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VIII.5 Sept./Oct. 2001
Page: 39
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Marisa Campbell

back to top  Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millennium

John M. Carroll

Twenty years ago, the notion that computer systems and software should be designed and developed with explicit consideration of the needs, abilities, and preferences of their ultimate users was not the dominant view. Today it is. Readers of interactions magazine are well aware that Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is now an acknowledged critical component in contemporary software development, and a focal area of research and education bearing on software development. The question is not whether to adopt user-centered system development, but how.

The construction of HCI as technical project, as an area of professional work, and as an interdisciplinary focus continues. The frontiers of theory, method, technology, and application in HCI are expanding rapidly and in many directions. As we contemplate the dawn of a new millennium, we should ask where the HCI project is going. What are the critical technical challenges and opportunities that will define HCI research and development work beyond the year 2000? What are the approaches that will sustain and enhance the vitality and effectiveness of HCI in this new era? How will HCI be different from and similar to what it is today?

In spring of 1998, Jonathan Grudin, editor of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, and Tom Moran, editor of Human-Computer Interaction suggested a coordinated special issue project celebrating "Human-Computer Interaction in the New Millennium." Since I serve on both editorial boards, and perhaps more importantly, since I was unable to attend this meeting, I was asked to coordinate the project.

In the late spring an initial call for papers was circulated for the Transactions. About 50 research groups expressed initial interest, and in the end, 30 papers were submitted for the January, 1999 deadline. Thirteen associate editors of the Transactions, Joelle Coutaz, Paul Dourish, Wayne Gray, Jim Hollan, Scott Hudson, Hiroshi Ishii, Robert Jacob, Sirkka Jarvenpaa, Allan MacLean, Brad Myers, Bonnie Nardi, Randy Pausch, and I, helped to manage the review process. The result was a double special issue of the Transactions in March and June of 2000. The 10 papers from that double special issue are included in this book, with some revision to make them briefer and more accessible to a larger audience.

In February of 1999, the Human-Computer Interaction Consortium held a workshop on research visions and directions for the new millennium. A special issue of the Human-Computer Interactions was organized from the papers presented at this workshop. It was edited by Wendy Kellogg, Clayton Lewis, and Peter Polson. The five papers from that special issue are also included in this book. Human-Computer Interactions has a tradition of presenting rather lengthy and comprehensive papers. I thank this group of authors in particular for heroic revision efforts—in a couple of cases, excellent papers were cut to less than half their original length and their excellence was preserved!

Both of the journal special issue projects were highly successful. But journal projects are always limited by what papers happen to be submitted. I solicited 14 papers in addition to the 15 special issue papers from the two journal, to help balance content, though frankly, even 29 papers cannot begin to cover the scope of human-computer interaction. I thank this group of authors for writing to my half-baked specifications with such creativity and good nature. And finally, I thank the 75 experts from throughout the HCI community who served as referees. The energy and insight that can be marshaled for projects like this is awesome.

I hope that the efforts of all those who were involved in trying to take stock of where we are and to ponder where we are going will benefit them and the whole HCI community as we take our first steps into the new millennium.

–John M. Carroll (

back to top  Creative Evolutionary Systems

Peter J. Bentley and David W. Corne
Morgan Kaufmann
Publishing, 2001
ISBN: 1558606734

The use of evolution for creative problem solving is one of the most exciting and potentially significant areas in computer science today. Evolutionary Computation is a way of solving problems or generating designs, using mechanisms derived from natural evolution. In Evolutionary Computation, solutions to problems are "bred" from "populations" of candidate solutions.

This book concentrates on applying this idea in creative areas, such as art, music, architecture, and design. It broaches the concept of general innovation: Rather than the focusing on evolutionary computation for refining and optimizing an established overall design, the book examines the production of novel designs in a variety of creative disciplines. The editors have compiled contributions by leading researchers in each discipline, and have designed a book for the savvy and curious computing professional as well as computer-literate artists, musicians, designers and specialists in evolutionary computation and its applications.

bullet.gif Features:

  • Explores the use of evolutionary computation to generate novel creations including contemporary melodies, photo-realistic faces, jazz music in collaboration with a human composer, architectural designs, working electronic circuits, novel aircraft maneuvers, two and three dimensional art, and original proteins.
  • Presents the resulting designs in black and white, and color illustrations.
  • Fully describes the methods used so that readers with sufficient skill and interest can replicate the work and extend it.
  • Written for a general computer science audience providing coherent and unified treatment across multiple disciplines.
  • Includes a CD with hands-on activities for the reader including evolved images, animations, music and source-code related to the text.

back to top  Blondie24: Playing at the Edge of AI

David B. Fogel
Morgan Kaufmann
Publishing, 2001
ISBN 155860783

This book tells the story of how Blondie24 (her official Internet name) came to play checkers much better than her creators. More importantly, this book describes a new approach for designing intelligent machines. It's borrowed from an old approach, one that nature has used for billions of years: evolution.

Blondie is the product of a computer program that Kumar Chellapilla and I developed. The program emulates the principles of Darwinian evolution—random variation and selection. Through this two-step evolutionary process, Blondie discovered innovative ways to play the game and rose to the level of a human checkers expert, even performing well against masters on occasion. She's the result of hundreds of generations of evolution, all simulated on a computer.

This book covers some of the history of artificial intelligence and explores its future. To make my story complete, I've provided a little background on artificial neural networks, evolutionary computation, and a mathematical concept called a "landscape." I've also included an overview of how others have designed programs to play intellectual games, such as chess and checkers. As you'll discover, the Darwinian approach that Kumar and I used stands in marked contrast to these other efforts.

Our challenge is to create a machine that is itself creative, that learns to behave in circumstances we can't possibly anticipate. Natural evolution has designed carbon-based machines that meet this challenge. My experience with evolutionary computation has convinced me that evolutionary algorithms will meet this challenge eventually as well.

In some regards, they already do. Come read my story about Blondie and see for yourself.

–David B. Fogel

back to top  Book Listing

New Trends in Cooperative Activities: Understanding System Dynamics in Complex Environments
Michael McNeese, Eduardo Salas, and Mica R. Endsley, Editors
Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, 2001
ISBN 0945289162

Understanding Interfaces : A Handbook of Human Computer Dialogue
Academic Press, 2001
ISBN: 0124366104

Designing Secure Database Driven Web Sites
by Jimmy Nasr, Roger Mahler
Prentice Hall, 2001
ISBN: 0130854581

Where the Action Is: The Foundations of Embodied Interaction
Paul Dourish
MIT Press, 2001
ISBN: 0262041960

QuickTime for the Web: A Hands-On Guide for Webmasters, Site Designers, and HTML Authors, 2nd Ed.
Steven W. Gulie and Apple Computer, Inc.
Morgan Kaufmann Publishing, 2001
ISBN 012471255X

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©2001 ACM  1072-5220/01/0900  $5.00

Permission to make digital or hard copies of all or part of this work for personal or classroom use is granted without fee provided that copies are not made or distributed for profit or commercial advantage and that copies bear this notice and the full citation on the first page. To copy otherwise, to republish, to post on servers or to redistribute to lists, requires prior specific permission and/or a fee.

The Digital Library is published by the Association for Computing Machinery. Copyright © 2001 ACM, Inc.

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