Community Computing Concept

Key Member

Toru Ishida

Project Objective

We use the term community computing to represent the methodologies and tools for creating, maintaining, and evolving social interaction in communities [1].

Current Status

Community computing is intended to support more diverse and amorphous groups of people. We think that community computing will become important with the advance of public computer networks such as the Internet and mobile computing. Community computing typically supports the process of organizing people who are willing to share some mutual understanding and experiences. In other words, compared with groupware, community computing focuses on an earlier stage of collaboration: group formation from a wide variety of people.

Community computing supports different functions for encouraging social interaction. Figure 2 describes relations between community computing functions and social information systems.

Figure 2: Community Computing Functions

We have developed a series of community computing systems from 1994. The results are compiled and published from John Wiley and Sons [2]. In June 1998, we had the First Kyoto Meeting on Social Interaction and Communityware (/km/) with 30 to 40 international researchers to develop community computing concept [3].

Future Direction

The Digital City Project is a three-year initiative sponsored by NTT. Established in October of 1998, the project consists primarily of researchers from NTT and Kyoto University, but also includes a wide variety of people from other organizations. Contributors include several different universities in Kyoto and leading computer companies. Researchers and designers from overseas have also joined the project (

The digital city project makes available different city metaphors: a 2D map and a 3D interface, which are easy to understand for non-technical people. Web site information is collected and linked to the 2D/3D city. Real-time sensory data from the physical city is also mapped to the digital city. People can get information relating to various activities in the physical city: traffic, weather, parking, shopping, sight-seeing and so on. The digital city also encourages social interaction among residents and tourists. Our project will develop a digital city Kyoto in three years as a future information infrastructure. The first year research (October 1998 - September 1999) is planned as follows.

Figure 3: Digital City Kyoto

Human Interface in Digital Cities To integrate WWW information and real-time sensory data, 3D graphic technology becomes a key component of the interface. We started with 3DML for our initial prototype. Since 3DML is easy to use, college students in Kyoto can join us to cooperatively build the 3D Kyoto.

Information Sharing in Digital Cities The digital city integrates WWW and sensory data. We extract addresses from WWW pages and convert them to XY coordinates using a geographical database. The automatic conversion becomes the key technology for digital cities to provide dynamic information from the Internet. For real-time information, we are considering current bus schedules, traffic status, weather conditions, and live video from the fire department.

Social Interaction in Digital Cities Social interaction is an important factor of digital cities. We are now trying to implement a digital bus tour for international tourists. Using collected dialogues, the guide agent supports conversations with tourists from different cultures.

We also have encountered numerous non-technical research issues: security, privacy, intellectual property and so on. To gain a better understanding of the big picture of digital cities, we are planning to have an international meeting on digital cities in Kyoto, in Autumn, 1999. Through implementing a digital city Kyoto, and collaborating with worldwide activities on digital cities, we hope to develop a social information infrastructure for the 21st century.


Toru Ishida, ``Towards Communityware,'' International Conference and Exhibition on the Practical Application of Intelligent Agents and Multi-Agent Technology (PAAM-97), Invited Talk, pp. 7-21, 1997.

Toru Ishida Ed., Community Computing: Collaboration over Global Information Networks, John Wiley and Sons, 1998.

Toru Ishida Ed., Community Computing and Support Systems, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 1519, Springer-Verlag, 1998.

Publications Members Location Related