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Sender: "ACM SIGCHI General Interest Announcements (Mailing List)" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 16:45:08 -0000
Reply-To: Peter J Wild <[log in to unmask]>
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Organization: University of Bath
From: Peter J Wild <[log in to unmask]>
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Coping with complexity: sharing new approaches for the design of
human-computer systems in complex settings.

The use of interactive information and communication technologies is now
thoroughly ingrained in society, but the complexity of their role is
constantly changing, and deepening.  The complexity of the interplay between
such technologies, people and society needs to be better understood to give
design a better foundation.  Capability to support settings such as
collaborative work, mobile work, knowledge-sharing communities, as well as
the operation of dynamic, high-consequence, and safety-critical systems,
requires new approaches.  Equipping computer systems with new capabilities
is often approached through increased automation, adaptivity, context
sensitivity, and artificial intelligence techniques.  Such advances,
however, create new types of interaction, and therefore new problems
including new types of error, often with higher consequences.   However, the
aim of any such design should be to make human-computer interaction simpler
not more complex and difficult.

Whilst theory and practice of HCI has made tremendous progress in many
areas, identifying suitable approaches to dealing with complexity remains a
major challenge.  Neither just modelling the complexity of the technical
artefacts we operate, nor modelling the activities we engage in gives us all
the insights we need for design.  We need to study the interplay of both.
Moreover, we are increasingly faced with having to understand what is often
termed 'context' -- the settings, resources and constraints, within which
tasks are carried out by individuals and groups.  Lastly, when modelling
interaction for design, we are faced with change and uncertainty.  How can
we envisage future interaction?  What aspects of current activities,
knowledge and skills should be preserved?  Which aspects need to be

When faced with the design of effective and seamless human-computer systems
in complex settings, we face the classical dilemma.  We need to create a
suitable understanding to reduce complex phenomena.  We cannot reason about
complexity without suitable abstractions that take account of the features
of reality that matter for the specific design task we are faced with.
However, solutions for simplified systems often do not scale to complex
systems.  Understanding and shaping complexity requires identifying
essential structures and central aspects (which may differ for specific
domains and design problems).  Do we need to study organisational structures
and rules to deal with the problem of managing interdependencies between
activities?  Do we benefit from viewing interactive systems as distributed
cognition by shifting traditional system boundaries between computer system
and users?  Should we design computer systems as collaborators, by drawing
suitable analogies to collaboration as can be observed between humans?
Should we focus on studying meta-cognitive processes?  Can biological
systems inform the design of interactive systems?

This workshop aims to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas on new
approaches to support the development of new generations of interactive
systems -- and to establish a network of researchers working with these
problems.  The workshop is open to contributors from any discipline (e.g.,
computer scientists, designers, sociologists, biologists, architects,
environmental scientists) -- including both practitioners and academics.

Format and organisational details:

We invite two types of position papers: Long Position Papers (6-8 pages) and
Short Position Papers (1-2 pages).  We will select a number of long position
papers that will be the main basis for the discussions after 20-minute
presentations.  The short papers act as an indicator to structure the themes
for discussion.  Acceptance of short position papers is essential for
attendance.  Participants will present their short papers as posters. All
position papers will be selected on the basis of their relevance, quality
and ability to stimulate discussion.  We envisage a number of participants
of around 30, although some limited places may be available for people who
have not submitted papers.

*Long position papers:

due by the Friday, 16th April 2004;

should describe original research work;

should be 6-8 pages long, and no longer than 7000 words.

*Short position papers:

also due by Friday, 16th April 2004;

outlining experience and views on the topic, and reasons for the interest in
the workshop; should be 1-2 pages long, and no longer than 1500 words.

*Notification of acceptance:        Monday 17th May 2004

*Workshop date:                             12-13 July 2004

Please download the style guide to make our work easier
All accepted papers will be made available prior to the workshop via our
webpage  We
would encourage all participants to familiarize themselves with the papers
before participation.  After the workshop, we will produce post-workshop
proceedings including a workshop report.   It is our intention to publish
selected papers in an extended and revised form through a journal, or as an
edited book.

The workshop will run over 2 days, at the University of Bath's conference

facilities during the 12th and 13th July 2004.

Address For Further Information And Submissions:

Anne Bruseberg or Peter Wild: [log in to unmask]
Department of Computer Science
University of Bath

Workshop Organising Committee:
Peter Johnson
Anne Bruseberg
Peter J Wild