 2006, a Sloan Fellowship and NSF CAREER Award in 2007, a SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in 2008, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2009.
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