Header Image
Page last modified on October 8th 2020 (06:14:24)
Photo of Luis A. Leiva
Dr. Luis A. Leiva

Postdoctoral scholar, senior researcher

Aalto University

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

Microformats: vCard, hCard

Why hello there! I'm an postdoctoral 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'm also co-founder and former CTO of 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 BSc degrees —Industrial Design (2001) and Industrial Engineering (2005)— an MSc in Communications and Mobile Services Development (2006), and a MAS in Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence (2008) 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) in Slovenia.
Fun fact: My p-index is 0.6, which means that I don't use to profit from my co-authors.

research interests

I do multidisciplinary research at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction and Machine Learning. My main research area is Computational Interaction, where I combine computational thinking -- abstraction, automation, and analysis -- with data-driven models and methods to enable, explain, and support user interaction. My research vision is to make the most of computing systems using the least amount of information from the user. I firmly believe that users are a scarce resource, so they have to be optimized. In pursuit of that goal, I have considered two ways to obtain valuable user feedback without burdening the user: (1) implicit interaction, where the user does not provide information on purpose, and (2) synthetic data generation, where the computer simulates human-like data on behalf of the user.
Following my research on implicit interaction, I have exploited mouse cursor movements to conduct large-scale usability evaluations, predict user engagement, aid website revisitation, or restyle web design. Based on my research on synthetic data generation, I have used kinematic motor control models to synthesize stroke gestures that possess human-like characteristics and that can generalize across user populations.
Previously, I have been working on phrase sampling for text entry, agile software localization, mixed-initiative interfaces, relevance-feedback image retrieval, adaptive user interfaces, and responsive text summarization. Overall, I'm used to learning different skills and combine them in creative ways. For instance: 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.
Disclaimer: I write papers with LaTeX and a control version system (GIT or SVN). I tolerate some online editors such as ShareLaTeX and Overleaf, but not Microsoft Word.

research projects

  • September 2020 - Present I'm leading The Teaching Wizard, a pilot project of the A!OLE Learning Services. We are creating a database and search interface to help teachers select the best teaching methods according to their needs and constraints. The project is expected to last from 2020-07-01 to 2020-12-31.
  • April 2020 - Present I'm helping to coordinate Aalto partnership in the HumaneAI consortium (European Commission ICT-48-2020, grant 761758). We are designing the principles for a new science that will make artificial intelligence based on European values and closer to Europeans. The project is expected to last from 2020-04-01 to 2023-04-01.
  • Jan 2020 - Mar 2020 I collaborated in COMPUTED (European Research Council, grant 637991). The project investigates computational methods for UI design. The project lasted from 2015-04-01 to 2020-03-31.
  • Jan 2019 - Present I'm collaborating in 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 will 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 in 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 in 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 in 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 in 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 in 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 affiliated with the Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence (FCAI). 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 currently serving as associate editor for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. I'm a regular reviewer for CHI, IUI, MobileHCI and ICMI. I've reviewed occasionally for CS conferences like UIST, WWW, SIGIR, CIKM, InfoVis, EICS, DIS, UbiComp, PervasiveHealth, MUM, or ISMAR. 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, SIGIR, 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. I'm currently serving on the Program Committee of the IUI, SIGIR, WSDM, 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. Ioannis Arapakis, Antonio Penta, Hideo Joho, Luis A. Leiva. A Price-Per-Attention Auction Scheme Using Mouse Cursor Information. ACM Transactions on Information Systems, Vol. 38(2), 2020. DOI, PDF.
  2. Luis A. Leiva, Radu-Daniel Vatavu, Daniel Martín-Albo, Réjean Plamondon. Omnis Praedictio: Estimating the Full Spectrum of Human Performance with Stroke Gestures. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Vol. 142 2020. DOI, PDF.
  3. 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.
  4. Luis A. Leiva. Responsive Text Summarization. Information Processing Letters, Vol. 130(1), 2018. DOI, PDF, Website.
  5. 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.
  6. Luis A. Leiva, Vicent Alabau. Polyglot Machine Translation. Journal of Intelligent & Fuzzy Systems, Vol. 32(1), 2017. IOS Press. DOI, PDF.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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, 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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. Computational Modeling of Handwriting Movements. October, 2020. Plenary talk (keynote) at RoCHI'19, Sibiu. Info.
  2. Luis A. Leiva. Predicting User Engagement with Direct Displays on SERPs. January, 2020. Silo.AI, Helsinki. Info.
  3. Luis A. Leiva. Synthetic Generation of Human-like Data. May, 2019. Aalto University, Helsinki. Info.
  4. 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.
  5. Luis A. Leiva. Human Vision System: Deep Learning Models. November, 2019. Guest lecture. Info.
  6. Luis A. Leiva. Recent Research Adventures at Sciling. May, 2018. UP-FAMNIT, Koper. Info.
  7. Luis A. Leiva. Optimización para venta multi-dioma. June, 2016. eComm Beers, Bilbao. Info.
  8. Luis A. Leiva. Human-Computer Interaction meets Machine Learning. May, 2015. Telefónica I+D, Barcelona. Info.
  9. 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.
  10. Vicent Alabau, Luis A. Leiva. Las matemáticas de la lengua. June, 2014. Lenguando, Valencia. Info.
  11. Luis A. Leiva. Implicit Human-Computer Interaction with Web-based Systems. Apr, 2012. Yahoo! Labs, Barcelona. Info.
  12. Luis A. Leiva. Interacción y Aprendizaje. May, 2012. Universitat Jaume I, Castelló. Info.
  13. Luis A. Leiva. The Role of Implicit Interaction between Users and Computers. Dec, 2011. DFKI, Saarbrücken. Info.

Press coverage

Awards & honors

  • Quality Teaching Awards finalist at Aalto University, 2020.
  • Top-10 Master's level course at Aalto University, 2020. Info.
  • Outstanding Reviewer Recognition at UIST'20.
  • Outstanding Reviewer Recognition at ICMI'20.
  • Outstanding Reviewer Recognition at ISMAR'20.
  • 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.

Courses and Lectures

In November 2020 I will give a guest lecture about Deep Learning in the Computational User Interface Design course at Aalto University.
In September 2020 I gave the guest lecture Measurement in user research in the User Research course at Aalto University.
In Fall 2019 I started a brand new course at Aalto University: DL4HCI: Deep Learning for Human-Computer Interaction. Course materials here. The course was rated among the top-10 best Master's level courses!
In November 2019 I gave the guest lecture Human Vision System: Deep Learning Models in the Computational User Interface Design course at Aalto University.
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.


  • Lukas Brückner, MSc student, 2020.
  • Pin Tian, BSc student, 2020.
  • Richard Lengyel, MSc student, 2020.
  • Oleg Vlasovetc, MSc student, 2020.
  • Laura Ham, MSc student, 2020.
  • Oskari Ojala, BSc student, 2020.
  • Asutosh Hota, research assistant, 2019.
  • Lokesh Kumar, research intern, 2019.
  • Preetha Datta, research intern, 2019.
Random Stuff