Nilavra Bhattacharya   |   নীলাভ্র ভট্টাচার্য্য 

 How to pronounce my names?     NILAVRA      BHATTACHARYA (Voice Courtesy: Google Translate)

Selfie at the Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA

I am a PhD student in the Information eXperience lab (IX Lab) at The University of Texas at Austin. I am supervised by Dr. Jacek Gwizdka.

I study how people find, evaluate, and consume information online, and how people’s information behaviour relates to their knowledge acquisition. This interdisciplinary research direction is known as Searching as Learning (SAL), and spans Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Interactive Information Retrieval (IIR), and Neuro-Information Science, among others.

I use eye-tracking, EEG, and GSR (which fall under the umbrella of Neuro-Physiological methods) to observe people’s behaviour as they interact with online information. These bio-signals help us to understand, model, and predict various aspects of human information-behaviour, such as relevance-judgement, knowledge-gain, and mental workload. My broader vision is to use these bio-signals as real-time, implicit-feedback mechanisms for next-generation interactive computing systems.

Google Scholar has the most up-to-date list of my publications. You can also find them in my CV.


2021.03: Our position paper titled Information Search as Knowledge Gain: Towards New Measures is accepted at Made to Measure workshop co-located with CHIIR 2021.


2021.01: On behalf of HCI4SouthAsia, we are organizing the e-Seminar: AI for the Next Billion, with support from SIGCHI.

2020.12: My dissertation research proposal: A Longitudinal Study to Understand Learning During Search, is accepted at the ACM CHIIR 2021 Doctoral Consortium.


2020.12: Our workshop proposal on From the Margins to the Centre: Defining New Mission and Vision for HCI Research in South Asia is accepted at ACM CHI 2021.


2020.10: Our ACM CSCW 2020 paper Vision Skills Needed to Answer Visual Questions received an honourable mention award.


2020.09: I successfully passed the three-stage Doctoral Qualifying Procedure at the Texas iSchool.


2020.09: I am co-designing and co-teaching a new Statistics Course: Quantifying User Experience with my doctoral advisor, Dr. Jacek Gwizdka.


2020.08: Our short paper titled Visualizing and Quantifying Vocabulary Learning During Search is accepted at the Visualizing and Quantifying Vocabulary Learning During Search (IWILDS), co-located with ACM CIKM 2020.


2020.08: Virtually presented our CHIIR 2020 paper on combining eye-tracking, computer vision, and information relevance.


2020.08: Our paper titled Vision Skills Needed to Answer Visual Questions is accepted at 2020 ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2020), now online due to COVID-19. Honourable Mention Award.


2020.07: Our paper titled Captioning Images for a Real Use Case is accepted at 2020 European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV 2020), now online due to COVID-19.


2020.04: Our paper Towards Real-time Webpage Relevance Prediction Using Convex Hull Based Eyetracking Features is accepted at 2020 ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA-ETWEB 2020) at Stuttgart, Germany (meeting cancelled due to COVID-19).

2019.12: My photograph of the Casa Milà in Barcelona is selected for UT Austin’s “2020 Texas Global Calendar” (UT News report).


2019.12: Our paper Relevance Prediction from Eye-movements Using Semi-interpretable Convolutional Neural Networks is accepted at 2020 ACM Conference on Human Information Interaction Retrieval (CHIIR 2020) at Vancouver, Canada (meeting cancelled due to COVID-19).


2019.07: Our paper titled Why Does a Visual Question Have Different Answers? is accepted at 2019 IEEE Internation Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV 2019) at Seoul, Korea.


2019.03: Our paper Analyzing Gaze Transition Behavior Using Bayesian Mixed Effects Markov Models is accepted at 2019 ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA 2019) at Denver, Colorado, USA. Best Short Paper Award.

2018.12: My photograph of the Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland is selected for UT Austin International Office’s 2019 calendar (UT International Office Facebook Video).


2018.11: Our paper Measuring Learning During Search: Differences in Interactions, Eye-Gaze, and Semantic Similarity to Expert Knowledge is accepted at 2019 ACM Conference on Human Information Interaction Retrieval (CHIIR 2019) at Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


2018.05 – 08: Summer internship in Berlin, Germany at QuoData GmbH (DAAD RISE Professional Praktikant).


2018.04: Our paper Relating Eye-Tracking Measures With Changes In Knowledge on Search Tasks is accepted at 2018 ACM Symposium on Eye Tracking Research & Applications (ETRA 2018) at Warsaw, Poland.


2018.03: Awarded the DAAD RISE Professional 2018 Scholarship.

2017.12: Our paper is accepted at 52nd Annual Convention of Computer Society of India (CSI 2017). Best Paper Runner-Up Award.


2017.08: I joined the doctoral program at the School of Information, The University of Texas at Austin.

The institutions I have called ‘Home’ over the years:

Texas iSchool
PhD Student
Aug ’17 – present

#WhatStartsHere Changes The World.

IT Dept., CESC Limited
Software Engineer
Aug ’15 – Jul ’17

(India’s first power utility. Registered in 1897 in London)

IIEST Shibpur
BE (Comp. Sci. & Tech.)
Jul ’11 – May ’15

(arguably India’s second oldest engineering college)

M. H. Memorial School
ICSE (Std X), ISC (Std XII)
Apr ’99 – Mar ’11