Martin Wattenberg

Martin Wattenberg

Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Martin Wattenberg headshot.

Martin Wattenberg is Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, with an affiliation at Harvard Business School. With long-time collaborator Fernanda Viégas, he heads the Interactive Insight lab.

Wattenberg is known for his groundbreaking work in information visualization, interactive journalism, and computational art. His research focuses on ways technology can create connection, insight, narrative, and beauty. A particular interest is inventing tools to illuminate machine learning systems to make them more broadly accessible.

Wattenberg comes to Harvard from Google, where he co-founded the People + AI Research initiative, a multidisciplinary team at Google that explores the human side of artificial intelligence. The group is known for its work on open-source tools that help developers build, understand, and evaluate machine learning systems. He was also co-founder of the Big Picture data visualization research team. His teams at Google created end-user visualizations for products such as Search, YouTube, Translate, and Google Analytics. Wattenberg continues to be affiliated with Google Research in a part-time capacity.

Before joining Google, Wattenberg and Viégas founded Flowing Media, Inc., a visualization studio focused on media and consumer-oriented projects, and led the Visual Communication Lab at IBM Research. The team created a series of pioneering visualization tools at IBM, including the public visualization platform Many Eyes which allowed non-professionals to create sophisticated interactive data displays.

Prior to joining IBM, Wattenberg was Director of Research and Development with SmartMoney.com/Dow Jones, one of the earliest financial news websites. He pioneered new forms of interactive journalism, including the “Map of the Market” which helped introduce sophisticated data visualization to online reporting. SmartMoney.com received the National Magazine Award for interactive design.

Wattenberg is also known for his visualization-based artwork, which has been exhibited in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, the London Institute of Contemporary Arts, the National Art Museum of China and the New York Museum of Modern Art. He was the first internet artist to receive a commission from the Whitney Museum, and has works in  NY MoMA’s permanent collection.

Wattenberg holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley, an M.S. from Stanford University, and an A.B. from Brown University.