Breakout Group Information
Saturday Afternoon


On Saturday afternoon, we will divide into small groups to discuss some issues facing our research field and the Interactive Systems Program, future directions that you think the program should take, and critical issues you see facing it. At the end of the afternoon, each group will present its conclusions and recommendations to the entire workshop audience, including the NSF officials, in a plenary session.


Each of you is already assigned to a group, listed below; each group cuts across several different disciplines. Unless everybody in the group knows each other already, you should probably begin your breakout session with a brief introduction from each person, approximately one minute long.


Your group should then discuss and formulate your answers to:

You can focus on any aspect of the questions the group prefers. Try and work toward a consensus within your group, but you can present an additional "minority viewgraph" if necessary. And realize that there will be 8 short presentations on these questions, so try to go beyond the "standard" answers to these questions. If your answer is that we need more funding, then you should also address the first question listed under Optional Assignments below.

Toward the end of your breakout session, please prepare one or two viewgraphs to present to the plenary session, in a 5-10 minute talk. We'll provide blank viewgraphs and the pens for them. The times for each group's presentation are listed below; each one is 10 minutes including time for questions and discussion.

Optional Assignments

In addition, if time permits and if your group is interested in these, please choose one or two of the questions listed below to discuss and present your results.

List three major impacts that research in this area has accomplished--which could be used as motivations for why NSF should continue or expand funding in the area.

The ISP currently consists of the following 6 program elements:

  1. Virtual Environments
  2. Speech and Natural Language Understanding
  3. Other Communication Modalities
  4. Adaptive Human Interfaces
  5. Usability and User-Centered Design
  6. Intelligent Interactive Systems for Persons with Disabilities
If you were to design the program yourself and to cast it into a broader "human-centered information systems" program, name the 5 or 6 program elements you would put into such a program.

The World Wide Web has captured the imaginations of many. It's clear that HTML is going to be the standard for a while, but what directions should we be exploring for the long term? If you are reading this before the workshop, a good starting point for this topic is the report of the recent NSF/IRIS Workshop on "Research Priorities for the World-Wide Web," organized by Jim Foley, which is available at URL

What tools do we need to build the next generations of user interfaces?

How might research supported by ISP fit into NSF's overall mission? How will the current political scene affect funding prospects for ISP research? How can our community act strategically in increasing awareness and support for interdisciplinary HCI work?

How can we foster interdisciplinary collaboration, given the following obstacles (or opportunities)? Many of us live in academic departments geared to rewarding achievement that falls within traditional disciplinary lines. Sometimes interdisciplinary work tends to receive lower weight than "mainstream" work when it comes time for tenure and promotion. Moreover, successful interdisciplinary work is a juggling act that requires keeping current with disparate techniques and literatures; this is no mean feat, given the accelerating rate of change just within one's "home" discipline. And for interdisciplinary work to have the impact it should, investigators need to participate in the yearly conferences for several disciplines. What resources or tools could/does ISP support that will help investigators keep all these balls in the air at once? For example, NSF could provide via WWW a resource list of publications, working papers, and progress reports resulting from past and present ISP projects, in order to encourage investigators to build on this work, avoid redundancy, and seek out useful connections with colleagues.

Are there any changes you'd suggest in NSF infrastructure, such as new types of proposals (e.g., un-reviewed $100K two-year starter grants), suggestions for team research efforts, cross-directorate/multidisciplinary efforts, or others?