James Hollan

James Hollan
Résidents Labex RFIEA+
pas Eurias
Résidents Programme FIAS

dates de séjour

01/09/2021 - 30/06/2022


Informatique et systèmes intelligents
Neurosciences et sciences cognitives

Fonction d’origine


Institution d’origine

University of California, San Diego

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

Catalyzing A Human-Centered Information Research Program: Beyond Application and Document-Centered Views of Information

The sophisticated cognition demanded by contemporary information work has outpaced innovation in user interfaces. In modern computing systems, information is still encapsulated in application silos, leaving users to shuttle files between applications, cobbling together workflows, requiring troublesome context switching and increasing attentional demands. In short, we lack a cognitively convivial space for intellectual work.


Human-centered information is both an idea and the motivation for a novel computational environment. It is the idea of a cognitive workspace—a desktop for intellectual activity—reified as a computational environment that actively supports the coordination of information-based work by developing awareness of the structure of a user’s action: how she accomplishes activities through discrete tasks across devices, programs, and working sessions. Through use, information in the environment will accumulate and represent context: not only who accessed it and when, but concurrent activity and semantic relationships to other data. Just as awareness of the past influences human behavior, the content and context of the history of activity will drive the behavior of information. To the user, her information should seem alive, have awareness, know where it came from, how it got there, what it means—and behave accordingly.


James Hollan is Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science & Professor of Computer Science as well as Founding Co-Director of Distributed Cognition and HCI Lab & UC San Diego Design Lab. His research explores the cognitive consequences of computational media. It is motivated by a belief that we are at the beginning of a paradigm shift in thinking about representational media, one that is starting to appreciate the importance of representations that are not only dynamic and interactive but also adapt to the structure of tasks, the history and context of activities, and our relationships with others. His goal is to better understand the cognitive, computational, and social ecology of dynamic interactive adaptive systems.


His interests span across cognitive design, distributed and embodied cognition, human-computer interaction, multiscale information visualization, multimodal interaction, cognitive ethnography, and software tools for design and visualization. His work involves four intertwined activities: developing theory and methods, designing representations, implementing prototypes, and evaluating their effectiveness to better understand the broader design space in which they are situated.


Current research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Microsoft Research. Recently completed research has been funded by California's Digital Media Innovation Program, Chancellor's Interdisciplinary Collaboratories Program, Darpa, Intel, Microsoft, Nissan, NSF, Sony, Toyota, and the UC MICRO Program. Honored to have received the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Research Award in 2015.