Over the years my research focus has always been on tools and methods for improving the way in which people work with IT.
Initially, I focused on rule-based systems. With my work, one could represent the expert knowledge with a simple technology-independent notation and then use such a model to check the validity of rule sets and generate the code for specific active relational databases.
Then, in 1996, I turned the attention to the Web, being quite stricken by how low-level, technology-dependent and thus hard the development of a web application was. I set myself the goal of getting rid of all that unnecessary complexity and generating automatically web applications from a high level model, much as people generated SQL databases from E-R diagrams. Nobody at the time thought the idea made sense, mostly because the high quality and usability of a web interface were perceived as impossible but to develop by hand. Well, time is judge. Check out www.webratio.com and its customers to have a long list of perfectly usable web apps with high quality presentation. Nobody can tell they have been generated by a machine..
For historians: this is the interface of the first automatically generated web application ever:
Ah.. and now the thing has become an international standard (OMG IFML). So it made some sense after all..
Next we (S. Ceri, M. Brambilla, etc, .. and me) did the same for business process management applications, but that was easier.
Now, I’m on multimedia, social media, and human computation. The idea this time is helping algorithms, rather than humans. When you have a problem that is too difficult/large for a computer to address it alone, we try to call humans to the rescue, possibly in a clever manner.
Don’t know yet where this will lead..