UK: PhD project: Human-Agent Collaboration for Distributed Sensemaking (Open U. & NASA Ames)

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Open University (UK) and NASA Ames Research Center (USA)

PhD Project: Human-Agent Collaboration for Distributed Sensemaking 
and Action

This exciting PhD project is a collaboration between the Hypermedia 
Discourse research programme at the Knowledge Media Institute, Open 
University UK, and the Brahms agent-based Work Systems Simulation 
activity in Human-Centered Computing at NASA Ames Research Center. 
The successful candidate will join a team with an international 
reputation and established collaboration track record, based at the 
Knowledge Media Institute, receiving world class doctoral training, 
and working closely with NASA using e-PhD collaboration tools, 
including funding for NASA placements.

The project leaders and supervision team are Simon Buckingham Shum 
(KMi), Paul Mulholland (KMi) and Maarten Sierhuis (NASA).

The Challenge

In many fields, cross-disciplinary teams must collectively making 
sense of complex, changing, potentially ambiguous information, often 
under time pressure (e.g. in scenario analysis, collaborative 
learning, space exploration, science teams, emergency response, 
strategic planning, intelligence analysis). As we tackle problems of 
an unprecedented scale and complexity, new tools are needed to bring 
stakeholders together for effective dialogue, analysis and 
coordinated action.

What will scientific publishing, collaborative modelling, or internet 
argumentation look like when ideas might be agents, arguments can be 
monitored, and agents can provide active support to analysts working 
over time and space? What are the human and computing challenges, how 
would you investigate them, and how would you validate your work?

You are…
…passionate about developing tools for mapping human knowledge, and 
inventing and understanding new kinds of user experience with 
software agents. You will have a keen interest in human-centred 
computing, bringing Java and/or Web programming skills, and a 
relevant background in one or more of: multi-agent systems, 
conceptual modelling, argumentation, knowledge engineering, 
collaboration tools, user interface design, usability evaluation. You 
will be a team player, capable of working collaboratively at a 
distance and across timezones, able to initiate new ideas, and work 
to agreed objectives.

To apply…

We invite candidates to read the linked resources, and write a 
research proposal following the guidelines.

Full details of how to apply for this position are at:

Studentship for 3 years: £12,978 (2008/09) / 13,367.34 (2009/10) / 
13,768.36 (2010/11) plus laptop, travel costs to present papers, and 
NASA placements.

We are aiming to fill this position as soon as possible. Please let 
us know if you intend to apply, with an informal email outlining your 
background and interests.

Application deadline: 1700 GMT Monday 18th August 2008


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