CISE - CreativeIT

Initiated in 2006 as part of the ongoing Information Technology Research activity, the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) and the computing research community have been exploring the synergies between creativity and information technology, science, engineering, and design research. Workshops and exploratory research are currently being supported, and a call for proposals is being planned.

Information technology is playing an increasing role in extending the capability of human creative thinking and problem solving. Design, as a reflective process, develops new products in the context of a perceived need or problem. In design, the reflection on problem finding becomes as important as problem solving, recognizing that designers often redefine the problem to be solved as they explore design solutions within a specific context. The combination of creativity and design thinking in information technology, science, and engineering has the potential to define new areas and lead to increased successful innovation. Considering the synergy of creativity with research in design can have outcomes such as new models of creative cognitive and computational processes, innovative approaches to education for IT and non-IT students that encourage creativity, innovative modes of research that include creative professionals, and new tools to support human creativity. Placing this emphasis in Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) focuses research on generating simultaneous advances in computer science and information technologies with digital arts, design computing and cognition, and various areas of science and engineering.

The CreativeIT concept incorporates the following themes:

  • Focused research on creativity in information technology, science, engineering, and design.
  • Multi-disciplinary research involving computer science, physical and life sciences, cognitive science, engineering, design, architecture, and art.
  • Funding partnerships that include organizations whose missions are science and engineering focused and those whose primary interests are in the creative arts and/or humanities.

Research Outcomes:

  • New theoretical models: Innovation through computational and cognitive models of creativity as ways of searching for problems and solutions in science and engineering.
  • Innovative educational approaches: Creativity as a focus for learning environments in computer science and engineering using models such as studio learning and problem-based learning that reward creative thinking.
  • Creativity enhancing tools: Innovation with information technology tools and infrastructure that support and enhance creativity in problem finding as well as problem solving.
  • New modes of research: Research innovation by focusing on creative processes in research in science and information systems, for example, including resident artists in research groups.

Research Areas:

The following research areas provide a focus for exploratory projects that are consistent with the objectives of CreativeIT. These areas are being developed further with feedback from the research community and the outcomes of exploratory research.

  • Understanding Creative Cognition and Computation

    This area has two major thrusts: research and education. Research in this area leads to cognitive models that serve as inspiration for computational models of creativity, support for human creativity, and approaches for educating people to be more creative. This research is typically done by adopting or adapting a model of cognition and evaluating its creative performance in different contexts, or developing a new model of creativity based on empirical or ethnographic studies. The emphasis in this area is the development of new models of cognition and computation that explain or simulate creativity. These models may then become the basis for new tools and new educational environments.

  • Creativity to Stimulate Breakthroughs in Science and Engineering

    This area considers the role and performance of artists in developing new technologies, discovering new patterns in information, and in finding new ways of seeing, knowing, and doing computer and information science and engineering. This is research that is done with groups of people from different backgrounds in which the creative synergy is focused on a specific context, problem, or perceived need. The result of this research is a new product, new model, or new area of research. The evaluation of the results of this kind of research does not follow directly from existing metrics or performance criteria and therefore needs to define its own performance criteria.

  • Supporting Creativity with Information Technology

    This area both develops new software and user interfaces to support users in being more creative and evaluates their performance through user studies either in controlled environments with empirical studies or in the context of a complex problem or situation with ethnographic studies. The emphasis in this area is the development of new support tools where the tool itself may be a creative product, and the tool is intended to support people in their creative activities.

Visit the CreativeIT wiki http://swiki.cs.colorado.edu:3232/CreativIT for more information on workshops and exploratory research, and to share your thoughts on the foci of CreativeIT.

Contact Mary Lou Maher mmaher@nsf.gov if you are interested in applying for exploratory research funding or in running a CreativeIT workshop.