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IBM Cambridge Research Center

  Project: Collaborative Reasoning

Primary Researchers: Steve Ross, Dan Gruen, Jamie Rasmussen, Kate Ehrlich, John Patterson
Contact: Steven_Ross@us.ibm.com

A Collaborative User Experience Project:

The Collaborative Reasoning project focuses on supporting the work of a group of people who collect, organize, and reason about information and make decisions. There are many situations in which an organization or group of people must work together to collect information and reach a consensus on what it means. There is often too much information for one person to sift through alone, and the required expertise may be spread among many individuals. We would like to understand how the design of tools can contribute to an environment that encourages people to share their knowledge and perspectives. We want to support a dynamic in which people can easily "bounce ideas off of each other". Applications for this work are numerous, and include business and competitive intelligence, medical diagnosis and epidemiology, intelligence analysis, and strategic forecasting. Our present focus is on supporting collaborative reasoning for time-critical vigilance tasks such as network analysis and fraud detection.

The project is exploring user experiences and underlying computational systems in the areas of:

  • Collaborative modeling and hypothesis generation,
  • Collaborative ontology creation and refinement,
  • The use of models and ontologies as the basis for collaboration, attention management, and data collection.

Our work focuses on applying Semantic Web and Artificial Intelligence technologies to help people think together more productively. We also draw on our earlier work on ActivitySpaces involving collaboration around projects and resources and Unified Activity Management involving representations of patterns of activity and related entities. It is also informed by our group's work on collaborative visualization, social computing, information aggregation and attention management.