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Current stuff

(maybe a personal blogpost to keep track of current things I'm involved in)

  • Writing (and meeting people from a telco or) a research project in 2008 about the user experience of mobile gaming.
  • Meetings with lots of people in Paris: j*b to chat about our current projects (bravo pour la thèse), Bruno Marzloff to discuss about possible collaborations (which starts with a short text I am currently writing), Pascal Salembier to talk about our current research project/positions as well as his recommendations for a young researcher like me (he advises me to write a book about space/location-awareness/mobility/collaboration), Rafi Haladjian to discuss Violet's project, his talk at LIFT and possible collaborations, and the FING people because it's good to hang out there.
  • A talk at the Cité des Sciences for the Rencontre des Cyberbases, an event organized by the big french bank Caisse des Dépots. It's basically their annual seminar where all their teams have workshops and seminars about technological issues. My talk was one of the three keynotes; speaking after the director of this initiative and a member of the European Commission, I presented what is Ubiquitous Computing are some critical elements about it (mostly the talk I've given here). Thanks Sophie Bernay, Isadora Verderesi and Charlotte Ullman for the invitation.
  • Get back home and headed for the third workshop of the in-betweeness series at the Waag Society in Amsterdam. Somehow related to urban computing, space/place and design, these workshops focuses on places that do not fall into the classic categories (home, café, work) and can be difficult to define: public waiting lines, transitional spaces, toilets, etc. The point of these workshops is to look at how people behave in these places or how things are designed to understand the implications for the design of future technologies. Organized by Karen Martin, Arianna Bassoli, Johanna Brewer, Valentina Nisi and Martine Posthuma de Boer. Enjoyed the informal+ethographical spin+discussion at this workshop. The field trip dimension of the workshop was very pertinent as well as the discussion of what each group collected, what they mean in terms of behavioral traits, social issues, and design implications.
  • Preparing a talk I will give tonight at the University of Geneva about location-awareness and social computing to students from a master in IT. Possibly material for future talk at research centers for two big IT companies
  • attend an event in Geneva about FON: the Geneva city council to sign a convention with FON to consolidate the small existing wireless network available in some key locations of the city. Discussed last month with Jean-Bernard Magescas about this.
  • writing research papers on my PhD dissertation, the first review from a journal paper came and have two other papers in the process
  • write a chapter about new interaction partners (pets and pervasive gaming) for the near future laboratory book
  • work on a survey/interview about mobile gaming.
  • work on some presentations about web2.0 implications for the video game industry or cognitive sciences and gaming for a client and finish the slide for my talk about tangible interactions the European Game Design Conference

Talk at Korea University

After two day of jetlagged visits and brainstorm with Laurent and Jaewoong Lee (Daum) about LIFT evening, I visited Korea University with Bruce Sterling and Jesmina Tesanovic. We both gave a talk at the Korean Business School there to MBA students, as part of their evening program. My talk was about the current state of location-aware social software, the problems and possible opportunities, based on literature review, my PhD research and projects that I found pertinent. Slides have been adapted from a talk I already gave in Arhus few months ago.

Then Bruce gave a powerful lecture about the Estonian/russian storm worm.

Korea University's lights

Thanks Jean-Henry Morin for the impromptu invitation!

Positions available at our lab

We are looking for two postdoc positions (post-phd) at our lab: 1) Three year position on the development of interactive furniture that augments learning in small groups. One of the projects will be about tables that reflect group interactions . 2) Three year position on the development of learning technologies aimed at students who rarely sit on a chair: apprentices working most of the week in a company and going one day at school. These technologies have to be more integrate in their physical environment (context aware devices, ambient displays, ...) Contact: pierre dot dillenbourg at epfl dot ch

Another Newsmap

Buzztracker is an interesting news map (similar to newsmap or in the news). Instead of just putting the events (extracted from google news) in squares like in newsmap, it displays the news on a world map. Another great feature is the fact that events are threaded: connections between events and places are shown on the map, very simply. What's cool also is that it provides an RSS feed with images (see here).

These sort of map are more and more relevant with regard to the increasing amount of informaiton we are dealing with (or at least infojunkies are addicted to). I like when a limited parsing is done like featuring connections/patterns in buzztracker or the winners/losers in "in the news".

Position Paper for a workshop about Game Analysis

Our position paper (.pdf) for the workshop (British HCI conference)Games and Social Network: analysis of multiplayer games has been accepted. Analysis of a Location-Based Multi-Player Game by Nicolas Nova and Fabien Girardin

The growing number of location-based services fosters the creation of multiplayer games that take place in real settings and leaves open the question of how to analyze data generated along the game. We are interested in ubiquitous computing games in order to use it as a platform to study how people rely on spatial features in terms of collaborative interactions. The crux issue here is how to analyze the wide load of data generated by the game in an ubiquitous computing context. How should it be studied? What kinds of data may be captured and what sort of analysis should be conducted?

Que faire avec un blog à l'EPFL? Nous avons écrit un article court pour le Flash Informatique qui propose trois scénarios d'utilisation (étudiant, doctorant et enseignant).

Workshop about Spatial Positioning, Cognition and Collaboration

In the context of the Kaleidoscope Conference about CSCL in Lausanne in October 2004, we are organizing a workshop about spatial positioning in mobile collaboration (description hereafter). It aims to study the relationships between space, collaborative problem solving and cognition in group. It will address basic research issues at the crossroads of human cognition and information technology. If you are interested in participating, please send us an abstract (10-15 lines) of your research project by April 23rd. Workshop Proposal: Spatial Awareness in Collaboration and Group Interaction

The recent technical evolution in the field of mobile technologies allow mobile devices users to have location based services such as optimal route generation with GPS or nearest point of interest by SMS. Positioning technologies are more and more precise and taking the context into account is one of the new trend in computer software. Collective uses of those 'locative media' are also on track. Mobile computing should also be seen as an answer to the needs that emerged from geographically distributed organizations. People still need to work together from different places at the same time and collaboration must be fluid. The use of location based services enable to bridge the distance between teammates thanks to different features. The most commonly used context of mobile systems is the location of the user since it is easy to determine and it could be meaningful to use it in order to adapt the behavior of a mobile application. However, spatial awareness should not be restricted to location since information about presence, direction, relative location, physical proximity with resources could also be drawn from context cues. This led designers and researchers to support collaborative work and learning with mobile technology, namely handheld computers, mobile phones, GPS-enhanced tools and wearables. One of the postulates is that space and spatial features such as location could be considered as a resource for collaborative problem solving. We hence aim to understand the impacts of mobile tools on social and cognitive processes.

Location-Based systems (LBS) often propose various services such as: - annotation of space: it is now possible to leave "virtual post-its" attached to specific location. - synchronous positioning: participants among a group can localize their partners. - location based storytelling/narratives - matchmaking between participants of a conference - video games that takes advantage of location-awareness to propose augmented reality scenarios.

All those systems offer both innovative ways to create new affordance for supporting collaborative activities like mobile work or mobile learning as well as smart testbed to address research questions. What are these research questions ? What are the methods ? The workshop will bring together researchers and academics from or out of the KALEIDOSCOPE NoE coming from several disciplines, including learning sciences, psychology, computer science. It aims to study the relationships between space, collaborative problem solving and cognition in group. It will address basic research issues at the crossroads of human cognition and information technology.

The objective is to: 1. Study the role of spatial awareness as a link between mobile technology and collaborative activities. 2. Discuss emprical results concerning the role of space or spatial features in group cognition and collaborative activities (mobile work, mobile learning) 3. Discuss methods of how to study the impact of those Location Based Services with regard to their efficiency as well their impacts on group interactions.

Position Paper Topics Relevant paper topics include, but are not limited to: - Evaluation of location based services in learning or work context - Location based services design - Users and usage of location based services - Mobile learning scenarios - Location-aware interaction - User modelling - Applications that use real world context - Modelling of available physical and social resources

Workshop Organization The workshop will last 1/2 day or 1 day depending on the number of contributions. It will gather researchers among the Kaleidoscope Network of Excellence plus some external participants. External participants will have to apy an extra fee. If you would like to participate in this workshop, please submit first an abstract by April 23rd and then your position paper (max 8 pages) to nicolas.nova@epfl.ch by July 15th. Work in-progress will be accepted, but describe your research questions!

Workshop Comitee

Organization: Nicolas Nova and Mauro Cherubini Chair: Pierre Dillenbourg and Mike Sharples

DO PEOPLE CARE OF THEIR PARTNER'S LOCATION ?

I have just finished the first draft of the paper I am going to submit to CSCW : DO PEOPLE CARE OF THEIR PARTNER'S LOCATION ? Spatial awareness in virtual environments. NICOLAS NOVA, DAVID TRAUM, LYDIA MONTANDON, DAVID OTT and PIERRE DILLENBOURG

Abstract : this paper proposes to report on four experimental studies with regard to how people use space so as to solve problem collaboratively in virtual environments. Prior to presenting the results, it summarizes the wide range of literature concerns social uses of spatiality in human interactions. The experiments we conducted revealed that virtual space modifies and improves collaborative processes such as division of labor, grounding, communication, coordination, as well as the performance to the task. It concludes by proposing CSCW practitioners ideas about how to use this results in order to design more effective environments.

Keywords : CSCW, awareness, virtual space, spatiality, collaboration, coordination.