Bederson, Ben

Bederson at CHI 2005
Catherine Plaisant, Ben Bederson, and James Landay (left to right) at the 22nd Human Computer Interaction Lab Symposium at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2005.

Benjamin Bederson is a prolific researcher with diverse projects. His early work on zoomable user interfaces allowed for the development of Pad++ and Piccolo, which in turn led to the development of software like SpaceTree, DateLens, and PhotoMesa. Today, this work forms the core of such everyday tools as zoomable maps. He is also a co-founder of Zumobi, a mobile app company that partners with international premium brands to produce engaging content for diverse mobile devices.

Bederson at CHI 2012
Brad Myers (right) presenting Ben Bederson with the plaque commemorating his election to the CHI Academy during the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Austin, TX in May 2012.

In 2010, Bederson and University of Maryland colleague Allison Druin created the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) for which they were awarded the 2010 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award. The ICDL is a unique resource that brings complex search functions to a juvenile audience and offers multiple search options, ranging from the common – age group and genre – to the uncommon – color of the book’s cover.

His recent work has focused on human computation: “an approach to combine human with computational effort to solve problems at a scale and quality that neither could accomplish alone.” One of these projects is MonoTrans, a collaborative translation project co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and Google.

Bederson was awarded the 2010 ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award and was named both an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a member of the CHI Academy in 2012.

“Ben B’s remarkable software engineering skills were productively applied to developing powerful toolkits such as Piccolo, implementing the International Children’s Digital Library, and developing zooming strategies.  We often differed on professional issues, but I always learned from Ben and respected his positions.  Ben is a terrific colleague, so I was pleased to turn over the HCIL Directorship to him in 2000.  One of my most satisfying professional accomplishments was attracting Allison Druin and Ben Bederson to our campus.” – Ben Shneiderman


  • Ph.D. in Computer Science, New York University (1992)
  • M.S. in Computer Science, New York University (1989)
  • B.S. in Computer Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1986)


  • Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives and Executive Director of the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center (2014 – 2018), Professor in the Department of Computer Science (1998 – Present), University of Maryland, College Park
  • Co-Founder, Hazel Analytics (2014 – present)
  • Co-Founder, Zumobi (2006 – 2014)
  • Professor, University of New Mexico, (1995 – 1997)


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