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Dr. Luis A. Leiva

Postdoctoral scholar

Aalto University

Konemiehentie 2 (CS building) 02150 — Espoo (Finland)

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Why hello there! I'm an postodoctoral scholar from Aalto University working at the intersection of Machine Learning and Human-Computer Interaction. I'm a former research staff member (postdoctoral fellow) of the PRHLT research center at the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV). I co-founded Sciling, a Spanish company specialized in Machine Learning solutions.
You can download my short bio in plain text (UTF-8 encoded) or a PDF copy of my research CV.
I got a PhD (with honors & international mention & extraordinary doctorate award) in Computer Science in 2012. I also got two undergraduate degrees —Industrial Design (2001) and Industrial Engineering (2005)— and an M.Sc. in Communications and Mobile Services Development (2006) from the UPV.
I have coauthored 2 granted patents and have participated in 15 research transfer projects, most of them being exploited today by private companies and public institutions. I have been a visiting researcher at the DFKI institute in Saarbrücken, the hciLab in Stuttgart, and the User Interfaces group in Helsinki. I also have been a visiting professor at FAMNIT (University of Primorska).
Fun fact: My p-index is 0.6, which means that I don't use to profit from my co-authors.

research interests

I primarily do multidisciplinary research at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction and Machine Learning. I'm used to learning different skills and combine them in creative ways. For instance: using mouse cursor behavior to aid website revisitation or restyle their design; a polyglot machine translator tailored to one's mother language; a word soup game to transcribe text images; or a usable captcha scheme for mobile devices based on handwriting math recognition.
One of my core areas is implicit interaction research, where a computer can take any user action as input to proactively infer and anticipate what the user needs. Nevertheless I'm open to collaborations in other fields. I am currently focused on data-driven interaction research, i.e., working with and informing decisions based on data in order to support novel interaction models or improve existing ones. I am particularly interested in artificial data generation, as a practical way to lower the costs of collecting and labeling large amounts of human data.
Disclaimer: I write papers with LaTeX and a control version system (GIT or SVN). I tolerate online editors such as ShareLaTeX and Overleaf, but not Microsoft Word.

research projects

  • Jan 2019 - Present I am collaborating on BAD: Bayesian Artefact Design (Academy of Finland, grant 318559). The project advances computational design by establishing methodological foundations for artificially intelligent design and design thinking. The project is expected to last from 2018-09-01 to 2022-08-31.
  • Jan 2015 - Dec 2015 I was the Principal Investigator of the JITL project (Spanish MECD, VLC/CAMPUS, grants SP20140775 and SP20140841). JITL is a method to automatically internationalize websites and web-based applications, without having to modify the source code. The project lasted from 2015-01-01 to 2015-12-31.
  • May 2015 - Dec 2015 I was also the Principal Investigator of the μcaptcha project (VLC/CAMPUS, grant SP20141428). μcaptcha is a novel CAPTCHA scheme tailored to touch devices via math handwriting. This project tested the commercial value of μcaptcha in the industry, and lasted from 2014-05-01 to 2015-12-31.
  • Mar 2015 - Dec 2015 I collaborated on ALMAMATER: Adaptive Learning and MultimodAlity in MAchine Translation and tExt tRanscription (GVA, grant PROMETEOII/2014/030). ALMAMATER is a step forward the MIPRCV project, focused on the human-in-the-loop approach to solve PR challenges. The project is planned to last from 2014-01-01 to 2017-12-31.
  • Nov 2014 - Feb 2015 I worked on STraDa (Spanish MINECO, grant TIN2012-37475-C02-01). STraDa aims at developing HTR technologies that ease the task of searching for information in ancient handwritten documents and then extracting semantics from such information. The project lasted from 2013-02-01 to 2015-12-31.
  • Nov 2013 - Oct 2014 I worked on tranScriptorium (European Commission FP7, grant 600707). tranScriptorium aims to develop innovative, efficient and cost-effective solutions for the indexing, search and full transcription of historical handwritten document images, using modern, holistic Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) technology. The project lasted from 2013-01-01 to 2015-12-31.
  • Dec 2012 - Oct 2013 I worked on CasMaCat: Cognitive Analysis and Statistical Methods for Advanced Computer Aided Translation (European Commission FP7, grant 287576). The CASMACAT project is aimed to build the next generation translator's workbench to improve productivity, quality, and work practices in the translation industry. The project lasted from 2011-11-01 to 2014-10-31.
  • Sep 2009 - Nov 2012 I worked on MIPRCV: Multimodal Interaction in Pattern Recognition and Computer Vision (Consolider program, Spanish MICINN, grant CSD2007-00018). MIPRCV established a 5-year research program to develop PR and CV approaches that explicitly deal with the challenges and opportunities entailed by the HCI paradigm. The project lasted from 2007-12-10 to 2012-12-09.

academic activities

I'm registered as an independent expert for the European Commission research program. I'm a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), and the Asociación Interacción Persona-Ordenador (AIPO). I was a member of the International Association of Pattern Recognition (IAPR) and the Asociación Española de Reconocimiento de Formas y Análisis de Imágenes (AERFAI) until 2013 or so.
I'm a regular reviewer for CHI, IUI, MobileHCI and ICMI. I've reviewed occasionally for CS conferences like UIST, WWW, CIKM, InfoVis, EICS, DIS, UbiComp, PervasiveHealth, or MUM. I've also reviewed occasionally for CS journals like IwC, IJHCS, Pattern Recognition, TWEB, IMWUT, ESWA, ECRA, or THMS.
I've served on the Program Committee of MobileHCI, IUI, ICMI, ICWE, HaCat, and CIKM. I've also co-chaired the posters track of MobileHCI'16 and was Associate Chair of the Late Breaking Work category at CHI'16. In 2018 I served on the Program Committee of the SIGIR conference. I'm currently serving on the Program Committee of the IUI, SIGIR, and CIKM conferences.


You can browse all my research publications in a single HTML page, including all preprints in PDF. You can also browse my publications at Google Scholar, DBLP, or ACM Digital Library.


  1. Luis A. Leiva. Responsive Text Summarization. Information Processing Letters, Vol. 130(1), 2018. DOI, PDF, Website.
  2. Marc Franco-Salvador, Luis A. Leiva. Multilingual Phrase Sampling for Text Entry Evaluations. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol. 113(1), 2018. DOI, PDF.
  3. Luis A. Leiva, Daniel Martín-Albo, Réjean Plamondon. The Kinematic Theory Produces Actual Human-like Stroke Gestures. Interacting with Computers, 2017. Oxford University Press. DOI, PDF.
  4. Luis A. Leiva, Vicent Alabau. Polyglot Machine Translation. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, Vol. 32(1), 2017. IOS Press. DOI, PDF.
  5. Daniel Martín-Albo, Luis A. Leiva, Jeff Huang, Réjean Plamondon. Strokes of Insight: User Intent Detection and Kinematic Compression of Mouse Cursor Trails. Information Processing & Management, Vol. 52(6), 2016. DOI, PDF.
  6. Luis A. Leiva, Daniel Martín-Albo, Réjean Plamondon. Gestures à Go Go: Authoring Synthetic Human-like Stroke Gestures Using the Kinematic Theory of Rapid Movements. ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology, Vol. 7(2), 2016. ACM Press. DOI, PDF, Website.
  7. Luis A. Leiva, Francisco Álvaro. μcaptcha: Human Interaction Proofs Tailored to Touch-Capable Devices via Math Handwriting. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, Vol. 31(7), 2015. Taylor & Francis. DOI, PDF, Website.
  8. Luis A. Leiva, Vicent Alabau. Automatic Internationalization for Just In Time Localization of Web-based User Interfaces. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 22(3), 2015. ACM Press. DOI, PDF, Website.
  9. Luis A. Leiva, Jeff Huang. Building a Better Mousetrap: Compressing Mouse Cursor Activity for Web Analytics. Information Processing & Management, Vol. 51(2), 2015. Elsevier. DOI, PDF, Website.
  10. Luis A. Leiva, Vicent Alabau, Verónica Romero, Alejandro H. Toselli, Enrique Vidal. Context-aware Gestures for Mixed-Initiative Text Editing UIs. Interacting with Computers, Vol. 27(6), 2015. Oxford University Press. DOI, PDF.
  11. Luis A. Leiva, Enrique Vidal. Warped K-Means: An algorithm to cluster sequentially-distributed data. Information Sciences, Vol. 237(10), 2013. Elsevier. DOI, PDF, Website.
  12. Luis A. Leiva, Roberto Vivó. Web Browsing Behavior Analysis and Interactive Hypervideo. ACM Transactions on the Web, Vol. 7(4), 2013. ACM Press. DOI, PDF, Software.

Invited talks

  1. Luis A. Leiva. Your brain in motion: challenges and opportunities for data-driven implicit interaction. June, 2019. Plenary talk (keynote) at IGS'19, Cancun. Info.
  2. Luis A. Leiva. Synthetic Generation of Human-like Data. May, 2019. Aalto University, Helsinki. Info.
  3. Luis A. Leiva. Recent Research Adventures at Sciling. May, 2018. UP-FAMNIT, Koper. Info.
  4. Luis A. Leiva. Optimización para venta multi-dioma. June, 2016. eComm Beers, Bilbao. Info.
  5. Luis A. Leiva. Human-Computer Interaction meets Machine Learning. May, 2015. Telefónica I+D, Barcelona. Info.
  6. Luis A. Leiva. Detecting content changes, one word at a time: an API for web-based NLP. May, 2015. APIdays Mediterranea, Barcelona. Info, more info.
  7. Vicent Alabau, Luis A. Leiva. Las matemáticas de la lengua. June, 2014. Lenguando, Valencia. Info.
  8. Luis A. Leiva. Implicit Human-Computer Interaction with Web-based Systems. Apr, 2012. Yahoo! Labs, Barcelona. Info.
  9. Luis A. Leiva. Interacción y Aprendizaje. May, 2012. Universitat Jaume I, Castelló. Info.
  10. Luis A. Leiva. The Role of Implicit Interaction between Users and Computers. Dec, 2011. DFKI, Saarbrücken. Info.

Press coverage

Awards & honors

  • Outstanding Reviewer Recognition at ACM IMWUT'17.
  • Outstanding Reviewer Recognition at CHI'16.
  • Honorable mention award in the ICT category at Valencia Idea, 2015. Info.
  • Sciling has been awarded with an SME Instrument, 2015. Info.
  • Extraordinary PhD thesis award, 2014. Info.
  • First prize at "Innovation and Commercial Excellence" awards Consum-UPV, 2014. Info.
  • ACM SRC semi-finalist at SIGGRAPH, 2011. Info.
  • Honorable mention award in the ICT category at Valencia Idea competition, 2010. Info.
  • Best demonstration award at the 13th European Conf. on Digital Libraries (ECDL), 2009. Info.
  • First prize in the Interactive Design category at Valencia Crea 8, 2007. Info.
  • Honorable mention award in the Interactive Design category at Valencia Crea 6, 2005. Info.
See more awards at my old CV page (in Spanish, no longer maintained).

Courses and Lectures

In 2020 I'm starting a brand new course at Aalto University: Deep Learning for Human-Computer Interaction. Info coming soon.
In May 2018 I was a visiting professor at University of Primorska, where I taught the On-line Gesture Recognition class as part of the Master's course selected topics in HCI. Slides here.
In April 2014 I taught On-line Gesture Recognition at the UPV Master's program Artificial Intelligence, Pattern Recognition and Digital Imaging. I'm sharing my lecture slides under a CC license for anyone to use.
From 2007 to 2010 I taught (near 20 hours per semester) the module Multimedia & Graphical Interfaces, part of the subject Application development tools, at the UPV Master program 'Communications and Mobile Services Development'. See the student's corner (in Spanish).
I was a course instructor at System Centros de Formación (Valencia) from 2001 to 2002.


  • Asutosh Hota, research assistant.
  • Lokesh Kumar, research intern.
  • Preetha Datta, research intern.
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