The Editor’s Spotlight: Navigating Giga-pixel Images in Digital Pathology

For the first article to highlight in the freshly-conceived Editor’s Spotlight, from TOCHI Issue 23:1 I selected a piece of work that strongly reminded me of the context of some of my own graduate research, which took place embedded in a neurosurgery department. In my case, our research team (consisting of both physicians and computer scientists) sought to improve the care of patients who were often referred to the university hospital with debilitating neurological conditions and extremely grave diagnoses.

When really strong human-computer interaction research collides with real-world problems like this, in my experience compelling clinical impact and rigorous research results are always hard-won but in the end they are well worth the above-and-beyond efforts required to make such interdisciplinary collaborations fly.

And the following TOCHI Editor’s Spotlight paper, in my opinion, is an outstanding example of such a contribution.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

Navigating Giga-pixel Images in Digital Pathology

The diagnosis of cancer is serious business, yet in routine clinical practice pathologists still work on microscopes, with physical slides, because digital pathology runs up against many barriers—not the least of which are the navigational challenges raised by panning and zooming through huge (and I mean huge) image datasets on the order of multiple gigapixels. And that’s just for a single slide.

Few illustrations grace the article, but those that do—

They stop the reader cold.

Extract from a GI biopsy, showing malignant tissue at 400x magnification. (Fig. 3)

The ruddy and well-formed cells of healthy tissue from a GI biopsy slowly give way to an ill-defined frontier of pathology, an ever-expanding redoubt for the malignant tissue lurking deep within. One cannot help but be struck by the subtext that these images represent the lives of patients that face a dire health crisis.

Only by finding, comparing, and contrasting this tissue to other cross-sections and slides—scanned at 400x magnification and a startling 100,000 dots per inch—can the pathologist arrive at a correct and accurate diagnosis as to the type and extent of the malignancy.

This article stands out because it puts into practice—and challenges—accepted design principles for the navigation of such gigapixel images, against the backdrop of real work by medical experts.

These are not laboratory studies that strive for some artificial measure of “ecological validity”—no, here the analyses take place in the context of the real work of pathologists (using archival cases) and yet the experimental evaluations are still rigorous and insightful. There is absolutely no question of validity and the stakes are clearly very high.

While the article focuses on digital pathology, the insights and perspectives it raises (not to mention the interesting image navigation and comparison tasks motivated by clinical needs) should inform, direct, and inspire many other efforts to improve interfaces for navigation through large visualizations and scientific data-sets.

 


Roy Ruddle, Thomas Rhys, Rebecca Randell, Phil Quirke, and Darren Treanor. 2016. The Design and Evaluation of Interfaces for Navigating Gigapixel Images in Digital Pathology. ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 23, 1, Article 5 (February 2015), 29 pages. DOI= http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2834117

 

 

 

 

Introducing “The Editor’s Spotlight”

In a new feature, as the Editor-in-Chief I will offer up some thoughts on select papers as they appear in the pages of TOCHI (or to be more precise, as they grace the ACM’s digital library, given our desire to turn-around accepted manuscripts to the research community as quickly as possible—not to mention the electronic-first nature of publishing these days). And in addition, I will always strive to give an overview of all the content in each issue, to the extent possible.

But before I unshutter the brilliant beacon for the first time, with Issue 23:1 as its deserving focus, let me briefly set the context:

The purpose of these spotlight editorials is to help frame the contributions of the research that we publish in the wider context of the field.

As well as to direct attention to articles that may be of especial interest.

That, of course, serves not only our readers but also our authors—all of them—because by implication, bringing attention to our great content raises the profile of the entire journal.

By highlighting certain articles my intent is not to suggest that others are not worthy of your attention. Far from it. Every article we publish has received exquisite attention from our Editorial Board, so the TOCHI brand in and of itself tells you that the content is always absolutely sterling.

Hence these are not critical reviews or critiques. These articles have already passed the gauntlet of rigorous peer review, and so my purpose here is to help guide our readers as to the nature and importance of the contributions we publish.

As such, my hope is that both newcomers to the field of human-computer interaction (who may be missing some of the implicit framing and motivation that underlies many papers) as well as seasoned practitioners and students of HCI (who may be quickly scanning the journal’s contents to see what catches their eye) can benefit from these remarks and reflections.

As well, astute authors-to-be can perhaps gain a few insights as to what level of contribution is necessary to pass muster at the journal—not to mention the ways of conveying one’s results that tend to best resonate with TOCHI’s reviewers and our Editorial Board.

To fully absorb and appreciate both the strengths and limitations of each article’s scientific contributions one must read them in detail, of course, as I hope you will be moved to do when one of these catches your eye—and as they originally did my own.

Just follow the “DOI” link immediately after each paper to view it directly in the ACM Digital Library.

You can be the first to see these commentaries on the TOCHI News page (http://tochi.acm.org/news), which I urge you to follow. Please do help spread the word for those TOCHI articles that pique your interest.

And of course, all of your individual downloads, subscriptions, and citations are the loose change in the treasury of the journal’s impact.

But they compound over time and slowly accumulate great intellectual riches.

 


The first Editor’s Spotlight will follow this post shortly. Stay tuned. We will also issue Article Alerts for all of our other great content.

TOCHI Call for Papers, 2016

I must admit, I find long lists of research topics to be violently dull.

And yet, as your friend and humble narrator (not to mention putative Editor-in-Chief), one of the very first tasks that confronted me was to issue a spiffy new Call for Papers for TOCHI.

So rather than subjecting you to a gradual sanding-down of your own existence as your eyes grate across an enumeration of bullet-pointed buzzwords, what I instead set out to convey was the essence of what gives the journal its vigor.

And announce some cool new initiatives to boot.

Give it a gander, and I hope that you will respond in kind by submitting your latest and greatest work.

Or by pausing to reflect on a research agenda that you may have been stewing on for years, and serving up that accumulated wisdom as a milestone contribution.

And I will reward any and all upstanding individuals who post our professionally-designed TOCHI flyer [PDF format] on your Department’s bulletin board with a billion virtual donuts. Or thereabouts.

As well as my eternal thanks, of course.

 

 



 

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI)

 

TOCHI is the premier archival journal for contributions from the frontiers of human-computer interaction.

CHI is an exciting field, often with profound implications:

What are the human consequences of the technologies we create?

What are the impacts of user interfaces — and of the design choices we make — on people’s everyday lives?

How are technologies changing our society, and how can we use them to shape the many possible futures that are emerging as a result?

These questions, and many more, drive the vibrancy of the journal — and our field.

No Artificial Bounds. TOCHI embraces the full breadth of the diverse CHI community. We publish papers on any topic relevant to human-computer interaction, so long as the results offer significant new insights for the community. TOCHI particularly encourages integrative contributions that span multiple studies, multiple systems, or multiple explorations of a theme so as to contribute a new perspective to the field — the type of contribution that is nigh-impossible to convey in a typical conference paper.

Wisdom of the Elite. Papers go through rigorous peer review, led by a world-class editorial board stacked with leading experts. As one of our authors, you will benefit from their advice and deep insights to hone your research. Getting published in TOCHI represents a prestigious recognition of excellence.

Influence and Laurels. Acceptance at TOCHI garners an invitation to present your work at leading SIGCHI conferences. Combine the continuity of journal review — judicious and fair-minded, with an opportunity to redress critiques — with the lively discussion and influence that speaking at a top-notch conference brings. And starting in 2016, TOCHI will recognize our very best work with Best Paper Awards.

Rigorous and Fast. Although rigorous, TOCHI maintains a fast pace: decision time averages about 50 days. We publish accepted works quickly, online-first in the ACM Digital Library, and the pipeline from submission to publication can be shorter than the overwrought processes that tend to burden conference publication these days.

High Exposure. TOCHI heightens exposure for your research and enshrines the premier work in our field. And starting with Volume 23, the Editor-in-Chief will spotlight select articles, offering perspectives and reflections on some of the most intriguing contributions to grace our pages.

Submit your work today, and help advance the frontiers of technology — and the human experience.

>>>   Visit tochi.acm.org/authors to submit your manuscript

Editor-in-Chief:

Ken Hinckley, Microsoft Research, USA

 


Please see the PDF version of the flyer for a complete listing of the TOCHI Editorial Board, and other publication details.

 

 

Farewell from Shumin Zhai, Welcome Ken Hinckley

Shumin Zhai’s farewell editorial is now live in the ACM Digital Library.

As our departing Editor-in-Chief, he reports on the remarkable improvements he effected for the TOCHI journal’s operation, including a much brisker pace of handling submissions (now averaging less than 50 days).

He also initiated electronic-first publication of accepted TOCHI papers, which greatly reduces the end-to-end pipeline for our authors to reveal their exciting new results to the world.

Under Shumin’s leadership there were also tremendous strides in enhancing the journal’s impact, such as inviting authors of accepted papers to speak at CHI and other leading SIGCHI conferences. He grew the journal from 4 issues per year to 6, and doubled the amount of content TOCHI publishes overall — all while maintaining the journal’s reputation for a fair and rigorous review cycle. His efforts have pushed key metrics, such as downloads per article, into to the upper echelon of ACM Transactions-level journals.

The net results of all these initiatives have further elevated TOCHI’s stature as the flagship journal of the Computer-Human Interaction community.

But with his six years of service at an end, and his maximum allowable two terms as Editor-in-chief completed with distinction, he now receives the greatest award of all:

Shumin gets his life back (grin).

And so the ACM Publications Board, with Shumin’s enthusiastic support, has appointed his successor:

Ken Hinckley, a long-time associate editor for TOCHI and a leading researcher in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI), becomes the journal’s fifth Editor-in-Chief.

Ken is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, and also a member of the CHI Academy. He has served as Technical Program Chair for CHI, papers chair for UIST and MobileHCI, and on the editorial boards of other leading journals such as the HCI Journal.

He is perhaps best known for his work on mobile sensing, pen (and touch) interaction, and interaction techniques that combine multiple modalities (and sensors) in new ways. You can learn more about him, and follow his work, from his research blog.

But Ken also prides himself on being a generalist, both in terms of topic and research approach, and in recent months nothing excites him more than finding a promising TOCHI submission that has just come in over the transom. He hopes to find one of yours there soon.

So be sure to check out Shumin’s closing remarks — words of wisdom as always — and the next issue of TOCHI (Volume 23, Issue 1) will feature Ken’s introductory editorial discussing where things stand for TOCHI as well as some new initiatives in the works.

But rest assured that the new editorial team has redoubled the journal’s commitment to timely and professional responses, with a never-ending attention to thoughtful and rigorous reviews.

We fully intend to build on and hopefully expand even futher the great successes and impact that Shumin paved the way for when he firmly took the reins of TOCHI in his able hands.

Ken Hinckley
Editor-in-Chief