(aside image)

Antti Oulasvirta, Associate Professor

Department of Communications and Networking
School of Electrical Engineering
Aalto University

Bio: Antti Oulasvirta is an Associate Professor at Aalto University where he leads the User Interfaces research group. He was previously a Senior Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics and the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction at Saarland university. He received his doctorate in Cognitive Science from the University of Helsinki in 2006, after which he was a Fulbright Scholar at the School of Information in University of California-Berkeley in 2007-2008 and a Senior Researcher at Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT in 2008-2011. During his postgraduate studies in 2002-2003, he was an exchange student at UC Berkeley's Neuropsychology Lab and did an internship at T-Labs in Berlin in 2006. He was awarded the ERC Starting Grant (2015-2020) for research on computational design of user interaces. Dr. Oulasvirta serves as an associate editor for International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, a column editor for IEEE Computer, and he frequently participates in the paper committees of HCI conferences, including the ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI). His work has been awarded the Best Paper Award and Best Paper Honorable Mention at CHI eight times between 2008 and 2016. At MobileHCI, he received the Best Note Award in 2011 and the Most Influential Paper Award in 2013. He has held keynote talks on computational user interface design in NordiCHI'14, CoDIT'14, and EICS'16.


The means for constructing user interfaces have extended vastly, but we see limited progress in adopting them. Our group's mission is to identify and exploit optima of human-computer performance. We formulate interface design problems as optimization tasks, develop predictive modeling of interaction, and implement computational methods for interface design. Whereas previous work in human-computer interaction has been largely based on trial and error, this approach allows aggressive exploration of design spaces for desired designs. Computational methods are particularly useful when the search space becomes too complex to be explored manually. Unlike user-centered design, optimization guarantees better and even optimal designs. Optimization allows designers to delegate well-known problems and focus on truly creative aspects of a design problem. Even novices can design great interfaces without understanding design.

Topics Group homepage


Full publication list in Scholar

Paper highlights in 2015-2016:

Awards and Recognition

Best papers Invited keynote talks

Teaching and Master's Thesis Topics

We are part of the Aalto Master's Program in Computer, Communication, and Information Sciences, offering a specialization track on Interactive Technologies. Course offerings in 2016-2017: See the Aalto MyCourses page for details.

I have several exciting Master's thesis topics. To inquire topics, please email me with your CV, transcript, and letter of interest.

PhD Students

Former students

We are always looking for outstanding PhD students interested in modeling, optimization, and experimental studies in HCI. Doing a PhD in our group means researching an advanced topic in user interfaces for four years in an intellectually stimulating environment. The applicant should have a Master's degree in computer science, engineering, psychology, or a related field and show an outstanding academic record. To inquire positions, please contact me per email, sending your CV, transcript with grades, and letter of interest. There are also regular calls for PhD students in HICT.


Electrical Engineering Building, Department of Communications and Networking, Otakaari 5, 13000 Aalto University, Finland
Email: firstname dot lastname at aalto dot fi
Directions via Google Maps