Roderick Tabalba

About Me

Aloha Mai Kākou,

My name is Roderick Tabalba and I am currently a PhD student in Computer Science in the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM). I've also completed my Bachelors of Computer Science, Masters of Computer Science, and a Minor in Psychology at the UHM. I am a research assistant in the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Application (LAVA) and honored to have Dr. Jason Leigh as my advisor. My professional interests are primarily focused on Human-AI collaboration, Natural Language Processing, and Linguistics.

My research endeavors encompass a diverse array of projects, including front-end development, virtual reality and augmented reality, data visualization, human-computer interaction, and natural language processing. In addition to my research responsibilities, I help plan and conduct tours of the LAVA lab for guests, which include state legislators, Hollywood producers/directors, visiting researchers, and students of all ages. 

Apart from my professional work, I love to live an active lifestyle by enjoying physical activity. Whether it be running, weightlifting, pickle-ball, or hiking, you can count me in!

University of Hawaii at Manoa: 

PhD Computer Science (Expected 2024)

MS Computer Science (2022)

BS Computer Science (2020)

Minor Psychology (2020)



Articulate is a research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate natural language processing techniques to create data visualizations. In this research project, we collaborated with the University of Illinois, Chicago and University of Northeastern to explore the benefits of an always-listening AI to contextualize queries. In this project, I created a Javascript web application using the React framework as the frontend and Node-NLP as the NLP engine. During my Master's we managed to publish a full paper (IUI23), a poster (CUI22), and I presented this project as my Master's thesis.

This project is funded by the NSF award #2008986 & 2007257

Github Link 


SAGE is a software that enables users (scientists, educators, students, businesses) to collaborate over large distances using their laptops and tiled media walls. SAGE3 is the 3rd iteration of SAGE that aims to provide support for AI users through the use of 2-D Jupyter Notebooks and leverages Large Language Models to support a no-code environment. I am a developer and co-inventor on this project and helped the team by creating SAGE3 applications. I provided solutions to font-end issues and provided additional support as a QA/QC. This project was also presented as a Birds of Feather (BOF) in the SuperComputing (2022) conference, where the team and I presented SAGE3 demoes to the community.

SAGE3 Website 


ChangeHI is a research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to address climate change in Hawaii. My work on this project focuses primarily on providing an interface that enables users to create data visualizations, that access the Hawaii Mesonet in a no-code environment. This application is integrated in SAGE3 and leverages SAGE3's infinite canvas to create custom dashboards.

This project is funded by the NSF award #2149133

Hawaii Mesonet Information 

National Vulnerability Intelligence Platform

The National Vulnerability Intelligence Platform (NVIP) is a research project that seeks to investigate the benefits of data visualizations in Software Bill of Materials (SBOMs). SBOM is an audited report of a software project that contains information regarding the software security vulnerabilities and dependencies present in the project. In short, SBOMs will be required by the government agencies to assess the adoption of software into their systems. In this project, we created a unique presentation of software dependencies as a layered ring topology to avoid unnecessary clutter of links.


CyberCOP (Hackathon Winner)

A unity project that visualizes simulations of rerouting satellite communication. When a satellite is jammed, the communication  between satellites are rerouted to find the next optimal path for the quickest transmission. We presented this project at the Reality Bytes Hackathon and got 1st place in the student category.

UHM News Articulate 

Learn Samoan

An educational web application that created using React & Firebase. This website was used to introduce Samoan 101 students to the Samoan language. The website features mini applications to support learning activities such as: pronunciation, dialogue conversation, translation flash cards, translation practice, and a Samoan dictionary.



Roderick Tabalba, Nurit Kirshenbaum, Jesse Harden, Michael Rogers, Arthur Nishimoto, Elizabeth Christman, Andy Yu, Ryan Theriot, Lance Long, Luc Renambot, Mahdi Belcaid, Chris North, Andrew Johnson, Jason Leigh.  SAGE3 - the Smart Amplified Group Environment. (2023, October 30). Securing Science Gateways. 

Roderick S Tabalba, Nurit Kirshenbaum, Jason Leigh, Abari Bhattacharya, Veronica Grosso, Barbara Di Eugenio, Andrew E Johnson, and Moira Zellner. 2023. An Investigation into an Always Listening Interface to Support Data Exploration. In Proceedings of the 28th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces (IUI '23). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 128–141. 

Roderick Tabalba, Nurit Kirshenbaum, Jason Leigh, Abari Bhatacharya, Andrew Johnson, Veronica Grosso, Barbara Di Eugenio, and Moira Zellner. 2022. Articulate+ : An Always-Listening Natural Language Interface for Creating Data Visualizations. In Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 38, 1–6. 

Tabalba, Roderick S. Articulate+: An Always Listening Interface for Creating Data Visualizations University of Hawai'i at Manoa ProQuest Dissertations Publishing,  2022. 29993654. Preview 

M. Belcaid, J. Leigh, R. Theriot, N. Kirshenbaum, R. Tabalba, M. Rogers, A. Johnson, M. Brown, L. Renambot, L. Long, A. Nishimoto, C. North, J. Harden, Reflecting on the Scalable Adaptive Graphics Environment Team's 20-Year Translational Research Endeavor in Digital Collaboration Tools, IEEE Computing in Science & Engineering, March-April 2023, pp. 50-56, vol. 25. 

Abari Bhattacharya, Abhinav Kumar, Barbara Di Eugenio, Roderick Tabalba, Jillian Aurisano, Veronica Grosso, Andrew Johnson, Jason Leigh, and Moira Zellner. 2023. Reference Resolution and New Entities in Exploratory Data Visualization: From Controlled to Unconstrained Interactions with a Conversational Assistant. In Proceedings of the 24th Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue, pages 370–380, Prague, Czechia. Association for Computational Linguistics. 

Nurit Kirshenbaum, Kylie Davidson, Jesse Harden, Chris North, Dylan Kobayashi, Ryan Theriot, Roderick S. Tabalba, Michael L. Rogers, Mahdi Belcaid, Andrew T. Burks, Krishna N. Bharadwaj, Luc Renambot, Andrew E. Johnson, Lance Long, and Jason Leigh. 2021. Traces of Time through Space: Advantages of Creating Complex Canvases in Collaborative Meetings. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact. 5, ISS, Article 502 (November 2021), 20 pages. 

Dylan Kobayashi, Nurit Kirshenbaum, Roderick S Tabalba, Ryan Theriot, and Jason Leigh. 2021. Translating The Benefits Of Wide-band Display Environments Into An XR Space. In Proceedings of the 2021 ACM Symposium on Spatial User Interaction (SUI '21). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 9, 1–11. 

Bharadwaj Krishna, Burks Andrew, Johnson Andrew, Long Lance, Renambot Luc, Brown Maxine, Kobayashi Dylan, Belcaid Mahdi, Kirshenbaum Nurit, Tabalba Roderick, Theriot Ryan, Leigh Jason, "Securing Collaborative Work in Wide-band Display Environments," 2021 IEEE 7th International Conference on Collaboration and Internet Computing (CIC), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2021, pp. 26-34, doi: 10.1109/CIC52973.2021.00014. 


Video Game Design

Lecturer for Undergraduate Course at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Virtual/Augmented Reality

Lecturer for Undergraduate Course at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Punahou Virtual Reality

After-School lecturer for middle school at Punahou