I am an Assistant Professor and member of the founding faculty of the Department of Information Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and direct the CU VisuaLab. I also hold an appointment in the Department of Computer Science and am a Fellow in the Institute of Cognitive Science and the ATLAS Institute. My research sits at the intersection of information visualization, data science, computer graphics, and cognitive science.

Along with a team of fantastic students and collaborators, I look at the relationship between cognition and visualization design—how does visualization design enable people to better understand and engage with data? How can visualization support accurate analysis in the face of increasingly large datasets? How might visualization systems provide more accurate insights? How can visualizations leverage immersive technologies to bridge spatial and temporal gaps in analysis? Through this process, I develop interactive visualization systems, guidelines, and techniques for exploring large, complex data. This work has inspired collaborations across a variety of domains including genomics, bioinformatics, the humanities, biochemistry, and perceptual psychology.

I received my Ph.D. in Computer Sciences as part of the Visual Computing Lab under Prof. Michael Gleicher. I completed my B.S. in Computer Science at the University of Washington in 2009 as a NASA Space Grant Scholar and my M.S. in Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2011 as part of the joint UW-Department of Energy BACTER Institute. My broader research interests include graphics and visualization, human-computer interaction, color science, visual data mining, interactive machine learning, and perceptual science.

If you're interested in a project, please reach out to me. Always happy to chat!



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 News & Updates


08.2019: Muthukrishnan & Szafir's paper "Using Machine Learning and Visualization for Qualitative Inductive Analyses of Big Data" accepted to MLUI at IEEE VIS 2019.

08.2019: Wu, Tanis (Coleman Institute), & Szafir's paper "Designing Communicative Visualization for People with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities" accepted to VisComm at IEEE VIS 2019.

08.2019: Supriya Naidu successfully defended her M.S. Thesis "Measuring the Impact of Color as a Pop-Out E ffect in Scatterplots." Congrats, Supriya!

06.2019: Whitlock, Wu, & Szafir's paper "Designing for Mobile and Immersive Visual Analytics in the Field" accepted to IEEE VIS 2019.

06.2019: Smart, Wu, & Szafir's paper "Color Crafting: Automating the Construction of Designer Quality Color Ramps" accepted to IEEE VIS 2019.

 Upcoming Travel


10.20-10.25: IEEE VIS
Vancouver, B.C.

11.8: IUPUI
Indianapolis, IN