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Selected Research Internships

USA: Almaden Research Lab, Kalifornien

Forschungspraktika sind zu den folgenden Themen verfügbar:


The CoScripter research team is inventing new technology based on programming by demonstration to make it easy for end users to capture, share, and automate scripts for completing web-based tasks. These scripts can be used to automate repetitive tasks, saving users time and effort, or they can be used to share knowledge about how and what to do on the web. We are currently focusing on three research directions:

  • creating a human- and machine-understandable language for web scripting
  • making it easy for people to share knowledge via scripts
  • making scripts more robust by using machine learning to generalize from multiple demonstrations

CoScripter has been deployed within a large organization for over a year, and on the public Internet for several months, with over 10,000+ registered users. Try it now at http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/CoScripter


We are combining end-user programming concepts from the CoScripter project with the Firebug web-site debugging tool to create a new, multi- user web user interface development system. We want this system to encourage development of Web UIs that work well on mobile and desktops because they adapt at the task-level rather than layout level.


Our Activity Centric Computing (ACC) program is defining a new organizing paradigm for supporting collaborative work around purposeful human activities by creating a computational construct, called an Activity, its representation, architecture, and user experience. This research has already led to a Lotus product and an internal deployment to thousands in IBM. We are creating new research prototypes to explore several new directions that utilize an ACC back-end service to give activity support to common tools:

  • Providing tacit support for activities in email threads.
  • Supporting a coordinator-contributor pattern of collaboration in email.
  • Enabling personal task management across multiple devices, tools, and collaborative activities.
  • Understanding the collaboration and social networking needs of communities in the enterprise.
  • Enabling users to easily create spatial layouts of activity-centered content, to enhance their ability to understand and contribute to a shared activity representation.

WISE: Wisdom of the Enterprise.

Everyone in today’s information-driven enterprises needs timely, accessible and meaningful information to do their job better and more efficiently. The wisdom-of-the-crowds phenomenon that is pervasive outside the enterprise has yet to be fully exploited within the enterprise. Our goal is to build the platform, tools, and services necessary to enable all enterprise users to utilize the collective wisdom of the enterprise. To accomplish this vision, we plan to create a system that automatically ingests content, creates ad hoc semantics, and provides appropriate aggregations and seamless visualizations.


As users increasingly employ highly capable mobile devices such as the iPhone and G1, we have an opportunity to rethink the user experiences for how users interact with such devices, both in isolation and in the context of their other computing devices (e.g., desktops, laptops). We are currently exploring two separate but related directions: (1) How to redesign both mobile and desktop/laptop user experiences to explicitly recognize and reflect the use of multiple, heterogeneous devices for computational work. For example, how could/should email clients change when users employ both a mobile device and a desktop or laptop to check their mail? (2) How to support computational activities that span devices. We are particularly interested in how different patterns of behavior on different devices (e.g., short, intermittent use on mobile devices vs. sustained use of desktops) can inform both the design of new user experiences and the requirements for an underlying infrastructure.


Highlight allows end users to create mobile applications from existing web sites and deploy those applications to mobile devices. Highlight's design, which incorporates a fully-functional modern web browser engine as part of its server-side infrastructure, allows existing sites that contain substantial client-side JavaScript or Ajax technology to be modified for use on mobile devices. Our end-user authoring environment makes use of programming-by-demonstration techniques to allow creation of mobile applications easily and quickly.


Collaborative web browsing tasks occur frequently, such as one user showing another how to use a web site, several users working together on a search task, or even one user sending an interesting link to another user. Unfortunately, tools for browsing the web are commonly designed for a single user. PlayByPlay is a general-purpose web collaboration tool that uses the communication model of instant messaging to support a variety of collaborative browsing tasks. PlayByPlay also supports collaborative browsing between mobile and desktop users, which we believe is useful for on-the-go scenarios.


We are working on a tool that will take high-level task descriptions as input, and generate user interfaces design options for developers to customize. This work will involve developing theoretical models of human task performance.


This project explores the creation of map renderings that are easy to read and use on mobile devices.


Computer system administrators are the unsung heroes of the information age, working behind the scenes to configure, maintain, and troubleshoot the computer infrastructure that underlies much of modern life. However, little can be found in the literature about the practices and problems of these highly specialized computer users. We conducted a series of field studies in large corporate data centers, observing organizations, work practices, tools, and problem-solving strategies of system administrators. We observed that modern IT systems are extremely complex – a single individual cannot manage the complexity of such systems. Though organizations, methods, and tools are often put in place to reduce complexity in IT management, we found that imposing top-down structure in organizations, methods, and tools can only trail innovation in IT systems. We argue that real productivity gains can only be obtained when individuals can invent their own methods and tools for managing IT complexity, and when these methods and tools are taken up by local teams and by larger organizations.

Based on these findings, we are exploring new tools and features to improve administrators' ability to collaboratively manage complex systems.


Stroke gestures are an increasingly important interaction medium for mobile and other touch surface-based computing devices. Past and ongoing work at Almaden in this area includes advanced text entry system (ShapeWriter) and modelling of stroke gesture (the CLC model of stroke gestures and the steering law). Depending on the candidate's interests and skills, the summer project should make contributions in one of the following directions: 1. Mathematical / statistical / information theoretic understanding of gesture stroke systems such as ShapeWriter as a function of information capacity (e.g. the number of words and commands), 2. Advancing stroke gesture interface speed and accuracy performance, 3.Empirical and analytical studies of stroke gesture systems. The candidates should have skills and interest in at least two of the following: 1. Mathematical and statistical analysis and modelling, 2. Programming and prototyping, 3.Human performance literacture and empirical methods.


Eye-tracking technology has broad implications to future user experience creation in the areas of accessibility, intelligent user interfaces, and games. Past work at Almaden in this area includes MAGIC pointing and iTourist. This summer project aimes at creating new or enhancing existing interaction capabilities in one of the following applications areas: basic interaction actions such as pointing, input systems such as text writing, or domain specific applications such as gaming. Candidates are expected to have interests and skills in two of the following: the target selection and / or text input literature, creative design and experimentation, programming and prototyping, statistical processing/machine learning, multi-modal interaction.


The bluemail research team is developing novel user experiences and exploring advanced technologies to drive the future of enterprise email. Our current research themes have focussed on email conversation threading, social message tagging, and integration with social and networking services. We are investigating how email can best mashup with other work-based collaborative systems while maintaining a clear, natural, and unobstructed user experience. Behind the scenes, we have an added goal to discover new techniques and best practices that will leverage cloud-based storage systems and next generation Ajax-based rich internet client technology.


The social computing group does exciting research into social networking applications in the enterprise. We have several projects centered around using social data to work smarter, including:

    Fringe, an internal social network application that generates people profiles from Intranet data and company databases. Fringe also allows you to connect to and tag your colleagues into a social network.
  • Inquire, "faceted search for people". Inquire uses social network information for expertise search, as well as aid in disaster response.

...and several others.