The story behind the journey:

With the encouragement of Dr. Amin Ahsan Ali, we took on the task of presenting a position paper at ACM SIGCHI Winter School. Despite the tight deadline, Mohammad Ashfaq Ur Rahman and I committed ourselves to the task, with Dr. Amin Ahsan Ali providing invaluable feedback and support throughout the process. Our submission focused on “Intelligent English Tutoring System for School Students in Bangladesh” and “AI Tutor for Mathematics”, and we were overjoyed to learn of its acceptance three weeks later, Mohammad Ashfaq was awarded a 500USD travel grant.  While I was not awarded a travel grant, Dr. Amin Ahsan Ali and Prof. Ashraful Amin stepped in to help secure airfare funds from CCDS and IUB, for which I am immensely grateful. Their unwavering support and guidance are a testament to the power of collaboration and perseverance in achieving our goals.

What is ACM SIGCHI winter School?

ACM SIGCHI Winter School is a highly informative program that has been specifically designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to researchers, students, and industry practitioners in South Asia. The program is an initiative of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI), a professional organization aimed at promoting HCI research and practice. The Winter School was scheduled to be held from January 2nd to 4th, 2024, at the prestigious University of Colombo, School of Computing (UCSC, Colombo). Attendees can expect to gain valuable insights and knowledge from leading experts in the field, making it a must-attend event for anyone interested in HCI.


January 1st, 2024

As I boarded the plane at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, Bangladesh, I felt a sense of excitement for the journey ahead. I met with Mohammad Ashfaq upon my arrival at the airport. The flight on SriLankan Airlines was smooth, and a few hours later, we landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka. We met Dr. Nova Ahmed and her students from North South University, including Manoshi Das Turjo, Nuzhat Jabeen Haque, Ashfaq Mahee Siddiky, and Farhan Ahmed Fahim, at the airport. We collected our luggage and made our way to the Hotel Clock Inn Colombo, where we would be staying for the winter school program. Upon arriving at the hotel, the organizing team from the University of Colombo School of Computing (UCSC) ACM Student Chapter warmly welcomed us. We were thrilled to meet and learn from other researchers at the event. That evening, we met Laya Jimmy, a researcher from who was working on AI chatbots.

After a long day of travel, we took some time to rest before heading out for dinner. We decided to try Kottu and Nasi Goreng, local Sri Lankan dishes, from a restaurant on Abdul Hameed Street. Exploring the city with new friends was an incredible way to experience the culture. Back at the hotel, we met our roommates – two students from India’s Viswakarma Institute of Technology researching IoT-based bird nest monitoring and dark patterns. They were accompanied by their supervisor, Dr. Ganesh Bhutkar. After a full first day, we all turned in early, looking forward to kicking off the conference activities the next day.

First day of winter school

January 2nd, 2024

On Day 2, we woke up bright and early at 8 am, eager to jumpstart the workshop activities. After a quick breakfast with our fellow attendees, we were promptly greeted by the organizing student members from UCSC. Without delay, they led us to the university campus, which was stunningly landscaped with ample playground areas and a bustling cafeteria. We wasted no time in making our way to the workshops on the second floor of one of the buildings. The Winter School was kickstarted by none other than Dr. Dilrukshi Gomez. Following that, Prof. Neha Kumar from Georgia Tech provided a refreshingly insightful introduction to ACM SIGCHI and some of the best HCI conferences we were to expect. During the tea break, we took the chance to network with other attendees and learn about their work. After that, Prof. Michel Berstein from Stanford delivered a riveting lecture covering the foundations and emerging frontiers within HCI. After a mouth-watering lunch, we engaged in a conversation with Dr. Ganesh. After that, Prof. Anirudha Joshi from IIT Bombay imparted lessons on qualitative and quantitative research methods. We also participated in a tapping experiment from Dr. Anirudha Joshi’s lecture.

Second day of winter school

January 3rd, 2024

On Day 3, we picked up right where we left off with Prof. Anirudh Joshi’s teachings on paper review and proper referencing techniques. We took a short tea break to recharge before Prof. Nova Ahmed shared some insights from her research journey, which was incredibly inspiring as we prepared to present our initial project ideas.

During lunch, we took a well-deserved break before diving back into the workshops. Prof. Michael Bernstein continued to expand our knowledge of human-centered HCI and how to choose impactful research topics and methods. After another tea break, Dr. Ding Wang, Senior Researcher at Google, delivered a session that covered Prof. Neha’s topic. The valuable lessons from the day’s speakers had us bubbling with new ideas on our way back to the hotel. We were introduced to an innovative research technique by Dr. Ding Wang, known as ethnographic research. Ethnographic research design entails studying a specific group, culture, or community to gain insight into their beliefs, values, behaviors, and social dynamics. This approach employs a range of methods, including in-depth interviews, participant observation, and autoethnography. In the evening, Dr. Nova Ahmed took us on a walk to Independence Square in Colombo. It was another productive day at the Winter School that had come to an end.

Final day of winter school

January 4th, 2024

On the final day of the workshop, Professor Bernstein took our design skills for HCI research projects to the next level. Following that, Dr. Naomi Yamashita, Distinguished researcher at NTT Communication Science Laboratories, introduced mixed methods, and we were quickly formed into groups to brainstorm new ideas. We then presented our ideas to the esteemed speakers for feedback. After a satisfying lunch, Prof. Anirudha Joshi wrapped up the methods discussions. From Dr. Anirudha Joshi we learned how to write a paper effectively. Some of his tips are for writing a good paper, it is essential to select a relevant topic that presents opposing viewpoints. Diligently investigate the topic and assert your stance with compelling evidence. It is also crucial to identify the target audience for your piece. In the closing session, Prof. Bernstein shared invaluable wisdom on “unstruck-ing” projects through vectors and velocity. Dr. Michael Bernstein recommends prioritizing the audience over the conference and aiming for quality work instead of quantity. These strategies are crucial for achieving success and making a significant impact. To mark the occasion, two UCSC students performed a cultural song for everyone to enjoy.

Dr. Dilrukshi gave the final remarks and expressed gratitude for the enlightening workshop. We left the event with new learnings and connections that would last a lifetime. Finally, we took a picture with Dr. Michael Bernstein.

To spend more time with our new Sri Lankan friends, we explored the arcade at Independent Square. This transformative winter school experience was the perfect way to start off the year 2024.

Leisure & Explorations

January 5th, 2024

After completing the formalities of the Winter School, we decided to take charge and explore the vibrant streets of Colombo with confidence. Despite the challenges we faced in finding a nearby mosque for Jummah Salah, we took the initiative to explore the city and had an absolutely amazing time shopping and relaxing by the sea. As the sun set over Abdul Hameed Street, we confidently enjoyed some delicious grilled food and shared hearty laughs with our newfound friends. We were thrilled to experience the warm hospitality of Sri Lanka and made the most of our trip.

January 6th, 2024

On our last day in Sri Lanka, we decided to take an adventure to Mirissa by train, a charming coastal town known for its gorgeous beaches and whale watching. We took in the stunning landscapes along the way, and every moment of our journey was magical! Once we arrived in Mirissa, we treated ourselves to a scrumptious lunch and enjoyed a stroll on the sandy beaches, enjoying the serene beauty of it all. As the sun began to set, we reluctantly said goodbye to this idyllic coastal paradise. We made our way back to Colombo by Bus, feeling grateful for the unforgettable memories that we had made.

January 7th, 2024


As the sun rose on the seventh day, we gathered our belongings and made our way to the airport, filled with bittersweet emotions as we prepared to leave the beautiful island nation of Sri Lanka—the memories we made and the experiences we shared will forever be cherished in our hearts. We feel immensely grateful for the opportunity to explore this enchanting country and form meaningful connections with the people we met along the way. As we bid farewell, we recognize that goodbyes are never easy, but we take comfort in the knowledge that our cherished memories will continue to enrich our lives for years to come.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to CCDS for their invaluable support and mentorship throughout our project. Their guidance has been instrumental in leading us towards the winter school program. For students keen to enhance their skills in HCI and AI and wish to pursue research work in fields such as Computational Biology, Physics, and Astronomy, we highly recommend CCDS as the ideal destination and guide for your research endeavors.