Overview

The Center for Lifelong Learning and Design (L3D) is part of theĀ Department of Computer Science and theĀ Institute of Cognitive Science at theĀ University of Colorado at Boulder. The mission of the center is to establish, both by theoretical work and by building prototype systems, the scientific foundations for the construction of intelligent systems that serve as amplifiers of human capabilities.

Over the 18 years of its existence, L3D has developed a unique research vision and identity to cope with some of the fundamental challenges facing our society in the 21st century. The center focuses on lifelong learning, design, and transformative innovative media in a variety of application domains including urban planning, energy sustainability, and cognitive disabilities. Within the University of Colorado, L3D has built collaborative, interdisciplinary relationships with faculty in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Department of Computer Science, the Institute of Cognitive Science, the Alliance for Technology, Arts and Society (ATLAS), the College of Architecture and Planning, the School of Education, the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), and the Coleman Initiative for Cognitive Disabilities. Beyond CU, the state, and the nation, the center has established numerous international collaborations.

More than 30 L3D doctoral graduates are working in academia (including at MIT Media Lab, UC Irvine, Univ. of Tokyo, Texas A&M, Univ. of Graz) and industrial research labs. Three of our graduates obtained NSF Career Awards, some of them have taken on leadership positions such as being chairs of departments, and many have graduated their own PhD students working on research themes inspired by the L3D visions and developments.

Global Research Goals

Our goal is to establish, both by theoretical work and by building prototype systems, the scientific foundations for the construction of intelligent systems that serve as amplifiers of human capabilities (e.g., to expand human memory, augment human reasoning, and facilitate human communication). A prerequisite for intelligent systems is that we understand the information processing possibilities and limitations of the human and the computer. We apply basic, qualitative theories of human thinking to guide the design of innovative systems. Our systems should not only be significant as technical achievements in computer science, but also because they are based upon principled analyses of how one can best help people to cope with complex information systems. Working in intelligent systems, it is not sufficient to know how to build these systems; one must discover which systems are worth building.

Knowledge-Based Systems (KBS) andĀ Human-Computer Communication (HCC) are two crucial research areas for these goals. We are especially interested in understanding the possibilities of pursuing these two research areas together. The rationale for this approach is that on the one hand effective human-computer communication is more than creating attractive displays on a screen: It requires providing the computer with a considerable body of relevant world knowledge as well as knowledge about the psychological characteristics and understanding of the user; on the other hand, the use of knowledge-based systems and expert systems will be severely limited if we are unable to eliminate the communication bottleneck.

Integration

The Center for Lifelong Learning and Design is part of the Human-Centered Computing (HCC) group within the department. It participates in the Human-Computer Interaction Consortium (which brings together research groups from the USA and Europe working in HCI). It cooperates and has active research relationships with other universities, research laboratories, and industry.

To find out more about the work at L3D, also check out the listing of our research grants and the longer article on our research philosophy.

 

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