Computational Mechanisms of Interaction in Cooperative Work

COMIC - 6225

Work Area: Models and Theory for Human Computer Interaction

Keywords CSCW, HCI, distributed systems, requirements engineering, multi-user interfaces, virtual reality

Start Date: 1 September 92 / Duration: 36 months / Status: running

[ participants / contact ]

Abstract COMIC aims to develop the theories and techniques necessary to support the development of future CSCW systems. These will be informed by a range of disciplines which combine an understanding of the nature of groups with the technology to support cooperative work within a real world setting. The project involves researchers from computer science and social science backgrounds working together on the techniques and theories to support cooperative systems development.


The increased prominence of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW) as a research area and the recent emergence of groupware products within the USA and Japan has highlighted the growing market for this form of IT product. It is imperative that Europe captures a significant share of this future market. To do so, future CSCW developers will need to construct effective and well-founded cooperative systems. This basic research project examines the fundamental research questions which need to be solved to improve future CSCW systems development. A central aim of the project is the development of effective support cooperative work based on an understanding of the social character of work.

Approach and Methods

To lay the foundation for the future development of CSCW systems, COMIC's approach is to examine the practical and theoretical problems which need to be overcome to allow effective CSCW product development. This research will be undertaken in a multi-disciplinary manner by a strong team of key CSCW researchers.

COMIC will concentrate on the development of CSCW systems designed to work within a real-world context. The project combines an understanding of work practice with an investigation of future technical infrastructures for CSCW. To maximise the effect of the research being undertaken, the project focuses on four key research topics in CSCW systems development:

This work necessitates the effort of a strong multi-disciplinary team of CSCW researchers. Each of themes are been examined from a different disciplinary perspective in order to inform cooperative systems development.

Progress and Results

The project results are described in detail in a series of working documents an index of which is available by email from the project co-ordinator. Work has focused on the four project themes:


This basic research project will result in recommendations, new techniques, architectures and demonstrators of direct applicability for future CSCW developments. Results of the project will provide an understanding of the relationship between cooperative work and supporting technology. They will also inform future methods for the development of CSCW systems and the different technologies required to support them.

Latest Publications

Information Dissemination Activies

The project presented a demonstration of on-going work at interCHI'92 in Amsterdam. All project reports and documents are available electronically by emailing the project co-ordinator. In addition, the project plans to hold a series of workshops at future CSCW conferences.

Further information about COMIC is available from the COMIC home page <URL:>.


Lancaster University - UK


RIS_ National Laboratory - DK
Universidad Politecnica de Catalunya - E
Università di Milano - I
Universiteit van Amsterdam - NL
Swedish Institute of Computer Science - S
University of Manchester - UK
University of Nottingham - UK


Dr T. Rodden
tel +44/524 593823
fax +44/524 381707

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COMIC - 6225, August 1994

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook