Brent Hecht
Assistant Professor
Computer Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota

Keller Hall 5-191
Twitter (@bhecht)
Google Scholar

My Lab

GroupLens (with Loren Terveen, Joe Konstan, and Lana Yarosh)


Mar. 2015: Our CHI 2015 paper on geographic disparities in the "localness" of user-generated content received an Honorable Mention at CHI 2015, indicating a Top-5% submission (w/ Shilad Sen, Heather Ford, Mark Graham, Oliver Keyes).

Jan. 2015: Received a CSCW 2015 Best Paper Award (indicates top 1% of submissions) for our paper on Mechanical Turk and gold standards (w/ Shilad Sen and seven awesome undergrads at Macalester College)!

Jan. 2015: Talk at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, CA.

Dec. 2014: My MOOC wrapped up successfully, with 1312 students passing and receiving certificates!

Dec. 2014: CHI 2015 PC meeting.

Nov. 2014: Headed to ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014, where I will present our work on smartphone positioning on subway networks and my student Toby J. Li will present our work on Tobler's First Law of Geography.

Nov. 2014: Presenting our work on designing better location fields in user profiles at ACM GROUP 2014.

Oct. 2014: Gave a talk at 3M's corporate HQ in St. Paul.

Sept. 2014: My MOOC on spatial computing has launched! (co-taught w/ Shashi Shekhar)

Sept. 2014: Gave the keynote at GIO 2014.

August 2014: Three papers accepted into CSCW 2015 (w/ co-authors Jacob Thebault-Spieker, Morten Warncke-Wang, Shilad Sen, Loren Terveen, and several awesome undergraduates at the University of Minnesota and Macalester College)

August 2014: Submit to the ACM IUI 2015 Student Consortium! (Co-chaired by me and Wai-Tat Fu)

August 2014: "SubwayPS: Towards Enabling Smartphone Positioning in Underground Public Transportation Systems" accepted at ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014 (w/ Thomas Stockx and Johannes Schöning).

August 2014: The National Science Foundation has funded my proposal "Automatically Generating Contextually-Relevant Visualizations" (collaborative proposal with Dr. Eytan Adar)

July 2014: Registration has opened for my MOOC on spatial computing (co-taught w/ Shashi Shekhar)!

Brent J. Hecht, Ph.D.

Brent Hecht is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Minnesota. With interests that lie at the intersection of human–computer interaction, geography, and big data, his research centers on the relationship between big data and human factors such as culture. A major focus of his work involves volunteered geographic information and its application in location-aware technologies.

Quick Bio:

Dr. Hecht received a Ph.D. in computer science from Northwestern University, a Master’s degree in geography from UC Santa Barbara, and dual Bachelor’s degrees in computer science and geography from Macalester College. He was a keynote speaker at WikiSym – the premiere conference on wikis and open collaboration – and has received awards for his research at top-tier publication venues in human-computer interaction and geography (e.g. ACM CHI, COSIT). He has collaborated with Google Research, Xerox PARC, and Microsoft Research, and his work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, MIT Technology Review, New Scientist, AllThingsDigital, ACM TechNews, and various international TV, radio, and Internet outlets.

For Prospective Students:

I am currently looking for students excited about doing work at the intersection of HCI, geography, and big data. Undergraduate and graduate students who would like to join my group should feel free to e-mail me directly. Please include a little bit about yourself (e.g. your major, degrees, CV/resume) and let me know something about your research interests. I have worked with students with backgrounds in computer science, geography (with strong technical skills) and/or related disciplines.

Selected Recent Publications:

AAAI ICWSM 2015: Warncke-Wang, M., Ranjan, V. Terveen, L., and Hecht, B. Misalignment Between Supply and Demand of Quality Content in Peer Production Communities. Proceedings of ICWSM 2015. Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.

ACM CHI 2015: Sen, S., Ford, H., Musicant, D., Graham, M., Keyes, O., and Hecht, B. 2015. Barriers to the Localness of Volunteered Geographic Information. Proceedings of CHI 2015. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF
* Honorable Mention (Top 5% of Submissions)

ACM CHI 2015: Samsonov, P., Tang, X., Schöning, J., Kuhn, W., and Hecht, B. 2015. You Can't Smoke Here: Towards Support for Space Usage Rules in Location-aware Technologies. Proceedings of CHI 2015. Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.
Paper PDF

ACM CSCW 2015: Sen, S., Lesicko, M., Giesel, M., Gold, R., Hillman, B., Naden, S., Russell, J., Wang, Z., and Hecht, B. 2015. Turkers, Scholars, "Arafat" and "Peace": Cultural Communities and Algorithmic Gold Standards. Proceedings of CSCW 2015. New York: ACM Press.
* Best Paper Award Winner (Top 1% of Submissions)
Paper PDF

ACM CSCW 2015: Thebault-Spieker, J., Terveen, L., and Hecht, B. 2015. Avoiding the South Side and the Suburbs: The Geography of Mobile Crowdsourcing Markets. Proceedings of CSCW 2015. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM CSCW 2015: Warncke-Wang, M., Ayukaev, V., Hecht, B., and Terveen, L. 2015. The Success and Failure of Quality Improvement Projects in Peer Production Communities. Proceedings of CSCW 2015. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014: Stockx, T., Hecht, B., and Schöning, J. 2014. SubwayPS: Towards Enabling Smartphone Positioning in Underground Public Transportation Systems. Proceedings of ACM SIGSPATIAL 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

WikiSym 2014: Sen, S., Li, T., Hecht, B. 2014. WikiBrain: Democratizing computation on Wikipedia. Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym / WikiSym 2014). New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF | API Website

AAAI ICWSM 2014: Hecht, B., Stephens, M. 2014. A Tale of Cities: Urban Biases in Volunteered Geographic Information. Proceedings of ICWSM 2014. Menlo Park, CA: AAAI Press.
Paper PDF | Blog Post

ACM DIS 2014: Schöning, J., Hecht, B., Kuhn, W. 2014. Informing Online and Mobile Map Design with the Collective Wisdom of Cartographers. Proceedings of DIS 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM GROUP 2014: Wang, T., Harper, F. M., Hecht, B. 2014. Designing Better Location Fields in User Profiles. Proceedings of GROUP 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM CHI 2014: Gao, T., Hullman, J., Adar, E., Hecht, B., Diakopoulos, N. 2014. NewsViews: An Automated Pipeline for Creating Custom Geovisualizations for News. Proceedings of CHI 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

ACM CSCW 2014: Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., Hecht, B., Morris, M., Teevan, J., Gergle, D. 2014. To Search or to Ask: The Routing of Information Needs Between Traditional Search Engines and Social Networks. Proceedings of CSCW 2014. New York: ACM Press.
Paper PDF

PH.D. THESIS: Hecht, B. 2013. The Mining and Application of Diverse Cultural Perspectives in User-Generated Content. Northwestern University.
* Best Dissertation Award (Northwestern Elec. Engineering and Computer Science Department) Preprint PDF