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Special talk with Roman Rädle on Paving the road to collaborative computational thinking

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Thursday 1 March 2018,  at 11:15 - 12:00




Computational thinking is becoming a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. Presently, the need for this skill includes diverse fields such as data science, journalism, and physics; and even previously labor-intensive professions are requiring more and more computing skills. Although most people will not become professional programmers, we will soon have a future where they will be able to change software; thereby they will expect to be able to adapt it to their very idiosyncratic work practices. However, software still follows the "one-application-fits-all" model and does not allow for ad hoc adaptability, for example, when changing from individual to collaborative work. Similarly, current computing hardware has limited support for ad hoc and fluid transitions between individual and collaborative work. We need to start rethinking software and hardware and building for a future where people can be empowered to re-appropriate their software for collaborative computational thinking. 

This talk will address two projects, which span aspects that are important for collaborative computational thinking. First, a software platform that allows for organic development of functionality where users can ad hoc adapt its use to their current task at hand. Second, a technology that copes with and supports fluid changes of device configurations, e.g., by tracking off-the-shelf mobile devices on a table surface.


Roman is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Digital Design and Information Studies at Aarhus University in Denmark. He holds a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Konstanz in Germany.

His research interests include human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, and programming education. He recently worked on the use of interactive notebooks in situations where the number of people and devices may vary over time, and how to support fluid transitions between these situations. For example, their use in educational settings where work using notebooks can change from individual work to collaborative group work and vice versa. This work builds on his past Ph.D. research where he focused on spatial navigation and cross-device interactions to support knowledge work activities.

He regularly publishes at CHI, UIST, and ISS. In 2013/2014, he was a visiting scholar at the Game Innovation Lab directed by Katherine Isbister at New York University (NYU Tandon School of Engineering). From August to December 2015, he was embedded in the Human Experience & Design Group during a 4.5-month internship at Microsoft Research in Cambridge. He is also a member of the SIGCHI operations committee, which manages logistics, technical, and operational issues that affect SIGCHI and its portfolio of conferences.