the brain and the web
intelligent interactions from the desktop to the world

Alan Dix
Lancaster University

keynote at Simpósio de Fatores Humanos em Sistemas Computacionais (IHC 2006), Natal Brazil, 19-22 Nov. 2006

download slides of talk (PDF, 858K)

Full reference:
A. Dix (2006). the brain and the web - intelligent interactions from the desktop to the world. keynote at Simpósio de Fatores Humanos em Sistemas Computacionais (IHC 2006),Natal Brazil, 19-22 Nov. 2006.
Try it yourself:
play with Snip!t
Projects and networks:
DELOS logo
DELOS EU Network of Excellence
TIM Project web page
(TIM is a sub-project of DELOS)
Memories for Life UK (M4L) Network


the Petabox
The Petabox was designed for the Internet Archive project, particularly as the archiove expanded into audio-visual materials. A spin-off company Capricorn Technologies is also selling Petabox products commercially.


We are living in strange times, the memory capacity and processing power in the web is similar to the human brain (that is the whole web is is similar to a single brain!), and yet despite enormous computational power, interacting with our own personal information and with the vast resources of the web is often far from an easy experience. In this talk I'll describe some systems that attempt to bridge this gulf and also some of the challenges in making computational information fit human life.

Related links ...

numbers and cognition

  • A. Dix (2002). the ultimate interface and the sums of life?.
    Interfaces, issue 50, Spring 2002. pp. 16
  • A. Dix (2005).
    the brain and the web - a quick backup in case of accidents. Interfaces, 65 pp. 6-7. Winter 2005.
  • Alan's various essays on imagination, rationality, etc.
  • William Jones, Mary Czerwinski, Jaime Teevan, Catherine Plaisant, Thomas P. Moran, and Alan Dix (2005)
    The Challenge of Personal Information Management. In Proceedings of the INTERACT '05: Communicating Naturally through Computers (Adjunct Proceedings), Bueno, F., Constabile, M.F., Paterno, F. & Santoro, C. (eds.), pp. 69-70
    panel on PIM - I use the 'Dix number' to lead into general discussion of issues of PIM

systems and intelligence

  • A. Dix, T. Catarci, B. Habegger, Y. Ioannidis, A. Kamaruddin, A. Katifori, G. Lepouras, A. Poggi, D. Ramduny-Ellis (2006).
    Intelligent context-sensitive interactions on desktop and the web.
    Proceedings of workshop on Context in Advanced Interfaces at AVI2006. (Venice, Italy, May 23, 2006)
    covers similar ground to the talk, but focus on issues of context
  • A. Dix, S. Levialdi and A. Malizia (2006).
    Semantic Halo for Collaboration Tagging Systems. in Proceedings of Workshop sheld at the Fourth Interbnational Conference on Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems (AH2006), S. Weibelzahl and A. Cristea (eds.) - Workshop on Social Navigation and Community-Based Adaptation Technologies, Lecture Notes in Learning and Teaching, Dublin: National College of Ireland. pp. 514-521
    extracting structured relationships (e.g. sub-topic-of) from unstructured folksonomies
  • G. Lepouras, A. Dix, A. Katifori, T. Catarci, B. Habegger, A. Poggi, Y. Ioannidis (2006). OntoPIM: From Personal Information Management to Task Information Management
    Personal Information Management, SIGIR 2006 workshop, August 10-11, 2006, Seattle, Washington.
    description of vision and early architecture for TIM
  • A. Dix, R. Beale and A. Wood (2000).
    Architectures to make Simple Visualisations using Simple Systems. Proceedings of Advanced Visual Interfaces - AVI2000, ACM Press, pp. 51-60.
    describes onCue architecture and use in desktop visualisation
  • A. Dix (1999).
    onCue "how it works". aQtive technical paper. html || pdf
    A. Dix (1999).
    aQtiveSpace "how it works". aQtive technical paper. html || pdf
    scenario-based architecture documentation of onCue an the underlying component infrastructure


Alan Dix 26/11/2006