Professor Edward Lank passed away on March 21, 2022 at the age of 49. Please see the in memoriam for tributes to Professor Lank from his colleagues and former students, and for details about his personal and academic life.

Professor Lank's faculty profile has been preserved for historical interest. Please also see his personal research website.

Research interests

Edward Lank

Professor Lank's research interests are in Human-Computer Interaction and Intelligent User Interfaces. Professor Lank's recent work has focused on determining user intention in computing systems. He has explored the role that measurable parameters of a user's action and the context of the user's action can play in allowing us to determine what a user is trying to accomplish. He has worked on computationally controlling mode in tablet computers, on tolerances in stylus selection gestures, and on endpoint prediction in mouse pointer motion. An overriding goal of this research area is a better understanding of the kinematics of user action using input devices like a mouse, an electronic stylus, or a finger.

Professor Lank is also active in pen-computing, specifically working with tablet computers, electronic whiteboards, and handheld computers such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). His early work studied interactive diagram recognition, seeking an understanding of similarities and differences in diagram notations with the goal of developing frameworks for recognizing a broad range of diagrams. His hypothesis was that the spatial arrangement and the order in which people draw symbols can provide additional information on the meaning of the diagram they are drawing, and that using this information can improve computer recognition algorithms. More recently, Professor Lank has been active in the MathBrush project, a University of Waterloo research project designing interactive tablet-based mathematical software.

Finally, Professor Lank maintains a general interest in the broad field of HCI, performing both qualitative and quantitative research studies. In collaboration with graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, he has explored handheld gaming, the work practices of mathematicians, usable privacy and security, and brand perceptions in on-line search, among other topics.

Degrees and awards

BSc (Prince Edward Island), PhD (Queen's)

Best of CHI Nominee (2008); National Science Foundation Career Award (2004)

Industrial and sabbatical experience

Prior to his faculty appointment at Waterloo, Professor Lank was a faculty member for four years at San Francisco State University, and spent a sabbatical term as a Research Assistant Professor at Waterloo in 2005. Professor Lank's non-academic experience includes work as a research intern and consultant at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (now PARC, Inc.) and as Chief Technical Officer of MediaShell Corporation, a Digital Rights Management Company based in Kingston, Ontario.

Representative publications

E. Saund and E. Lank. Minimizing Modes for Smart Selection in Sketching/Drawing Interfaces. To appear in Sketch-Based Interfaces and Modeling, J. Jorge (ed.), 2008.

J. Ruiz, D. Tausky, A. Bunt, E. Lank and R. Mann. Analyzing the kinematics of bivariate pointing. Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2008, pp. 251-258, 2008.

C. Szentgyorgyi, M. Terry, and E. Lank. Renegade gaming: practices surrounding social use of the Nintendo DS handheld gaming system. Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp.1463-1472, 2008.

J. Ruiz, A. Bunt, and E. Lank. A model of non-preferred hand mode switching. Proceeding of Graphics Interface 2008, pp. 49-56, 2008.

E. Al-Imam and E. Lank. PocketPad: Using Handhelds and Digital Pens to Manage Data in Mobile Contexts. Proceedings of ICDS 2007, pp. 13-18, 2007.

E. Lank, Y.-C. N. Cheng, and J. Ruiz. Endpoint prediction using motion kinematics. Proceedings of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp. 637-646, 2007.

E. Lank and E. Saund. Sloppy Selection: Providing an Accurate Interpretation of Imprecise Stylus Selection Gestures. Computers and Graphics, 29:4:490 - 500, 2005.

E. Lank and S. Phan. Focus+Context sketching on a pocket PC. Extended Abstracts of the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp. 1275-1278, 2004.

E. Saund and E. Lank. Stylus input and editing without prior selection of mode. Proceedings of the ACM Symposium on User Interface Systems and Technology (UIST), pp. 213-216, 2003.

University of Waterloo

Profiles by type