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The COoKIE Group

Communication, Organization of Knowledge, Information Ecosystems 

What we Do

The COoKIE is an interdisciplinary Human-Computer Interaction research group.

We design technologies that support communication and collaboration through, around, and directly with computational systems. Two major directions of our recent work: computer-mediated communication and human-AI communication.

Current Projects

The growing complexity of intelligent systems creates a promising environment for the shift in a user experience paradigm: from pure human-system interaction to human-system communication and collaboration. This is further amplified by the increased popularity of entity-based system interfaces (artificial agents) and the integration of conversational user interfaces (CUI). The human-agent communication paradigm opens exciting opportunities to exploit a computer's unique abilities to complement humans. However, first, we need to understand the specifics of human-agent communication.

Human-Agent Communication

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The intuitive nature of Conversational User Interfaces (CUI), fashioned after natural human conversation, allows for convenient and fast input and can serve as a single-channel input for multiple services, devices, applications, and even environments. However, due to the absence of visual clues, affordances, and spatial organization, the use of CUI is associated with a decreased sense of control over the information dynamics. We explore the perceived “locations”, “structure“, and “paths” of the information shared through CUI, to inform the required information architecture. 

Information Architecture for Conversational UI

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One of the fundamental challenges in computer-mediated communication (CMC) is to appropriately support information sharing between users and their intended recipient(s). The meaning of the information is context-dependent, and in CMC, a user’s ability to establish shared situational awareness is limited, leading to the restricted ability to fully convey or interpret the shared information. Unaddressed, this leads to extensive privacy risks, information sharing inefficiencies, and engagement issues. We explore how technology can recognize, adapt to, and support communication context in CMC.

Context-Awareness in 
Mediated Communication

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Meet the Team

 

Alumni

Our Collaborators

Join the Team

Ph.D. Program 

We invite applications from candidates with a Master's degree in Computer Science, Systems Design Engineering, Data Science, Psychology, Communication Studies, or similar fields. Research experience is expected from the applicants, academic publications are a plus. The application period is typically open September-November, with the entry into the program once a year, in September. Please review the admission requirements to the Ph.D. in Information Program. Prior to submitting your application, it is highly recommended to contact your potential supervisor and have a discussion about your research plans and interests. If you are interested in a Ph.D. in our group, please send your CV, writing samples, and a brief statement of research interest to Prof. Anastasia Kuzminykh (anastasia.kuzminykh@utoronto.ca).

Master's Thesis

The Master's Thesis option at the COoKIE group is available to students, enrolled in the Master's of Information program at the iSchool, University of Toronto. Please review the pre-requisites and eligibility for the master's thesis. To inquire about the reading course and/or the thesis work at the COoKIE Group, please send your CV and a brief statement of research interest to Prof. Anastasia Kuzminykh (anastasia.kuzminykh@utoronto.ca). If applicable, please mention any relevant experience, including prior research experience and/or reading courses taken in the past.

RAship

In most of the academic terms (September-December, January-April, May-August), the COoKIE Group has 1-2 Research Assistantship positions available for Master's or undergraduate level students. While typically we hire students from the University of Toronto, external applications can occasionally be considered. The standard RA contract in our group includes 12 weeks, 5-6 hours per week, working on an individual or a group project. To inquire about open positions and to apply for RAship, please contact Prof. Anastasia Kuzminykh (anastasia.kuzminykh@utoronto.ca) no later than a week before the beginning of an academic term. Please include your CV and a brief statement of research interest.