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Contact

Office Location

105-107 Forsyth Street
132A Nightingale Hall
Boston, MA 02115

Mailing Address

Northeastern University
ATTN: David Sprague, 202 WVH
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

Education

  • PhD in Computer Science, University of Victoria
  • MS in Computer Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  • BS in Computer Science/Psychology, Queen’s University
  • BS in Biology and Psychology, Queen’s University

Biography

Professor David Sprague received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Victoria in 2011, where his research explored how visualizations are used in casual or non-work contexts. Prior to this, he studied human-computer interaction at the University of British Columbia’s Imager Lab, where he received his MS. Prof. Sprague’s undergraduate degrees from Queen’s University are in biology/psychology and computer science. He has taught at the University of British Columbia and has been a user interface designer and developer at CD-adapco and Google. His research interests include casual information visualizations, InfoVis aesthetics, human factors associated with virtual reality, human-computer interaction, and educational games.

Hometown

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada

Field of research/teaching

Human-computer interaction, Visualization

What is your educational background?

I planned to become a medical doctor like my father, doggedly, and somewhat unsuccessfully, working away on a biology/psychology combined major. In my final undergraduate year, I took an introductory computer science course as an elective and discovered a science that I was not only good at but also one that truly excited me.

Since then, I’ve combined these two degrees to explore human-computer interaction. I looked at human factors influencing motor tasks in virtual reality for my MS, and for my PhD, I wanted to explore the recent emergence of so-called casual visualizations. Even in 2006, I felt that we were inundated with massive amounts of data and that many people may find it beneficial to explore and analyze it for fun, personal growth, or a hobby. Others might use visualizations just to cope with the deluge of information we regularly experience. My dissertation looked at human factors surrounding visualizations used in casual contexts.

What is your research focus?

I’m currently focusing on lecturing, which is the original reason I set out to earn my PhD. Although I love visualization research, and despite some potential side projects on the horizon, I always wanted to focus on teaching undergraduates. I’ve had some inspirational computer science instructors during my studies and I hope that I can get others interested in our field.

What courses/subjects do you teach?

Currently I teach:

  • CS 1800 – Discrete Structures
  • CS 2800 – Logic & Computation
  • IS 4300 – HCI

What do you enjoy most or find most rewarding about what you teach?

I’m always amazed at the caliber of students we have at Northeastern. It’s extremely rewarding to teach such intelligent and motivated students, but it’s even more satisfying seeing them fall in love with computer science the way I did.