The broad goal of this project is to understand how to combine sustainability knowledge with information and communication technology (ICT) in creating sustainable communities. The Transition Movement is a global social experiment aiming to promote sustainable living and build ecological resilience in the near future at local levels. The Transition movement began in 2005 in Totnes, UK, a market town in South Devon. Today there are about 1000 registered Transition towns in 34 countries.
Collaboration is becoming ubiquitious; at the same time the emergence of new technologies have been changing the landscape of interaction and collaboration. I am interested in the effect that information technologies have on collaboration and the development of new organizational practices such as network-centricity, group-to-group collaboration, nomadic work, and large-scale collaboration. I am also very interested in how Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis, social-networking sites, etc.) are used in collaboration and how they can be integrated into the course of daily work.
Microtask crowdsourcing systems such as FoldIt and ESP partition work into short, self-contained microtasks, reducing barriers to contribute, increasing parallelism, and reducing the time to complete work. Could this model be applied to software development? To explore this question, we are designing a development process and cloud-based IDE for crowd development.
Literature about design suggests that a variety of alternatives leads to a higher quality final design. When software designers, either individually or together, are designing in front of the whiteboard, they rarely explore different solution alternatives. How can we help designers to explore more design alternatives for software problems? To achieve this, we are working on a process to facilitate designers to collaborate and produce high quality software designs while considering more solution alternatives.
When there is a major environmental disruption such as a natural disaster or war, it is not only the technical infrastructure that needs to be repaired but also the human infrastructure. I am currently studying collaboration resilience-the extent to which people continue to work and socialize despite such a disruption. In this project we are examining the role that information technology plays in helping people repair their human infrastructure.
Scientists are always working to determine which articles are interesting to them, timely, and relevant to their research. If working in an unfamiliar research area, searching for papers becomes even more difficult. By allowing users to vote on the prominence of links, social news sites like Slashdot, Digg, and reddit.com have addressed the issue of surfacing new and interesting content from across the internet. Moreover, they provide opportunities to provide context and comment on the content.
One of the most difficult tasks in debugging software for a developer is to understand the nature of the fault. Techniques have been proposed by researchers that can help *locate* the fault, but mostly neglected is a way to describe the nature of the fault. We are developing software models, visualizations, and techniques to aid in the diagnosis of the faults in the software.
Over the last several years we have been studying how digital media affects people’s lives. Rather than bring people into a laboratory, I view the real world as a living laboratory--I go where people live, study, and work, to study them as they go about their normal activities. Digital media use affects people’s mood, stress, and behavior quite significantly. In particular, people experience disruptions when working with digital media due to multi-tasking and interruptions.