November 17th – Aruna Balasubramanian


Title: Improving Quality of Experience (QoE), Usability, and Privacy of Smartphone Applications.

CIT 368, Noon

Abstract: For too long, performance has been the primary concern for smartphone applications with little attention to user-facing metrics such as QoE, privacy, and usability. There is general agreement that these user-facing metrics are critical to application adoption. The problem is that these metrics are often subjective and difficult to quantify. In this talk, I will first describe our work Webgaze that uses eye gaze tracking to improve Web QoE. We show that traditional Web performance metrics have little correlation with user experience. Yet, Web optimizations are designed to improve these traditional metrics. Instead, I show how we can build a practical system that leverages eye tracking to improve Web QoE. More details at

I will then provide an overview of our work on privacy and usability. Specifically, I will talk about our ongoing work PrIA which is about building a Private Intelligent Assistant locally on the phone, without leaking private information to the cloud.
I will also briefly describe UIWear, a system to easily extend smartphone apps to wearable devices with an  order-of-magnitude lower developer effort.


Bio: Aruna Balasubramanian is an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University.  She received her Ph.D from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her dissertation won the UMass outstanding dissertation award and was the Sigcomm dissertation award runner up. She works in the area of networked systems. Her current work consists of three threads: (1) significantly improving mobile Web performance and (2) improving the usability and privacy of mobile systems, and (3) designing platforms to support deep learning on mobile and embedded devices.  She is the recipient of a Ubicomp best paper award, a Computing Innovation Fellowship, a Microsoft Graduate Research Fellowship, a Google research award, and the Applied Networking Research Prize. She is passionate about improving the diversity in Computer Science and runs a Girls Who Code Club, founded the WPhD group for Women PhD students at Stony Brook, and is an active member of the N2Women group.