ClarisseClarisse Abalos is a 4th year student in the UVA School of Engineering studying Computer Science. Most of her work is concerned with Human Computer Interaction and User Experience. She invests her time in creating tools and environments that assist people to visualize, analyze, interpret, interact, and manipulate data. Her work aims to identify ways to maximize efficiencies in cost, time, and space.

Artificial Intelligence

With an interest in Artificial Intelligence, she has studied how to teach computers to perceive, think, and make decisions like humans do. Her work involves various ways of taking in audio, visual, and textual signals from the environment to be received by machines that store, classify, and represent the data in an interface that is more accessible to users.

Model Based Utility Based Agent

Model Based Utility Based Agent

Model Based Goal Based Agent

Model Based Goal Based Agent

Computer Vision

Clarisse has done research with Scott Acton in the Virginia Image & Video Analysis Lab. She created a Java plugin for ImageJ that served as a log and graphical user interface for researchers manipulating 3D image stacks to be used for Automated Image Analysis for Neuroinformatics. She also did some ground truthing to test a program made for the Department of Transportation that detected and tracked vehicles in a series of satellite images.

Clarisse has used Processing to find measurements and track the object of closest point by extracting depth values from the Kinect’s infrared camera sensors. She has visualized finger motions, by connecting points drawn over time from the object of closest point with a trailing line. She used depth ranges to isolate objects in a given space.


Her independent research capstone project with John Stankovic in the Smart Home Lab involves processing acoustic data from the Kinect’s four microphone array and extracting features to analyze pitch and sound over time to detect potential signs of agitation in patients who may exhibit symptoms of dementia including screaming, laughing, and crying.

In machine learning, there is often a need for human supervision to act as a mediator, to input data, groundtruth, label, and validate the outputted representational information.

Social and Societal Implications

In her Science, Technology, and Society thesis, she acknowledges that there are huge benefits to having mobility, immutability, and combinability in inscriptions that enable action at a distance, surveillance, self-control, and accountability. However, she argues there may be biased assumptions made from a reliance on numerical representations. By questioning epistemic knowledge, organizational shifts, social representations, and entrusted agents of authority in decision making she critiques the societal shift in relying on information systems and removing the crucial human element.

Information Purity

She investigates different ways that operating systems handle audio and attempt to achieve bit-perfect playback and processes like filtering out information for noise reduction, data compression, and encoding of information.

Agile Development

Clarisse is working for SimonComputing whose motto is “Software Development Simplified”. Here she has learned not to be such a pack rat and not to include unnecessary libraries because of the unknown dependences and difficulties they may cause.

In software development, it is necessary to prototype early and test along the way. This allows for problems to be resolved in the beginning during the design phase, before the developers become too attached to the time and energy invested in their product. Developers need to be willing to have throwaway prototypes, start fresh, and go back to the beginning in iterative design. Clarisse has worked in Agile Development environments that practice SCRUM, incremental iterative software development. This has encouraged group members to check up on each other’s progress and difficulties regularly as they go through the development process of building on user stories.

Information Hierarchy and Relational Algebra to Facilitate Human Computer Interaction

What drove her to be an engineer was the idea of technology enabling people to do things that they normally wouldn’t be able to do, so she has a strong focus on wanting to go above and beyond the needs and requirements of the user and Human Computer Interaction to make things easier for people.

information hierarchyIn her work she has developed programs to take input from a user to automatically generate the code—that would normally take about six weeks of human labor to produce—to be outputted in a matter of minutes.

Code Generator

She strives to find and map relationships, similarities, and significance shared by different fields, people, and systems. She wishes to better visualize the abundance of data stored in databases and their relations and patterns so that people can have a better understanding of what information is out there. To do so she has created websites that allow for different ways to explore and navigate the information.


She also created a plugin for Terminal Area Route Generation Evaluation and Traffic Simulation that enables analysts to import information from a database, display and filter information taken from audio-hot spotting of voice communications, and interpolate the times they were uttered with track data to represent them on the map of the flight track. The interface allowed analysts to narrow what was being displayed based on such attributes as sector, carrier, aircraft id (ACID), command type, date and time, and confidence level. This tool would be used to analyze problem areas that need to be fixed to reduce workload, inefficiencies, and potential for error caused by air traffic controllers.

track interpolationSome key design principles to consider that make it easier for users to know what to do when faced with an interface include visibility, feedback, constraints, mapping, consistency, and affordance. She also values simplicity by ensuring stability, maintainability, reliability, readability.

Game Design

Clarisse likes to lead people into experiences and create spaces where people can come together and do things they normally can’t do, explore things they might not normally get to explore, and express themselves in ways they might not normally get to. Game Design allows people to voluntarily participate and make interactive choices in an enjoyable way.

She developed a mobile game for the Android tablet. It was a mutli-player turn-based guessing and drawing game modeled after Pictionary and Telephone like Telestations. The original message, when drawn and interpreted by different players, morphs over time.

Clarisse is interested in the mechanics and technical details that make up games, but is also very concerned with the aesthetics and dynamics experienced by the users. She often critiques whether the media make sense and the users understand what they are intended to do. Media can stimulate the senses, allow people to do things they can’t do in real life, tell a story, challenge people, force people to work together, compete, discover, be creative and expressive, or simply serve as a way to pass time.


Clarisse values building community and fellowship. She enjoys creating places for members of the community to come together and celebrate, labor, petition, mourn, support, and direct each other towards hope. She gathered leaders from the Organization of Young Filipino Americans and Asian Intervarsity to hold a Candle Light Vigil for Typhoon Haiyan with stations to encourage this.

She enjoys seeing the tangible results of her efforts when she builds houses with Habitat for Humanity for underprivileged refugee families in Charlottesville.

Currently she is interested in studying philosophy and theology from an ontological and epistemic standpoint while also considering practical life applications. She has served as a small group leader to facilitate discussion and teach first years more about God and Christianity.

She has served as the Outreach Coordinator of Grace Christian Fellowship. She encourages mentorship and is a proponent of sharing learned experiences and values with one another. She thinks it is important to invite people who may not be familiar with the discourse to be able to relate and understand and feel free to participate.

Abalos Simple Map