Narges Mahyar (pronounced: Nar-guess Mah (“h” is not silent)-yaar) is an assistant professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She co-directs the HCI-VIS lab, which focuses on developing novel social computing and visualization tools to facilitate data analysis, communication, and exploration for real-world sociotechnical problems in domains such as civics and healthcare. She holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, an MS in Information Technology from the University of Malaya, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Tehran Azad University. Her Ph.D. was funded by SAP Business Objects for four years, where she worked closely with SAP experts and the research team to develop novel technologies for collaborative visual analytics tasks.

She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia from 2014-2016. Prior to joining UMass, she completed a second postdoctoral fellowship in the Design Lab at the University of California San Diego from September 2016-2018.


Narges’s research falls at the intersection of social computing and design with the goal of augmenting groups’ abilities to solve complex problems. She designs, develops, and evaluates novel social computing and visualization techniques that help people (both experts and non-experts) make better decisions. More recently, she has focused on exploring new strategies for scaling and diversifying public engagement in massive decision-making processes related to civic issues. The goal of her work is to advance civic technology that alleviates social inequality by including marginalized perspectives and leveraging the diversity of viewpoints and experiences to drive collective innovation. To build these technologies, she works closely with domain experts and affected population groups to understand their activities, current challenges, and ultimate goals.


Narges’s research papers have received awards at the premier venues in Visualization, Social computing, and Landscape Architecture including the honorable mention award from DIS 2021, the best paper award from CSCW 2020, the outstanding paper award from Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture 2017, the honorable mention award from Interactive Surfaces and Spaces conference in 2016, and the best paper award from IEEE VAST 2014. She has served on the program committee of CHI 2018 Late-Breaking Work (LBW), Creativity and Cognition Conference (CC), Interactive Surfaces and Spaces (ISS), Graphics Interface (GI), and regularly reviews for most major conferences and journals on HCI, visualization and social computing.

Latest News

  • October 2021: Our paper “A Framework for Open Civic Design: Integrating Public Participation, Crowdsourcing, and Design Thinking” was accepted for publication in the ACM Journal for Digital Government: Research and Practice.
  • September 2021: I will be serving as an AC for CHI 2022.
  • July 2021: Our CommunityPulse paper received an Honorable Mention Award at DIS 2021.
  • June 2021: Our paper “Designing with Pictographs: Envision Topics without Sacrificing Understanding” was accepted for publication in IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (TVCG) and is available here.
  • June 2021: I co-organized the Chart Question Answering Workshop at CVPR 2021. You can find a recording of the event on the workshop website.
  • June 2021: The ACM Creativity and Cognition 2021 Conference was a great success. You can now access the proceedings online.
  • June 2021: We presented our paper “RisingEMOTIONS: Bridging Art and Technology to Increase Public Engagement with Climate Change” at ACM Creativity and Cognition 2021.
  • Dec 2020: Due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, ACM Creativity and Cognition 2021 will now take place virtually in June 2021.
  • Nov 2020: Together with Ali Sarvghad (CICS) and Pari Riahi (Department of Architecture), I was awarded an ADVANCE Collaborative Research Seed Grant on “MAPPING INSTABILITY: The Effects of the Pandemic on the Civic Life of a Small Town.” More information on the grant is available here.
  • Oct 2020: Our CommunityClick paper received the best paper award at CSCW 2020.
  • Oct 2020: Our CG&A invited article on “Designing Technology for Sociotechnical Problems: Challenges & Considerations” is published and available here.
  • Oct 2020: We presented our IEEE VIS poster “Looking to the Past to Visualize the Present: Revisiting W.E.B. Du Bois’ Abolitionist Visualizations” as part of CICS Community Discussion on Antiracism. More information on the event is available here.
  • Oct 2020: We presented our paper “How to evaluate data visualizations across different levels of understanding” at BELIV 2020.
  • Sept 2020: I was selected as a 2020–2021 UMass ADVANCE Faculty Fellow to promote gender equity for STEM faculty at UMass as part of the NSF-funded UMass ADVANCE program.
  • Aug 2020: With Gerome Miklau and Ali Sarvghad, I received a medium NSF, SATC grant ($1,191,106) for investigating “Principles and Algorithms for Visual Data Exploration Under Differential Privacy.”
  • Aug 2020: I served on the program Committee for IEEE VIS short papers.
  • July 2020: Our paper “Rehabilitation Games in Real-World Clinical Settings: Practices, Challenges, and Opportunities” has been accepted for publication at the ACM Trans. on CHI (ACM ToCHI). This work will be presented at ACM CHI 2021.
  • June 2020: Our collaborative art installation project, RisingEmotions, was selected as a CODAawards Top 100 project! More information on the CODAawards Top 100 is available here.
  • Feb 2020: Our papers on “Exploring How International Graduate Students in the US Seek Support” and “Towards Understanding Desiderata for Large-Scale Civic Input Analysis” have been accepted for publication in CHI LBW 2020.
  • Dec 2019: I will be the paper co-chair for ACM Creativity and Cognition conference 2021.
  • Dec 2019: The opening for RisingEMOTIONS, our collaborative art project that displays projected flood levels and people’s emotions about sea-level rise, will happen on Dec 7 at East Boston Library.
  • Oct 2019: I gave two talks on “Social Computing and Visualization for Democratizing Public Participation” at University of Toronto and Ontario Tech University.
  • Oct 2019: I gave a talk on “Community-Centered Urban Design at Scale” at UMass department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning. You can read more about the event here.
photograph of Narges Mahyar
Narges Mahyar
Assistant Professor

University of Massachusetts Amherst
College of Information & Computer Sciences
Email: nmahyar at cs.umass.edu
Office: Room 322
Address: 140 Governors Dr, Amherst, MA 01003

 Google Scholar
 HCI-VIS Lab Website

Talks & Conferences

  • DIS 2021, Jun 28-Jul 2
  • ACM C&C, Jun 20-24
  • CHI 2021, May 8-13
  • VIS 2020, Oct 25-30
  • CSCW 2020, Oct 17-21
  • VIS 2019, Oct 20-25
  • DIS 2019, June 23-28
  • CHI 2019, May 4-7
  • NSF Workshop, Apr 8-9
  • Talk at CS Colloquium, WPI, Jan 11, 2019
  • IEEE VIS 2018, Oct 21-26
  • MIT,  Design-a-Hack-a-thon, Sept 15-17
  • UBC HCI Symposium , May 12
  • CHI 2018, Apr 21-26
  • UMass Amherst, Mar 28-29
  • Innovation in Participatory Democracy Conference, Mar 8-10
  • New Jersey Institute of Tech, Feb 20
  • Virginia Tech, Feb 12-13
  • San Jose State U, Feb 6
  • U of Illinois at Chicago, Feb 1