Maneesh Agrawala is the Forest Baskett Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Stanford University. He was previously a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley (2005 - 2015). He works on computer graphics, human computer interaction and visualization. His focus is on investigating how cognitive design principles can be used to improve the effectiveness of audio/visual media. The goals of this work are to discover the design principles and then instantiate them in both interactive and automated design tools. He received an Okawa Foundation Research Grant in 2006, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and an NSF CAREER Award in 2007, a SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award in 2008, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2009.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Director, David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation (2015 - Present)
  • Professor, Computer Science (2015 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Research Grant, Okawa Foundation (2006)
  • Research Fellow, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (2007)
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (2007)
  • Significant New Researcher Award, ACM SIGGRAPH (2008)
  • Fellow, MacArthur Foundation (2009)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Associate Editor, ACM Transactions on Graphics (2013 - Present)
  • Advisor, Human Computation Journal (2013 - Present)
  • Science and Creativity Advisor, Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen (2012 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Computer Science (2002)
  • B.S., Stanford University, Mathematics (1994)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Computer Graphics, Human Computer Interaction and Visualization.

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Interactive Furniture Layout Using Interior Design Guidelines ACM TRANSACTIONS ON GRAPHICS Merrell, P., Schkufza, E., Li, Z., Agrawala, M., Koltun, V. 2011; 30 (4)
  • Perceptual Guidelines for Creating Rectangular Treemaps IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON VISUALIZATION AND COMPUTER GRAPHICS Kong, N., Heer, J., Agrawala, M. 2010; 16 (6): 990-998


    Treemaps are space-filling visualizations that make efficient use of limited display space to depict large amounts of hierarchical data. Creating perceptually effective treemaps requires carefully managing a number of design parameters including the aspect ratio and luminance of rectangles. Moreover, treemaps encode values using area, which has been found to be less accurate than judgments of other visual encodings, such as length. We conduct a series of controlled experiments aimed at producing a set of design guidelines for creating effective rectangular treemaps. We find no evidence that luminance affects area judgments, but observe that aspect ratio does have an effect. Specifically, we find that the accuracy of area comparisons suffers when the compared rectangles have extreme aspect ratios or when both are squares. Contrary to common assumptions, the optimal distribution of rectangle aspect ratios within a treemap should include non-squares, but should avoid extremes. We then compare treemaps with hierarchical bar chart displays to identify the data densities at which length-encoded bar charts become less effective than area-encoded treemaps. We report the transition points at which treemaps exhibit judgment accuracy on par with bar charts for both leaf and non-leaf tree nodes. We also find that even at relatively low data densities treemaps result in faster comparisons than bar charts. Based on these results, we present a set of guidelines for the effective use of treemaps and suggest alternate approaches for treemap layout.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283758600016

    View details for PubMedID 20975136

  • Sizing the Horizon: The Effects of Chart Size and Layering on the Graphical Perception of Time Series Visualizations CHI2009: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 27TH ANNUAL CHI CONFERENCE ON HUMAN FACTORS IN COMPUTING SYSTEMS, VOLS 1-4 Heer, J., Kong, N., Agrawala, M. 2009: 1303-1312
  • Visualizing dynamic architectural environments COMMUNICATIONS OF THE ACM Houston, M., Niederauer, C., Agrawala, M., Humphreys, G. 2004; 47 (8): 54-59
  • Designing effective step-by-step assembly instructions Agrawala, M., Phan, D., Heiser, J., Hayrnaker, J., Klingner, J., Hanrahan, P., Tversky, B. ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY. 2003: 828–37
  • Non-invasive interactive visualization of dynamic architectural environments ACM TRANSACTIONS ON GRAPHICS Niederauer, C., Houston, M., Agrawala, M., Humphreys, G. 2003; 22 (3): 700-700
  • Cognitive design principles for visualizations: Revealing and instantiating PROCEEDINGS OF THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANNUAL CONFERENCE OF THE COGNITIVE SCIENCE SOCIETY, PTS 1 AND 2 Heiser, J., Tversky, B., Agrawala, M., Hanrahan, P. 2003: 545-550
  • Sketches for design and design of sketches HUMAN BEHAVIOUR IN DESIGN: INDIVIDUALS, TEAMS, TOOLS Tversky, B., Suwa, M., Agrawala, M., Heiser, J., Stolte, C., Hanrahan, P., Phan, D., Klingner, J., Daniel, M. P., Lee, P., Haymaker, J. 2003: 79-86
  • Conveying shape and features with image-based relighting IEEE VISUALIZATION 2003, PROCEEDINGS Akers, D., Losasso, F., Klingner, J., Agrawala, M., Rick, J., Hanrahan, P. 2003: 349-354
  • Rendering effective route maps: Improving usability through generalization SIGGRAPH 2001 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Agrawala, M., Stolte, C. 2001: 241-250
  • Efficient image-based methods for rendering soft shadows SIGGRAPH 2000 CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS Agrawala, M., Ramamoorthi, R., Heirich, A., Moll, L. 2000: 375-384
  • Artistic multiprojection rendering RENDERING TECHNIQUES 2000 Agrawala, M., Zorin, D., Munzner, T. 2000: 125-?
  • Model-based compression for synthetic animations INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON IMAGE PROCESSING, PROCEEDINGS - VOL II Chaddha, N., Agrawala, M., Beers, A. 1996: 417-420