Task and Interruption Management in Activity-Centric Computing

Steven Jeuris

    Publikation: Bog / Antologi / Rapport / Ph.D.-afhandlingPh.d.-afhandling


    Throughout history, the design of interactive computing systems has
    always been inhibited by technological limitations of the time. For
    a truly groundbreaking paradigm shift to occur (reshaping the very
    nature of human-computer interaction), a tremendous amount of research
    and engineering is required. Therefore, most computing systems
    instead build on top of an existing stack of contemporaneous
    technologies, inescapably adhering to their underlying interaction
    paradigms. When left unquestioned, such an incremental approach
    inadvertently shoehorns system design into preexisting notions of
    how computing systems work. Thus, it is likely that design decisions
    imposed by technological constraints of the past have needlessly
    been carried over to modern-day systems. With information technology
    now forming a major part of our daily lives and giving rise to
    new emerging design challenges, it is prudent to address these not in
    isolation, but by fundamentally reevaluating the current computing
    To this end, activity-centric computing has been brought forward
    as an alternative computing paradigm, addressing the increasing
    strain put on modern-day computing systems. Activity-centric computing
    follows a top-down approach to design using the full context
    of human activity as the starting point of analysis. The focus no
    longer lies on individual technologies, but on how computing systems
    are used as mediators within the broader context of human
    intentionality, thus also taking into account the encompassing community,
    environment, and dependencies on other technologies. Users
    can aggregate resources, work, and collaborate on them within goaloriented
    workspaces that are meaningful to the user, as opposed to
    having to adhere to data structures imposed by specific technologies.
    Such systems have been deployed successfully in a variety of different
    domains, including healthcare, experimental biology, and software
    However, several recurring open issues have been identified based
    on the deployment and evaluation of different activity-centric computing
    systems. Broadly speaking these impact the scalability and
    intelligibility of current research prototypes. In this dissertation, I
    postulate that such issues arise due to a lack of support for the full
    set of practices which make up activity management. Most notably, although
    task and interruption management are an integral part of personal
    information management, they have thus far been neglected
    in prior activity-centric computing systems. Advancing the research
    agenda of activity-centric computing, I (1) implement and evaluate an activity-centric desktop computing system, incorporating support for
    interruptions and long-term task management; (2) provide empirical
    data on the overhead of switching between activities when using contemporary
    desktop computing systems; and (3) implement a software
    architecture facilitating developers to aggregate resources handled by
    independent applications into one central activity manager.
    ForlagIT-Universitetet i København
    Antal sider197
    ISBN (Trykt)978-87-7949-345-2
    StatusUdgivet - 2017


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