ISR Distinguished Speaker

Peter Pirolli

Research Fellow
“From Solo to Social Information Foraging Theory”
Friday, November 21, 2008 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm
Faculty Host: 

Email RSVP required to Jessica Garcia at by Monday November 17./p>

Donald Bren Hall (building #314), room 6011

No cost to attend.


Click here for directions and parking information.


Information Foraging Theory is a theory of human-information interaction that aims to explain and predict how people will best shape themselves to their information environments, and how information environments can best be shaped to people. The approach involves a kind of reverse engineering in which the analyst asks (a) what is the nature of the task and information environments, (b) why is a given system a good solution to the problem, and (c) how is that “ideal” solution realized (approximated) by mechanism. Typically, the key steps in developing a model of information foraging involve: (a) a rational analysis of the task and information environment (often drawing on optimal foraging theory from biology) and (b) a computational production system model of the cognitive structure of task. I will review work on individual information seeking, as well as out more recent studies of the social production, sharing, and use of information in areas such as wikis, social tagging, social network sites, and social search.

About the Speaker: 

Peter Pirolli is a Research Fellow in the Augmented Social Cognition Area at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where he has been pursuing studies of human information interaction since 1991. Prior to joining PARC, he was an Associate Professor in the School of Education at UC Berkeley. Pirolli received his doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association for Psychological Science, the National Academy of Education, and the Association for Computing Machinery Computer-Human Interaction Academy. His recent book is titled “Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction with Information.” He is Associate Editor of Human Computer Interaction.