Program Description

CreativeIT: Developing the Synergies between Research in Creativity and Computer and Information Science and Engineering

The National Science Foundation has established a CreativeIT program with a focus on how creativity and creativity research can transform research in specific contexts of computer science, information technology, education, and various areas of engineering and science. The ideas behind the CreativeIT emphasis build on the recognition of design as a kind of research in which the definition of the problem may change in response to the exploration and development of alternative solutions. The objective of this effort is to bring together different disciplines associated with creative and scientific advances in a way that is mutually beneficial. This program encourages new ways of thinking about one discipline in terms of another, so that the interdisciplinary nature of the project is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. The following research areas provide a starting point for a dialogue on research in CreativeIT.

Understanding Creative Cognition and Computation. 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 computation and cognition that explain or simulate creativity.

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.

Educational Approaches that Encourage Creativity. This area considers a broad range of approaches to teaching that encourages creativity: multi-disciplinary teaching and learning, design studio teaching, skills development through making and doing, and open-ended problem-based learning. The development and evaluation of innovative education for computer science with other disciplines can lead to changes in curriculum objectives and structure.

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.

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