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IBM Cambridge Research Center

Inventing better technologies to support collaborative work

Part of T.J. Watson Research Center, the Cambridge site is a short walk from the Charles River and is close to both the Harvard University and MIT campuses. This site is home to 25 leading social scientists, designers, and developers.

Many of the researchers in Cambridge are associated with the Collaborative User Experience (CUE) Research Group. CUE merges expertise in human work practices with technological innovation, creating new applications and product enhancements that anticipate and support the collaborative process. The IBM Center for Social Software , also headquartered in Cambridge, involves members of IBM labs all over the world doing research on social software.

Projects People Publications

Collaborative User Experience Projects

Currently CUE is focusing on the interrelated themes of Social Software, Collaborative Environments, and Interactive Visualization.

Social Software
We are exploring new collaboration software that builds on underlying social networks to provide powerful new ways to find people, groups, and manage information. Several projects are underway, including Beehive, a social networking site designed to help employees connect, team build, and learn about each other. In a second project, Cattail , we leverage social affordances to provide easy-to-use personal file sharing and information discovery. We continue to explore the benefits of social tagging and the benefits of socially-enabled search.

Collaborative Environments
Our goal is to invent new collaboration software by designing and building applications to support work in both small groups and large organizations. The Collaborative Reasoning
project focuses on supporting a group of people that is collecting, understanding and jointly reasoning about incoming information. The current use case for this work is detecting computer and network intrusions. In our work on Bluegrass and, more recently, Olympus, we have been trying to understand the business value of virtual worlds and avatars. In Olympus, a simple Flash-based virtual world is used in conjunction with the Unyte eMeeting service. In 2009, we will be investigating whether and how this new feature affects the eMeeting experience. Finally, the Ensemble project is applying social networking concepts to application development.

Interactive Visualization
Interactive visualizations help people see and exchange information in novel ways. Many Eyes exemplifies our design goal of transforming visualization from a solitary activity into a collaborative one. Other application areas are on-line discussions, email archives, social networks, software development, and executive decision support tools.