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Ashok Chandra
Speaker Audio Excerpt
Welcome Speech
Ashok Chandra
Director, IBM Computer Science Research


Ted Selker: I'd like to welcome you all to the New Paradigms for Using Computers workshop. I'm honored to having you all here. We have had various microphones situations in the past. This year ... can you throw me that please ... we have microphones that we can speak into when they are thrown to you ... try speaking into this ...

Speaker: Hello, yes it works fine.

Ted Selker: There is a lot of technology in this room. I hope it all works most of the time, please forgive us when it doesn't. One thing I really need to say about these microphones is that it's important that you get them back to the microphone handlers, because they will otherwise come and get them from you. What we really want people to think about is that we want this as interactive as possible without destroying the possibility for communication, so I want people to get microphones and to make a comment, ask a question, and then get them back to the handlers. We also have badges, and these badges are -- no design is ever perfect -- but these badges will also play into my panel talk. We are already running 20 minutes late. I'm terribly sorry about that but I really wanted to let us start by having Ashok introduce the laboratory and welcome you.


Ashok Chandra: I'm delighted to welcome you to Almaden. This is the fourth annual version of this conference, and it's getting to be quite a fixture in Silicon Valley. I hope you will enjoy it, not just here, but over time also on the Internet. We are live on the Internet. The Internet is not quite at the point where we can have social interaction worldwide like we can have here, but maybe over time this will become a global workshop. But that's the theme of this workshop in some sense: it's interaction, it's people, it's computing. I'd like to put this in the context of the megatrend in computing. If I think about the first mega-generation of computing it was about hardware. The disciplines involved had to do with physics, the hard sciences, electrical engineering, making computers happen, making them go fast, making tiny transistors. It's all still a big deal, in industry, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of industry, and a big deal in the sciences. But there is a trend, there is a change occurring, changes toward increasing amounts of software. Randy Katz was telling me yesterday -- he's the chairman of the department at WCS in Berkeley -- that at CAL 40% of the WCS faculty are computer science, 60% are EE, but the students are 60/40 the other way. Likewise in industry we too are going through the shift from hardware to software. Software as you know has become a huge industry and it's the major second mega-generation I'd say for our industry. And it resulted in new kinds of sciences -- somewhat softer -- connected with engineering: systems design, language design, and so forth, connecting hard sciences and soft sciences, really a lovely gestalt area. But I see a third major area with enormous potential coming along. Let me call that, for lack of a better name, socialware. It has to do with making computing easier for humans and other computers. A simple example: if you think about TCP-IP and HTTP, it makes computers easier to be used by other computers and HTML makes it easier for people. That's a simple small example, in a sense, that just created the enormous Internet industry. But there's much more that is happening and will happen, I believe. And this new mega-generation will, I believe, require new kinds of skills and strengths and expertise and it will be in some ways even softer. Let me call it nanosoft, micro doesn't fit well here. It will require pulling together computer science with sociology, and cognitive science, and psychology, and even political science and maybe management science. These additional sciences will have enormous amounts to say, I believe, not in how they are currently construed but in how they will adapt to this new world that is emerging of making computing much more accessible in a socialware context. Of course, part of that is peopleware. We will talk about gadgets that people wear today but there is much more to it than that. I'd like to put Almaden in the context of these three mega-trends. We do a lot of things in Almaden. This is one of the research labs, the second largest of seven research labs in IBM. If you get a chance to move an atom one by one you'll be thrilled by the possibility. Really, it's incredible. We move video, we do data-mining, we do all kinds of things. We're known for disk drives and data bases. We invented the disk drives, we invented the national data bases. Now if you think about disk drives, there is a major trend in the first mega-generation hardware. Data bases, major trend in the second mega-generation software. Well, what do we do about the third mega-generation? What we're doing here in Almaden is building up a group which we hope will grow to be one of the leading research institutes in this new emerging area of social interactions and so forth. And I am delighted that Ted Selker is heading this group and I believe it will be a very exciting future. One of the contributions that you know of is Trackpoint. You'll see and hear a lot more about Trackpoint today. I'm delighted you are here and I hope it will be a very interactive session and discussion. Without further ado, welcome, let's get on with the show.


Ted Selker: I want to point out that we have some people in the audience in Yorktown, the T.J. Watson Research Center. Hi everyone! It's great to see you. And there will be people also part of this workshop on CU-SeeMe and I don't have the reflector site on my head, but there is also a website for this workshop. Okay, I will keep telling you about little parts of what is going on here as the day goes on.

USER System Ergonomics Research Lab
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