Arnab Nandi


Arnab Nandi
Associate Professor
Computer Science & Engineering
The Ohio State University

Office: DL 687 [send email]

Picture of Arnab    

Arnab’s research focuses on user-facing challenges in large-scale data analytics and interactive data exploration. The goal of his group is to empower humans to effectively interact with data. This involves solving problems that span the areas of database systems, visualization, human-computer interaction, and information retrieval.

Arnab serves on the organizing committee of the annual Workshop on Human-in-the-Loop Data Analytics (HILDA). Arnab is also a founder of The STEAM Factory, a collaborative interdisciplinary research and public outreach initiative, and the OHI/O Hackathon Program, that uses hackathons as an informal learning platform. Arnab is a recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, a Google Faculty Research Award, and the Ohio State College of Engineering Lumley Research Award. He is also the recipient of the IEEE TCDE Early Career Award for his contributions towards user-focused data interaction.



Selected Projects



  • 2019 is off to a great start: Codi will be presenting ARQuery at CIDR 2019, Protiva will be presenting Transformer at IUI 2019, and Meraj will be presenting FluxCapacitor at IUI 2019!
  • Protiva’s paper, “ICARUS: Minimizing Human Effort in Iterative Data Completion” was accepted to VLDB!
  • We’ll be presenting our tutorial “Evaluating Interactive Data Systems: Workloads, Metrics, and Guidelines” at SIGMOD 2018. See you there!



  • Associate Editor: VLDB 2019
  • Organizer / co-Chair / Steering Committee: HILDA 2016, HILDA 2017, HILDA 2019
  • Senior PC: IUI 2019
  • Demonstrations Chair: ICDE 2017
  • Publicity co-Chair: SIGMOD 2017
  • Program Committees: SIGMOD (2015, 2016), VLDB (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017), SOCC (2013), ICDE (2013)
  • Reviewer: SIGMOD, TKDE, TODS, PVLDB, VLDB Journal, WWW
  • Informal Learning: Co-founder, OHI/O Hackathon program that fosters a tech culture at Ohio State by hosting Ohio State’s annual hackathons (100+ students in 2013, 200+ in 2014, 500+ in 2015) and supporting related efforts such as the Makeathon hardware hackathon.
  • Collaborative Research and Dissemination: Co-founder, The STEAM Factory initiative that spans over 100 faculty, staff and post-doc members.


Publications [dblp] [scholar] [by year]

Gestural Querying: (Supported by NSF CAREER Award #1453582)
Next-generation data interfaces will look a lot different than today’s computers. What happens to databases when gestures are the sole mode of interaction?

  • Arnab Nandi: Querying Without Keyboards: CIDR 2013 (Vision Track: Best Paper Award) [pdf] [concept video]
  • Juan Felipe Beltran, Ziqi Huang, Azza Abouzied, Arnab Nandi: Don’t Just Swipe Left, Tell Me Why: Enhancing Gesture-based Feedback with Reason Bins: IUI 2017 ( Best Paper Honorable Mention ) [pdf]
  • Lilong Jiang, Protiva Rahman, Arnab Nandi: Evaluating Interactive Data Systems: Workloads, Metrics, and Guidelines: SIGMOD 2018 (tutorial) [coming soon]
  • Jiongqian Liang, David Fuhry, David Maung, Roger Crawfis, Lynne Gauthier, Arnab Nandi, Srinivasan Parthasarathy: Data Analytics Framework for A Game-based Rehabilitation System: SDM Workshop on Data Mining for Medicine and Healthcare 2016 [pdf]
  • Lilong Jiang, Arnab Nandi: SnapToQuery: Providing Interactive Feedback during Exploratory Query Specification: VLDB 2015 [pdf] [video]
  • Lilong Jiang, Arnab Nandi: Designing Interactive Query Interfaces to Teach Database Systems in the Classroom: CHI 2015 (Work-In-Progress) [pdf] [slides]
  • Arnab Nandi: Breathing Life into Database Textbooks: CIDR 2015 (Extended Abstract) [pdf]
  • Ziqi Huang, Juan Felipe Beltran, Azza Abouzied, Arnab Nandi: Beyond Binary Gestures: Exploring Documents using Touch Interfaces: CHI 2015 (Work-In-Progress) [pdf]
  • Arnab Nandi, Lilong Jiang, Michael Mandel: Gestural Query Specification: VLDB 2014 [pdf] [slides] [video]
  • Lilong Jiang, Arnab Nandi, Michael Mandel: GestureQuery: A Multitouch Database Query Interface: VLDB 2013 (demo) [pdf]
  • Arnab Nandi, Michael Mandel: The Interactive Join: Recognizing Gestures for Database Queries: CHI 2013 (Work-In-Progress) [pdf]

Large Scale / Interactive Analytics: (Supported by NSF Awards #1422977 and #1527779)
How do we support low-latency, human-in-the-loop, visual, and exploratory analysis over extremely large datasets?

  • Mohamed Sarwat, Arnab Nandi: On Designing a GeoViz-Aware Database System – Challenges and Opportunities: SSTD 2017 (3rd place, CCC Best Vision Paper Award) [pdf]
  • Meraj Ahmed Khan, Larry Xu, Arnab Nandi, Joseph Hellerstein: Data Tweening: Incremental Visualization of Data Transforms: VLDB 2017 [pdf]
  • Roee Ebenstein, Niranjan Kamat, Arnab Nandi: FluxQuery: An Execution Framework for Highly Interactive Query Workloads: SIGMOD 2016 [pdf]
  • Niranjan Kamat, Arnab Nandi: A Session-Based Approach to Fast-But-Approximate Interactive Data Cube Exploration: TKDD 2016 [pdf]
  • Niranjan Kamat, Arnab Nandi: A Closer Look at Variance Implementations In Modern Database Systems: SIGMOD Record 2016 [pdf]
  • Eugene Wu, Arnab Nandi: Towards Perception-aware Interactive Data Visualization Systems: Data Systems for Interactive Analysis (DSIA) Workshop 2015
  • Arnab Nandi, Ziqi Huang, Man Cao, Micha Elsner, Lilong Jiang, Srinivasan Parthasarathy, Ramiya Venkatachalam: Interactive Tweaking of Text Analytics Dashboards DNIS 2015 / Springer LNCS [pdf]
  • Prasanth Jayachandran, Niranjan Kamat, Kathik Tunga, Arnab Nandi: Combining User Interaction, Speculative Query Execution and Sampling in the DICE System: VLDB 2014 (demo) [pdf] [video]
  • Niranjan Kamat, Prasanth Jayachandran, Kathik Tunga, Arnab Nandi: Distributed Interactive Cube Exploration: ICDE 2014 [pdf] [slides]
  • Arnab Nandi, Cong Yu, Philip Bohannon, Raghu Ramakrishnan: Data Cube Materialization and Mining over MapReduce: IEEE TKDE “Best Papers in ICDE 2011” Special Issue [pdf]

Guided Interaction:

  • David Fuhry, Yang Zhang, Venu Satuluri, Arnab Nandi, Srinivasan Parthasarathy: PLASMA-HD: Probing the LAttice Structure and MAkeup of High-dimensional Data: VLDB 2013 (demo) [pdf]
  • Manish Singh, Arnab Nandi, H. V. Jagadish: Skimmer: Rapid Scrolling of Relational Query Results: SIGMOD 2012 [pdf] [slides]
  • Arnab Nandi, H. V. Jagadish: Guided Interaction: Rethinking the Query-Result Paradigm: VLDB 2011 (Challenges & Visions Track) [pdf] [slides]


Database Usability:

  • H. V. Jagadish , Arnab Nandi, Li Qian: Organic Databases: DNIS 2011 [pdf]
  • Arnab Nandi, H. V. Jagadish: Qunits: queried units in database search: CIDR 2009 [html] [pdf] [slides]
  • H. V. Jagadish, Adriane Chapman, Aaron Elkiss, Magesh Jayapandian, Yunyao Li, Arnab Nandi, Cong Yu: Making database systems usable: SIGMOD 2007 [pdf]
  • Magesh Jayapandian, Adriane Chapman, V. Glenn Tarcea, Cong Yu, Aaron Elkiss, Angela Ianni, Bin Liu, Arnab Nandi, Carlos Santos, Philip Andrews, Brian D. Athey, David J. States, H. V. Jagadish: Michigan Molecular Interactions (MiMI): putting the jigsaw puzzle together: Nucleic Acids Research 35(Database-Issue) 2007

Human-powered Computation:

  • Akash Das Sarma, Ayush Jain, Arnab Nandi, Aditya Parameswaran, Jennifer Widom: JellyBean: Crowd-Powered Image Counting Algorithms: Technical Report [pdf]
  • Manirupa Das, Micha Elsner, Arnab Nandi, Rajiv Ramnath: TopChurn: Maximum Entropy Churn Prediction Using Topic Models Over Heterogeneous Signals: WWW Web Science 2015 (Invited to Journal of Web Science as one of the Best Papers from WWW Web Science) [pdf]

Search / Query Log Mining / Data Integration / Privacy / Social / Education:

  • Yi Wang, Arnab Nandi, Gagan Agrawal: SAGA: array storage as a DB with support for structural aggregations: SSDBM 2014 [pdf]
  • Arnab Nandi, Meris Mandernach: Hackathons as an Informal Learning Platform: SIGCSE 2016 [pdf]
  • Arnab Nandi, Stelios Paparizos, John Shafer, Rakesh Agrawal: With a Little Help from My Friends: ICDE 2013 (demo) [pdf]
  • Daniel Fabbri, Arnab Nandi, Kristen LeFevre, H. V. Jagadish: PrivatePond: Outsourced Management of Web Corpuses: WebDB 2009 [html] [pdf]
  • Soumen Chakrabarti, Jeetendra Mirchandani, Arnab Nandi: SPIN: searching personal information networks: SIGIR 2005 (demo) [pdf]

This research is made possible through the support of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Yahoo! Labs, and Google Research.


I also have a sporadically maintained blog.



Arnab received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan where he was awarded the Yahoo! Research PhD Fellowship. At Michigan, he was part of the Database Research Group and was advised by H. V. Jagadish. His thesis addressed the problem of making search in databases easier, as part of the group’s broader goal of making databases usable. During internships at Yahoo! Research, Google and Microsoft Research, Arnab worked on various large-scale systems, dealing with problems in web and social search, data integration and data cubing.

During his PhD, Arnab was involved with the Michigan CSE Graduate Society board in various capacities including Secretary, Treasurer and President.
Before graduate school, he worked with Prof. Soumen Chakrabarti and Prof. S. Sudarshan at IIT Bombay. Arnab was part of the BANKS and SPIN projects, where he worked on various aspects of ranking graph-based data.
During his undergraduate years at the University of Delhi, Arnab teamed up with 2 of his college-mates to start idya Research , where he developed novel web-based applications.
He has also had the opportunity of interning with Media Lab Asia, and the technical research group at Yahoo! Bangalore. He worked with the Question Answering group at Google in the summer of 2007, the Database Group at Microsoft Research in the summer of 2008, the Web Information Management Group at Yahoo! Research in the summer of 2009 and the Search Labs group at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley in the summer of 2011.
Apart from research, he has also been a contributor to Drupal, the framework that runs this website. Arnab created the Captcha and Similar Entries modules, which are now maintained by other members of the Drupal community. He also wrote BaconSnake, parts of which eventually made its way into Apache Pig 0.8’s Jython UDF feature.