Computing Infrastructure Projects
- The Walden's Paths project involves developing tools that allow K-12 educators to organize
World-Wide Web material for their students' use. The Internet provides students with a wealth
of multimedia materials that must be tailored before they can be used in the classroom.
Walden's Paths allows teachers to make use of these materials by creating directed paths that
students can follow to obtain a cohesive view of the collected material, browse off the path
freely, and then return to the path.
- VIKI is a spatial hypertext system that supports the use of spatial and visual cues such as
proximity, alignment, and graphical similarity to express relationships while interpreting
information. This allows users to take advantage of their perceptual system, spatial and
geographic memory, and more generally, spatial intelligence. VIKI users create hierarchies of
two-dimensional spaces to collect, arrange, and author visual symbols. These symbols may
represent information stored within the VIKI space or they may point to information external to
VIKI, such as information available via the World-Wide Web. VIKI facilitates the use of
common implicit structures through access to recognized stacks, lists, and composites of visual
symbols. End users may use VIKI to organize and personalize the massive amounts of
information available on the Internet.
- The Trellis project investigates the structure and semantics of human-computer interaction;
specifically in the context of hypertext/hypermedia systems. As with all hypertext systems,
Trellis permits the identification of information objects (e.g., nodes) and the definition of their
relationships (e.g., links). Beyond this, the Trellis information structure, called a
"hyperprogram," also directs the way in which the reader uses the information (i.e., the reader's
browsing semantics). In other words, a Trellis hyperprogram integrates task with information.
The design work, which has been ongoing since 1988, is based on Petri nets. This
representation provides a usable compromise between fully-programmable but non-analyzable
representations, such as those used in general programming languages, and fully-analyzable but
non-programmable representations, such as that provided by pure HTML as used on the
World-Wide Web. Results from the Trellis project are being used in the Walden's Paths project
to improve the authoring of educational content on the Internet.
- HOSS (Hypermedia Operating System Services) is an attempt to move hypermedia functionality
into the core operating environment of the computer itself. By making the operating system of
the computer hypermedia-aware, we hope to derive greater convenience for both user and
programmer, as well as greater efficiency of operation. Three aspects of operating system level
hypermedia-awareness that we are currently investigating are: using a hyperbase as a file
system; modifying the swapper to take advantage of semantic relationships among data (this
allows the pre-fetching of information via recognition of link structures); and, identifying
different types of processes (for example, navigational processes versus application processes)
to be distinguished by the operating system.