A Human-Centered Architecture for an Interactive Workspace

Terry Winograd, Computer Science Department, Stanford University

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University September 26, 1998


Our research group in Graphics and HCI at Stanford University is building an "interaction space", integrating a number of computer displays and devices in a single room. These devices include large high-resolution displays (wall mounted and tabletop), personal devices (PDAs, tablet computers, laser pointers, etc.), and environmental sensors (cameras, microphones, floor pressure sensors, etc.).

The space will support joint work by multiple users, who can move from device to device and adopt interaction modalities as appropriate to the task and materials. Applications will integrate activities that involve more than one physical device (e.g., the large display, pointers, voice, and one or more hand-held devices).

This talk presents the concepts behind our high level architecture for organizing multi-person multi-modal interactions with a computer system at two levels. At the device-integration level, the architecture provides mechanisms for coping with fundamental properties of human interaction: object-based perception, context-dependent interpretation, and action-perception coupling. At the level of the user model, it moves away from the programming-oriented context structure to a use-oriented context structure, designed for a multi-device, multi-person work setting. For more details see the working paper.

Terry Winograd is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University where he directs the teaching and research programs on Human-Computer Interaction Design. His early research on natural language understanding by computers led to two books and numerous articles on that topic. His book, Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design (Addison-Wesley, 1987, co-authored with Fernando Flores), took a critical look at work in artificial intelligence and suggested new directions for the design of computer systems and their integration into human activity. He co-edited a volume on usability with Paul Adler, (Usability: Turning Technologies into Tools, Oxford, 1992). His most recent book, Bringing Design to Software (Addison-Wesley, 1996) brings together the perspectives of a number of leading proponents of software design.

Winograd is one of the principal investigators in the Stanford Digital Libraries Initative project, a collaboration with industrial partners to develop technologies for the future networked Digital Library. He was a founder of Action Technologies, a developer of workflow software, and was a founding member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, of which he is a past national president. He is also a consultant to Interval Research Corporation, on the national advisory board of the Association for Software Design, and on the editorial board of several journals, including Human-Computer Interaction and Computer-Supported Cooperative Work.


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