CS448A: Interactive Workplaces

Most of today's computing environments are designed to support the interaction between one person and one computer. The user sits at a workstation or laptop, or holds a PDA, focusing on a single device at a time (even if there are several around and they are linked and synchronized). Collaboration is accomplished over the network, using email, shared files, or in some cases explicitly designed "groupware". In non-computerized work settings, on the other hand, people interact in a rich environment that includes information from many sources (paper, whiteboards, computers, physical models, etc). and are able to use these simultaneously and move among them flexibly and quickly. The few existing integrated multi-device computer environments today tend to be highly specialized and based on application-specific software.

We are designing and experimenting with multi-device, multi-user environments based on a new architecture that makes it easy to create and add new display and input devices, to move work of all kinds from one computing device to another, and to support and facilitate group interactions. In the same way that today's standard operating systems make it feasible to write single-workstation software that makes use of multiple devices and networked resources, we are constructing a higher level operating system for the world of ubiquitous computing.

The interactive room (located in Gates B23) is a testbed for combining multiple devices in an integrated environment. The emphasis in the research is on developing an appropriate infrastructure that can support a wide variety of configurations, and on developing interaction methods that are appropriate for a multi-person, multi-device setting. It is equipped with several large wall-based displays (rear-projection SmartBoards and a front-projection surface), a bottom-projected table, and a variety of servers and additional devices (which will change as the project develops). It incorporates a unified event architecture that supports applications in using multiple devices and displays, and will have a room-context database that supports the task and project aspects of the work.

The goal of this course is to explore what new applications are possible within interactive workplaces, and what new technologies need to be developed to enable these applications. We will begin with a series of background lectures on the basics of Interactive WorkSpaces, including their history, new input and output technologies to support table, wall and room environments, computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) systems, and system technologies for building these environments. There will also be 3-4 guest lectures from industry, and discussion and debates on controversial topics of interest. Students will form into a small number of project teams each building a working application in the Interactive Workspace laboratory.

The class is open to students with a background in computer graphics and visualization, human-computer interfaces, and systems for ubiquitous computing. Enrollment is limited to 20.


Pat Hanrahan
Room 370 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-8530

Terry Winograd
Room 388 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-2780

with guest lectures from

Armando Fox
Room 446 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723 9558

Teaching assistant

Brad Johanson
Room 376 Gates Computer Science Building
(650) 723-1604





Final Projects