Will Epperson

I’m a Ph.D. student in the HCII at CMU advised by Dominik Moritz and Adam Perer.

I build interactive tools to help data scientists better understand and make decisions with their data by automating the tedious parts of analysis and letting analysts spend more time focused on data insights. Data quality issues are often “silent” – models will still train but predictions will be inaccurate or dashboards may unknowingly present inaccurate metrics, making data understanding and debugging a critical part of analysis. My research explores how to best support data debugging through tools that model user interest during analysis, augment their data programming environment with automatic visualization, and support reusing previous analysis workflows.


Education

August 2020 - Present Ph.D. in Human Computer Interaction
Carnegie Mellon University
Advisors: Dominik Moritz, Adam Perer
Sample Coursework: HCI Process and Theory, Computational Medicine, Human Judgement and Decision Making, Causality and ML, Advanced NLP

August 2016 — May 2020 B.S. in Computer Science
Georgia Institute of Technology
GPA: 4.0, Summa Cum Laude, threads in Intelligence and Modeling/Simulation Sample Coursework: Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Computer Architecture, Algorithms, Computer Simulation, Information Visualization

Publications

Leveraging Analysis History for Improved In Situ Visualization Recommendation
Will Epperson, Doris Jung-Lin Lee, Leijie Wang, Kunal Agarwal, Aditya Parameswaran, Dominik Moritz, Adam Perer
Solas is a visualization recommendation tool that uses the history of analysis for in situ recommendations in Jupyter.
EuroVis 22: Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis). Rome, Italy, 2022.
Project PDF Code BibTeX

Strategies for Reuse and Sharing among Data Scientists in Software Teams
Will Epperson, April Yi Wang, Robert DeLine, Steven M. Drucker
Interviews and a survey with 149 data scientists at Microsoft revealed five distinct strategies for sharing and reusing analysis code along with factors that encourage or discourage reuse.
ICSE 22: ACM International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE). Pittsburgh, PA, 2022.
Project PDF Recording Slides BibTeX

Diff in the Loop: Supporting Data Comparison in Exploratory Data Analysis
April Yi Wang, Will Epperson, Robert DeLine, Steven M. Drucker
Diff in the Loop supports tracking, comparing, and visualizing differences in datasets during iterative data analysis.
SIGCHI 22: ACM Symposium on Computer Human Interaction (CHI). New Orleans, LA, 2022.
Project PDF BibTeX

RECAST: Interactive Auditing of Automatic Toxicity Detection Models
Austin P. Wright, Omar Shaikh, Haekyu Park, Will Epperson, Muhammed Ahmed, Stephane Pinel, Diyi Yang, Duen Horng (Polo) Chau
Interactive Auditing of Automatic Toxicity Detection Models
24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing. 2021.
Project PDF BibTeX

FairVis: Visual Analytics for Discovering Intersectional Bias in Machine Learning
Angel Cabrera, Will Epperson, Fred Hohman, Minsuk Kahng, Jamie Morgenstern, Duen Horng (Polo) Chau
Discovering intersectional ML Bias through interactive visualization.
IEEE Conference on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST). Vancouver, Canada, 2019.
Project Demo PDF Blog Recording Code BibTeX

Talks

Leveraging Analysis History for Improved In Situ Visualization Recommendation
June 2022EuroVis 22: Eurographics Conference on Visualization

Strategies for Reuse and Sharing among Data Scientists in Software Teams
May 2022ICSE 22: ACM International Conference on Software Engineering

FairVis
May 2019VIS 19: IEEE Visualization Conference

Honors and Awards

2019PURA: President's Undergraduate Research Award
$1500 research grant to continue work on FairVis project

2016Stamps President's Scholarship
Full ride scholarship given to 40 incoming freshman at Georgia Tech

Research Experience

August 2020 - PresentCarnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Graduate Researcher, Data Interaction Group (DIG)
Advisor: Dominik Moritz, Adam Perer
Member of the DIG research group, working on novel data visualizations, ML interpretation techniques, and interactive data systems.
Relevant Skills: Python, Javascript

January 2019 - May 2020Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Researcher, Polo Club of Data Science
Advisor: Duen Horng (Polo) Chau
Member of the Polo Club of Data Science working on novel data visualizations to find fairness issues in Machine Learning models
Relevant Skills: Python, Javascript

January 2018 - May 2019Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Undergraduate Researcher, Automated Algorithm Design
Advisor: Jason Zutty, Greg Rohling
Worked on EMADE algorithm design engine to implement sentiment analysis pipeline to analyze news articles to aid in predicting stock price movements using genetic algorithms. Led project to visualize the genetic algorithm evolution process.
Relevant Skills: Python, Javascript

Industry Experience

Summer 2022Databricks, San Franciso, CA
Software Engineering Contractor
Mentor: Kanit Wongsuphasawat
Designed and delivered production feature for creating dashboards by specifying fields of interest in a dataset.
Relevant Skills: Typescript, Python

Summer 2021Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA
Research Intern, VIDA Group
Mentor: Steve Drucker, Rob DeLine
Research intern working on data science tools. Lead project around reuse and sharing in data science, published at ICSE 2022. Also involved with project around visualizing data frame differenes published at CHI 2022.
Relevant Skills: Python, Typescript

Summer 2019Point72 Asset Management, New York, NY
Data Analytics Intern, Market Intelligence Group
Mentor: Trevor Rempel
Worked as Data Scientist in alternative data space to clean, model, and understand large datasets
Relevant Skills: Python, Distributed Computing in Spark

Summer 2018Ultimate Software, Weston, FL
Software Development Intern, Innovation Strategies Team
Mentor: Joseph Cutrono
Designed and developed Slack app to integrate with the UltiPro HR management tool. App published to Slack app store.
Relevant Skills: Typescript, REST API development

Summer 2015The Home Depot, Atlanta, GA
Software Development Intern
Developed web app for tracking candidate progress throughout hiring process for internal HR use.
Relevant Skills: Java, HTML/CSS/Javascript

Mentees

During my PhD, I have had the pleasure of mentoring the following undergraduate students on research projects.

Summer 2021 - Fall 2021 Leijie Wang
Visualization recommendation for python in notebooks using history

Fall 2021 - Spring 2022 Asad Sheikh
Visualization recommendation for SQL using history

Spring 2022+ Vaishnavi Gorantla
Fact generation from data and presentation as text

Teaching

Spring 2023Graduate Teaching Assistant
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Programmable User Interfaces, Instructor: Scott Hudson
Taught recitation, designed assignments for class about UI design and intro HTML/CSS/Javascript.

Fall 2022Graduate Teaching Assistant
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
Interactive Data Science, Instructor: Adam Perer and John Stamper
Graded and office hours for class about using jupyter, visualization, steamlit and related tech for data science.

August 2017 - December 2018Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
Intro to Database Systems (CS 4400), Instructor: Monica Sweat
Designed projects, held office hours and graded for relational databases class.

Leadership & Activities

January 2019 - May 2020 Student Ambassador
Georgia Institute of Technology Alumni Association
Serve as official representative of the Institute at events/tours for alumni, prospective students, and special guests.

January 2018 - May 2019 Executive Board Member -- Threads Co-chair
Stamps Scholars National Convention 2019
Executive board member of Stamps Scholars National Convention, a 3-day conference with over 700 student attendees. Responsible for 20-person committee that plans and coordinates the different content threads of the convention.

Skills

Programing Languages: Python (Advanced), Javascript/Typescript (Advanced), SQL (Intermediate), Java (Intermediate), C (Basic)
Toolkits, Frameworks, Software: Pytorch, Scikit-learn, Git, VegaLite, D3, Tableau, MacOS, Windows, Linux
Natural Languages: English (Native), Spanish (Advanced)