Mackenzie Leake

Mackenzie Leake

I am a METEOR postdoctoral fellow at MIT CSAIL in the HCI Engineering Group. My research focuses on designing computational tools for various creative domains, including textiles and video. I received a PhD and MS in computer science at Stanford University and a BA in computational science and studio art at Scripps College. I am active in the modern quilting community, and my quilts have been exhibited at the Houston International Quilt Festival, AQS Paducah Quilt Show, and QuiltCon.


Research Highlights

This paper presents a mathematical formalization of a quilting technique called foundation paper piecing. We propose an algorithm for checking paper pieceability and implement it in a design tool.
(SIGGRAPH'21 paper | website)
PatchProv is a design tool that supports improvisational quilt design. Quilters capture images of their fabrics and utilize the digital tool to iterate between design and sewing steps.
(CHI'21 paper | website)
RoughCut uses the structure of dialogue-driven scenes and cinematographic principles to edit videos. The input is a script and multiple video takes, capturing different camera framings or performances. Our system automatically cuts together a video based on user-selected editing idioms.
(SIGGRAPH'17 paper | website)


  • Leake, M., Bernstein, G., & Agrawala, M. (2022). Sketch-Based Design of Foundation Paper Pieceable Quilts. ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '22) (to appear). website
  • Sethapakdi, T., Leake, M., Rodriguez, C.M., Cai, M.J., & Mueller, S. (2022). KineCAM: An Instant Camera for Animated Photographs. Proceedings of SIGGRAPH'22 Art Papers. website
  • Leake, M. (2022). Designing Modern Tools for Modern Quilt Design. PhD Thesis. link
  • Leake, M., Bernstein, G., Davis, A., & Agrawala, M. (2021). A Mathematical Foundation for Foundation Paper Pieceable Quilts. ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH'21), 40(4), 65:1-65:14. website
  • Leake, M., Lai, F., Grossman, T., Wigdor, D., & Lafreniere, B. (2021). PatchProv: Supporting Improvisational Design Practices for Modern Quilting. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'21). website
  • Leake, M., Kim, J., Shin, H., & Agrawala, M. (2020). Generating Audio-Visual Slideshows from Text Articles Using Word Concreteness. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'20). website
  • Leake, M., Davis, A., Truong, A., & Agrawala, M. (2017). Computational Video Editing for Dialogue-Driven Scenes. ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH'17), 36(4), 130:1-130:14. website
  • Leake, M. & Lewis, C.M. (2017). Recommendations for Designing CS Resource Sharing Sites for All Teachers. Proceedings of the 48th Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE'17). 357-362. pdf
  • Leake, M. (2015). Chart-based Strategies for Solving Bayesian Inference Problems. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges. 30(4), 107-114.

Short papers, Demos, & Posters

  • Turakhia, D.G., Jiang, P., Liu, B., Leake, M. & Mueller, S. (2022). The Reflective Maker: Using Reflection to Support Skill-learning in Makerspaces. UIST'22 posters.
  • Sethapakdi, T., Leake, M., Rodriguez, C.M., Cai, M.J., & Mueller, S. (2022). KineCAM: An Instant Camera for Animated Photographs. UIST'22 demos. website
  • Leake, M. & Lewis, C.M. (2016). Designing a New System for Sharing Computer Science Teaching Resources. CSCW'16 companion. pdf
  • Leake, M., Xia, L., Rocki, K., & Imaino, W. (2015). Effect of Spatial Pooler Initialization on Column Activity in Hierarchical Temporal Memory. AAAI'15.

Research Experience

MIT CSAIL METEOR Postdoctoral Fellow, Nov. 2021 - present

Mentor: Stefanie Mueller

Stanford University Research Assistant, Sept. 2015 - Oct. 2021

Mentor: Maneesh Agrawala

Chatham Labs (acquired by Meta) Research Intern, May 2020 - Sept. 2020

Mentors: Ben Lafreniere & Tovi Grossman

Adobe Research Intern, June 2018 - Sept. 2018

Mentors: Joy Kim & Valentina Shin

Adobe Research Intern, June 2017 - Sept. 2017

Mentor: Oliver Wang

Harvey Mudd College CS Teaching Tips Researcher, May 2015 - Mar. 2017

Mentor: Colleen Lewis

IBM Almaden Research Intern, June 2014 - Sept. 2014

Mentor: Wayne Imaino

Columbia University Amgen Scholar, May 2013 - Aug. 2013

Mentor: Rafael Yuste

Scripps Student Researcher, May 2012 - Mar. 2013

Mentor: Adam Landsberg


  • Rising Star in EECS, 2022
  • WiGraph Rising Star in Computer Graphics, 2022
  • MIT CSAIL METEOR Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2021
  • Adobe Research Fellowship, 2017
  • Brown Institute for Media Innovation Magic Grant, 2016, 2018
  • Stanford EDGE-STEM Fellowship, 2015
  • Stanford School of Engineering Fellowship, 2015
  • Anita Borg GHC Scholarship, 2015
  • Phi Beta Kappa Alpha Association Graduate Study Award, 2015
  • Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, 2014
  • Amgen Scholar, 2013
  • James E. Scripps Scholarship, 2011-2015


  • Project mentor, MIT Summer Geometry Initiative (SGI), Summer 2022
  • TA, Stanford CS247A: Design for AI, Spring 2021
  • TA, Stanford CS206/COMM281: Computational Journalism, Fall 2020
  • Instructor, Girls Teaching Girls to Code, Spring 2019

Recent Talks

  • MIT Architecture Digital Structures Group, May 2022
  • Silicon Valley Modern Quilt Guild, Apr. 2022
  • University of Washington Computational Fabrication Seminar (recording), Mar. 2022
  • MIT Graphics Group, Feb. 2021
  • Boston University Graphics Group, Dec. 2021
  • Toronto Geometry Colloquium (recording), Oct. 2021
  • MIT HCI Seminar, June 2021
  • Palo Alto University Rotary Club, May 2021