Mackay, Wendy

Wendy Mackay CHI 1985
Wendy Mackay at the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in San Francisco, CA, April 14-18, 1985.

Wendy Mackay is a Research Director (tenured Professor) at INRIA. She heads the ExSitu research group in Human-Computer Interaction, which includes faculty, students, and research staff from INRIA, CNRS, and the University of Paris-Sud. She was formerly the Vice President of Research in Computer Science at the Université Paris-Sud. Her research focuses on the design of innovative interactive systems that truly meet the needs of their users.

After studying experimental psychology, Mackay joined Digital Equipments Corporation (DEC), where she created a multimedia research group that produced the world’s first commercial interactive video system (IVIS), a pre-Hypercard multimedia authoring language, and more than 30 multimedia projects. She has subsequently managed research groups at MIT, where she studied electronic mail and cognitive overload. She then joined Xerox PARC’s EuroPARC, where she launched the area of ubiquitous computing. Along with her colleagues, she introduced the concept of augmented paper interfaces and explored how to integrate paper with online multimedia information.

Austin Henderson, Wendy Mackay, John Thomas, and Wendy Kellogg at ACM CHI 90 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference held at Seattle, Washington on 1990
Austin Henderson, Wendy Mackay, John Thomas, and Wendy Kellogg at ACM CHI 90 Human Factors in Computing Systems Conference held at Seattle, Washington in 1990.

Mackay has served as a visiting professor at the Université Paris-Sud, France, Aarhus University, Denmark, and Stanford Univeristy, Palo Alto, CA.  She has also served as Chair of ACM/SIGCHI, among other executive positions, as well as member of the ACM Publications Board and SIGBoard. She chaired the 2013 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Paris and has served as program chair or on the program committees of ACM CHI, ACM UIST, ACM CSCW, ACM DIS, and ACM Multimedia, among other conferences. Mackay has published more than 200 research articles on human-computer interaction.

Mackay’s research interests include multidisciplinary and participatory design, mixed reality and interactive paper, situated interaction and co-adaptive systems, human-computer partnerships, and multimedia and mediated communication. She was elected to the CHI Academy in 2009, received the SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, and was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Aarhus in 2017.

“Wendy Mackay has been a CHI Conference regular since 1983, consistently contributing to the organization of the conference.  She served as General Chair in 2013 and brought a record number of attendees to the conference in her adopted hometown of Paris.  Wendy also served SIGCHI in many other leadership positions, including becoming the Executive Chair.  Her early work on the customizability of user interfaces revealed both the possibilities and the limitations.  Later, she produced research on air traffic control systems, multimedia, family-oriented technology, email, and augmented reality.  Wendy and her husband, Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, make a powerful team.” – Ben Shneiderman



  • Ph.D. in Management Technological Innovation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990)
  • M.A. in Experimental Psychology, Northeastern University (1979)
  • B.A. in Psychology, University of California, San Diego (1977)


  • Research Director, Head of ExSitu, INRIA, Saclay, Île-de-France (2002 Present)
  • Vice President, Computer Science Department, Université Paris-Sud, France (2007 2010)
  • Senior Researcher, INRIA, Rocquencourt (2000 – 2002)
  • Visiting Professor, Univ. Aarhus, Denmark (1998 2000)
  • Senior Researcher,  CENA (1996 1997)
  • Senior Research Scientist, Rank Xerox EuroPARC (1991 1995)
  • GEEP Fellow Digital Equipment Corp. & MIT (1987 1990)
  • Technical Liaison, Project Athena, Digital Equipment Corp. & MIT (1986 1986)
  • Research and Development Manager, Digital Equipment Corp. (1983 1986)
  • Visiting Scientist, M.I.T., L.C.S. (1983 1986)
  • Cost Center Manager, Digital Equipment Corp. (1982 1983)
  • Unit Manager, Digital Equipment Corp. (1981 1982)
  • Educational Specialist, Digital Equipment Corp. (1979 1980)


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