Daniel F. Keefe   (he/him)
Professor
#2008
#present

#artist
#guitar‑guru
#sailor
#theboss

About Me

I am a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota where I direct a research program in data visualization, interactive computer graphics, and spatial user interfaces that we call the Interactive Visualization Lab (IV/LAB). My research explores a broad range of topics in the areas of visualization, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction. I am interested in questions, such as: (1) How can computer graphics most effectively leverage the power of the human visual system to facilitate understanding large multidimensional datasets? (2) To what extent can visualizations exploit emerging interface technologies to improve users’ abilities to design complex 3D structures and reason about data? Current projects within my group center on: augmented reality visualization and data physicalization, data storytelling, community-engaged co-design ensemble visualization for climate science, and basic research in 3D user interfaces, haptics, and pen and multi-touch input techniques. My group regularly teams with scientists, engineers, artists, designers, and local communities to apply the computer science techniques we develop to interdisciplinary problems. Our research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, industry, and the Digital Technology Center, Digital Design Center, Provost's Office, and Office of the Vice President for Research at the University of Minnesota. ​

FAQ (Please Scan Before Emailing)

1. Will you review a workshop, conference, or journal paper?

I have a deep committment to service for our discipline and to the peer review process. Over the past 10 years, I have served on an average of more than 6 International Program Committees each year and served as an external reviewer for more than 30 other journals and conferences. Recently, my time committments to teaching have increased with booming enrollments in our courses, and I am now an Associate/Department Editor for two journals in addition to serving as a regular reviewer at the National Science Foundation and many other department and university service, mentoring, and Broadening-Participation-in-Compting roles. These ongoing commitments mean I am generally (a bit irresponsibly) above my "quota" for time devoted to service to our discipline. So, I will be unable to accept new requests to serve as an ad-hoc or external paper reviewer for conferences, workshops, or journals, unless these are venues to which my lab is also submitting work and we are not already contributing to the review process in a program committee role.


2. The waiting list is already full; is there anything I can do to get into your class?

Recently, the class roster, including the 20-person waiting lists, for CSci-5609 and CSci-4611 have been filling up within the first day that registration is open. Enrollment in these courses is limited by the physical capacity of the room. My policy on these classes is: First, you must meet the prerequisites for the course in order to enroll. Second, on the first day of class, I will let as many students as possible into the course as I can without breaking any laws about fire codes given the size of the assigned classroom. Third, typically some students withdraw during the first week. Once per day during the first week, I will check for any withdrawals and admit more students in order from the waitlist when this happens. In total, this might allow another 5-10 students on the waiting list to enroll; however, it will not cover all 20 students. So, if you are unable to add your name to the current waiting list, I am sorry that you won't be able to enroll in the course this semester.


3. Will you write a letter of recommendation for me?

For context, each year, I receive many requests to write a letter of recommendation and submit it to 5-15 graduate schools including filling out the accompanying online evaluations that ask about the student's maturity, written and oral communication skills, technical background, etc. I will gladly write a letter of recommendation for you if I know you well enough to answer these questions and if I have something unique to describe in the recommendation letter. For example, if you did an exciting final project in my course or were nominated as a "wizard" (an honor we bestow for a great job on assignments in 4611), or have become involved in our research, then this gives me something unique to describe, and I will be happy to write a letter of recommendation for you. If this is the case, then I have a special set of directions on how to request a letter of recommendation that I would like you to follow. I would like to be clear that saying, "Your class was my favorite computer science course and I received an A", is not enough. My reply will be, I am so happy that you enjoyed the course and are now considering continuing on in this field, but if the only thing I am able to say is that you were in a student in one class with me and you received an "A" in that course, then the letter will not provide anything more to the admissions committee than they would know from reading your transcript. I will not agree to write a letter in this case.


4. I am interested in data visualization, art, graphics, and VR; can I get involved in your research?

I am always interested in meeting enthusiastic and creative students, and I particularly encourage students from groups with longstanding underrepresentation in our discipline to talk to me about potential projects. I look for students who demonstrate commitment, creativity, communication skills (including visual communication), and courage. The best way to get involved depends upon your current status:

  Summer Students: Students from other universities, particularly those that do not offer many opportunities to explore CS research, can apply to join us for a summer research experience. To do this, you need to apply to our department's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program.

  Prospective Ph.D. and M.S. students:​ Students seeking a graduate degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota should follow the application instructions on our department's website. If you specify an interest in working with me in the application form and essay, then I guarantee I will review your application. If you or your current advisor would like to share some additional information that does not fit in your application, then please contact me via email. Please do not forward your application materials directly to me or email me just to inform me that you are applying or ask if I will be taking any new students this year.

  Current UMN students: Current UMN undergraduate and MS students who wish to work with me should take (and do really well in) a class with me. A great choice for undergraduate students is CSci-4611 Interactive Computer Graphics and Games, which I teach regularly. A great choice for MS students is CSci-5609 Visualization, also taught regularly. Please also read below to see answers to some frequently asked questions.

  When can/should i start?​ Learning to conduct research takes time, so it is best to start before your senior year. We sometimes have opportunities for 1 or 2 semester "student programmer" positions, but these are limited, and are too short to learn very much about research. We are most interested in students who can join a project and stick with it for at least 3 semesters (summers count as equal to a semester). That usually provides enough time to bring your own strengths to the project and turn it into a thesis and/or research publication.

  What is the time commitment? Undergraduate and MS student researchers ​must be able to commit at least 9 hours per week to your research work (similar to how you would treat any other 3-credit course), and you must be able to attend our regular all-lab meetings, which are on Friday mornings.

  What can I expect to work on? As a new student researcher, you should expect to be teamed up with more experienced lab members, typically PhD students, who will act as your mentors. Your first project in the lab will likely be working on one piece of a larger project that your mentors are also working on.

  Can I get course credit for research? Yes, almost always. With a little extra planning, research in the lab is often a great fit for Directed Research or Thesis Preparation courses.

  Can I get paid? Maybe, it depends on the project and available funding, or funding that you identify for yourself. For example, the university UROP program is a great source for some small funding. I highly recommend that each of my undergraduate students apply for this program, as it not only provides a stipend but may also be used to defer the costs of conference travel if a paper or presentation on your work is accepted.


5. Is there anyone else doing similar research at UMN?

​We have a fantastic group of graphics, VR, and HCI faculty. In particular, these colleagues run fantastic labs and collaborate closely with my group:
Prof. Evan Suma Rosenberg's Illusioneering Lab
Prof. Victoria Interrante's VR Lab (focusing on perception and design)
Prof. Stephen Guy's Applied Motion Lab
Prof. Lana Yarosh and the whole GroupLens Research Group


6. May I / How do I contact you?

Please keep in mind that this page already answers the questions I most receive from students. If you have a more specific question, please email me and make it clear that you have already read this page. If you are interested in getting involved in research, please first learn what we are about from visiting our lab webpage. I will not reply to emails that seem to be spamming numerous professors with a generic request or asking me to look at a grad school application rather than applying through normal channels.

Academic Bio

Dan Keefe is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and a Distinguished University Teaching Professor at the University of Minnesota. His research on data visualization and interactive computer graphics and has been recognized with awards, including the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the UMN Guillermo E. Borja Award for Research and Scholarly Accomplishments, the 3M Non-tenured Faculty Award, and multiple best paper and similar awards at top international conferences, such as IEEE VIS, IEEE VR, and ACM Interactive 3D Graphics. His teaching and mentoring have been recognized by the UMN Morse-Alumni Undergraduate Education and Bowers Teaching Awards. Keefe was the General Co-Chair of the IEEE VR Conference in 2014 (Minneapolis, MN) and 2015 (Arles, France) and a founding Co-Chair for the IEEE VIS Art Show in 2011 (Providence, RI) and 2012 (Seattle, WA) that now continues as part of the IEEE VIS Arts Program. In addition to his work in computer science, Keefe is also an accomplished artist and has published and exhibited work in top international venues for digital art. Before joining the University of Minnesota, Keefe did postdoctoral work at Brown University jointly with the departments of Computer Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and with the Rhode Island School of Design. He received the Ph.D. in 2007 from Brown University’s Department of Computer Science and the B.S. in Computer Engineering summa cum laude from Tufts University in 1999.

Courses

I have taught the following courses at University of Minnesota. All of these are closely related to our research and great courses to take. Please visit the CS&E Department's list of course offerings by semester to see the most up-to-date information on when these courses will next be offered by whom. Also, look for other courses in the Graphics, Visualization, and VR area by searching for course numbers of the form: CSci-x6yy. "x" generally denotes the course level (1-4 for undergraduates, 5 or 8 for graduates) and "yy" is not too meaningful. The key is the "6"!

CSci-5609:  Visualization
Generally taught once per year, next in Spring 2023.
Example Syllabus (Spr '22)

CSci-4611:  Programming Interactive Computer Graphics and Games
Generally taught once each semester.
Example Syllabus (Fall '21)

CSci-8001/8002: Introduction to Research in Computer Science
Example Syllabus (2021-22)

CSci-3081W:  Program Design and Development
Example Syllabus (Fall '18)

CSci-8980:  Advanced Special Topics
Data Vis for Advocacy and Empowerment (Spr '21)
Sketch-Based User Interfaces and 3D Modeling (Fall '15)
Spatial User Interfaces (Fall '13)
Spatial Graphical Interfaces and Computational Creativity (Fall '11)

HSEM-2520H: Data Visualization and Virtual Reality for Social Justice
Honors Seminar (Fall '17)

CSci-5619:  Virtual Reality and 3D Interaction
Derived in part from special topics courses listed below.

CSci-5607:  Fundamentals of Computer Graphics I

Contact

Email: dfk@umn.edu (preferred)
Phone: 612-626-7508
Mailing Address: 4-192 Keller Hall, 200 Union St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
Office: 6-211 Keller Hall
Lab: 2-203 Keller Hall

Spotlights
Publications
2020
Journal and Conference Articles
Invited or Juried Artwork Exhibited
Posters
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
2019
Journal and Conference Articles
Book Chapters
Workshop Papers
Posters
Invited Talks
2017
Journal and Conference Articles
Invited or Juried Artwork Exhibited
Posters
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
2016
Journal and Conference Articles
Invited or Juried Artwork Exhibited
Workshop Papers
Posters
Invited Talks
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
2015
Journal and Conference Articles
Invited Talks
Miscellaneous
2014
Journal and Conference Articles
Invited or Juried Artwork Exhibited
Posters
Invited Talks
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
2013
Journal and Conference Articles
Reimagining the Scientific Visualization Interaction Paradigm
Daniel F. Keefe, and Tobias Isenberg. IEEE Computer 46, 5, 51-57.
Tags:
#xr‑user‑interaction
#immersive‑vis
#nsf‑career
#nsf‑vis‑by‑sketching
#dkeefe
#article
#2013
Posters
Invited Talks
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
Meet the Scientists
Francesca Samsel, and Daniel F. Keefe. Workshop at College Art Association Annual Meeting.
Tags:
#art‑and‑vis
#nsf‑vis‑by‑sketching
#nsf‑career
#dkeefe
#organized
#2013
Miscellaneous
2012
Journal and Conference Articles
Workshop Papers
Posters
Invited Talks
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
Miscellaneous
VisWeek Art Show Catalog 2012
Daniel F. Keefe, Bruce Campbell, and Lauren Thorson. IEEE VisWeek 2012, October 14–19, Seattle, WA.
Tags:
#art‑and‑vis
#nsf‑career
#nsf‑vis‑by‑sketching
#dkeefe
#lthorson
#misc
#2012
2011
Journal and Conference Articles
Workshop Papers
Posters
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
Miscellaneous
2010
Journal and Conference Articles
Workshop Papers
Posters
Workshops, Panels, Other Events Organized
2009
Journal and Conference Articles
Workshop Papers
Posters
2008
Journal and Conference Articles
Workshop Papers
Posters
Miscellaneous
2001
Journal and Conference Articles
Themes
Projects