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The ICT track of the Informatics concentration focuses on studying and enhancing the relationship between the design and use of interactive systems and their applications in real-world settings.
Examples of topics that ICT researchers investigate include: adoption and diffusion of collaborative technologies; software architectures for user-adaptive systems; universal access to interactive systems; design principles for information visualization; and new patterns of computer-mediated work such as virtual teams.
The approach used places equal emphasis on three areas of investigation--empirical, theoretical, and technical. The empirical work involves studying technology in use, using both laboratory techniques and fieldwork investigations of real-world settings. The theoretical research employs and develops analytic understanding of the relationships among technology, people, organizations, and social settings. Finally, in the technical work, ICT researchers develop new models and technologies for interaction with and collaboration through technology. Students in the ICT track gain a thorough grounding in all three areas.
The cornerstone of this approach is to study real use of technology, as it occurs in real-world settings. ICT researchers believe that the success or failure of technology depends on how people can fit that technology into real practice, balancing technical, cognitive, social, and cultural dimensions.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, ICT research aims at a deeper understanding of interaction with and collaboration through technology, and at exploiting these insights for the design of better systems.