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9th Floor
Boston, MA 02115

Biography

Herman is a PhD student in the Computer Science program at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science, advised by Professor Andrea Parker. Herman, a native of Jogia, Indonesia, earned his bachelor’s degree from Gadjah Mada University and his master’s degree from Northeastern University.

Herman’s research areas include human-centered computing and personal health informatics. He is a part of the Wellness Technology Laboratory at Northeastern. Herman’s research includes the design of technology that supports health and well-being among individuals and communities. In 2014, Herman was responsible for creating a website that brought to light errors in the 2014 Indonesian Presidential election results. In the future, Herman hopes to become a great teacher and researcher. 

Education

  • MS, Northeastern University
  • BE, Gadjah Mada University – Indonesia

About Me

  • Hometown: Jogja, Indonesia
  • Field of Study: Computer Science
  • PhD Advisor: Andrea Parker

What are the specifics of your graduate education (thus far)?

I’m interested in the interplay of technology in our society. Specifically, how technology can empower individuals and connect them to larger collective efforts. The health inequality across the world has motivated me to focus on technology-based health intervention targeted for disadvantaged groups. My research has been focused on the design of technologies to support health and wellbeing at personal and community scale.

What are your research interests?

During the 2014 Indonesian Presidential election, I created a website to collect and organize erroneous tabulation forms. My motivation was simple; if one wanted to say that the 2014 Indonesian election results were flawed (or not flawed), one had to be able to produce systematic evidence of any widespread flaws. As I was trained to analyze qualitative data for my master’s thesis with Professor Andrea Parker, I believed that clustering erroneous tabulation evidence and identifying the relationship between them was one way to contribute to the democratic process in Indonesia.

To my surprise, when I asked the Indonesian online citizens to report erroneous tabulation forms at the precinct level, I received more than 900 reports in five days. The National Election Commission officially instructed 497 county-level election commissions to use the data in my website to remedy any potential error in the vote tabulation. It’s a promising sign how grass-root collective efforts organized online can influence a national policy. This effort, along with other similar efforts, was recognized by various news media, including the Wall Street Journal  and Sydney Morning Herald.

This experience solidifies my interest in how we can design technologies to empower individuals by providing them tools to interpret data and to connect them with larger collective efforts.

What’s one problem you’d like to solve with your research/work?

How we can leverage health sensor data in our smartphones to support healthy behavior? Indeed, behavior change has been extensively researched. However, our smartphones provide more information (such as steps count, location, calorie approximation, etc.) to help individuals think deeply about their health. Technologies has been used to visualize and gamify health sensor data. I believe that the next challenge is how to use the visualized and gamified environment to support health reflection and sense-making.

What aspect of what you do is most interesting?

The findings from my exergame evaluation (Spaceship Launch) suggest that the motivating aspect of competition in games is nuanced, where the need to be connected with others seems to have a motivational effect. The open question is, how can we develop a motivational technology that satisfies the need to be connected, and at the same time solidifying healthy attitudes and self-efficacy? Research in sense-making has shown that a breakdown in an individual’s belief can be an opportunity to scaffold one’s attitude in health. Therefore, the challenge is, how can we present breakdowns in individual’s belief to support long term positive health behavior?

What are your research or career goals, going forward?

I want to be a great teacher. The one that makes students say “I can’t wait to learn something new today” at the beginning of every class. I would also like to become a good researcher too.