Welcome to the starting page for the Augmnetaion Research Efforts.  These efforts at the University of Pittsburgh are dedicated to the groundbreaking work of Douglas Engelbart and hsi work through the second half of the twentieth century.  Beginning in the 1960's, Engelbart set out to devise a series of systems that would augment human intellectual activity.  We have begun, almost a half century later, to appreciate the significance of his work.  There are a number of papers one should read including Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.  Many of these have been made available by Engelbart through his Bootstrap Institute. The image above, from 1968, shows an early workstation by Engelbart using a mouse functioning hypertext.


Augmentation is both easy and hard.  If we want systems to know what we know and act on our behalf without intervention and to be perfect in executing our wishes, that is hard.  It has been one of the goals of artificial intelligence research for the last 30 years.  Efforts today, such as Lenat's continue to strive in this direction.  Other efforts are less ambitious.  Eyeglasses augment our ability to see.  Automobiles augment our abilty to move.  Hammers augmnet our ability to drive pointed objects through permeable material, etc.  A cookie in a webbrowser may augment our ability to order an item online.  A set of bookmarks in our browser may augment our ability to recall websites we liked -- or wanted to remmeber.

All of these things constitute augmentation.  The efforts of this research group are on finding ways to use digital technology to augment intellectual activity when groups of individuals are involved.  We place no constraints on what activity or what technology.  Our projects range from collaborative editing, to infomration marlketplaces, to the semantic web.  A few of these efforts are referenced below.


The links to the left provide access to information on some of the related projects. One of the earliest projects was a Computer Augmneted System for Collaborative Authoring and Document Editing -- CASCADE. This project was finished in 1999 but is gaining new life in the form of a system for collaborative annotation of three and four dimenisonal spaces. We have been spending a lot of time recently on smart spaces. We have started simply and have developed efforts related to Role Assured Publicly Accessible Information (RAPAI). The other major effort of the group relates to the semantic web and various manifiestations of its presence.