Katy Williams

PhD Student

Office: GS 756

Interests: Data visualization, high-performance computing.



I am a second-year PhD student, advised by Kate Isaacs. I am a member of the Humans, Data, and Computers (HDC) lab at the University of Arizona. I am currently developing visualizations to aid the Stellar group at LSU with the development of Phylanx, a general purpose system for computations on distributed arrays for applied statistics on commodity cloud systems. I am from Apex, North Carolina and graduated from Davidson College in 2017 with my Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and a Math minor (go 'Cats!). While at Davidson College, I collaborated with Dr. Laurie Heyer as part of Project PRONTO (PRoductive ONline TOols), a team of student programmers that build web applications to help streamline processes at Davidson College and the community. I also founded the club FICSIT (Females in Computer Science and Information Technology), with the goal of providing a comfortable space for female programmers to foster out-of-classroom learning experiences and to encourage creativity and exploration in the computer science community.

​​​​​Research Interests

I am interested in visualizing performance data from high performance computers. I incorporate not only the performance data into the design, but also higher-level representations of how the code was run (e.g. the AST), to provide a holistic way for researchers to understand how their code was executed.

What long-term project do you want to work on?

I want to work on expanding and improving the use of visualization to understand the “black box” in emerging, difficult fields, such as high performance computing or machine learning.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I like how visualization can provide a way to make data accessible and tangible. Through careful design, we can create systems that allow exploration of the data space that enable the user to see the greater context and to examine relationships within the data.

What are your career goals?

My goal is to become a professor at a teaching-focused liberal arts college, like my alma mater Davidson College.

​​​​Tell us something interesting about yourself!

I am a competitive swimmer: I was a Division I swimmer in college and competed at the 2016 Olympic Trials in the 100m and 200m breaststrokes. I hope to qualify for the 2020 Trials.