Profiling the 50 Most: Dr. Juan Gilbert

From voting to college admissions to teaching algebra with hip-hop, Dr. Juan Gilbert believes technology starts first with people.

Gilbert is professor and chairman of the Human-Centered Computing Division in the School of Computing at Clemson University. The division’s concept is a relatively new idea in that it applies computer solutions to real-world problems.

“This is a tremendous honor for me to be included the 50 Most Important list,” said Gilbert. “I am always looking for ways to inspire the interests of cultures that would not normally pursue computing so they might have a gateway to opportunity.”

Two of Gilbert’s pet research projects have made the successful transfer to business. The first is his research in electronic voting spawned by the “hanging chad” controversy in the 2000 presidential election. The result is a first of its kind accessible voting system called Prime III. Gilbert explains it as a multimodal system where votes privately and securely are taken by touch, voice or both. Everyone in a precinct votes on the same machine, reducing the training required of poll workers and reducing the opportunity for error or security breeches. The technology, called Universal Design, allows all people, disabled or not, to vote on the same machine. Gilbert has testified to the U.S. Senate’s Rules and Administration Committee and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Board of Advisors.

Dr. Gilbert and his team are also involved in a product development survey which you can participate in by clicking this link.

The second project is a data-mining and software-analysis tool that allows education admissions officers to address diversity and capacity in admissions while maintaining academic standards and adhering to the law, all done in a shorter period of time than traditional methods.