Franz J. Kurfess joined the Computer Science Department of California Polytechnic State University in the summer of 2000, after a short stay with Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and a longer stay with the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Before that, he spent some time with the University of Ulm, Germany, as a postdoc at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley, CA, and at the Technical University in Munich, where he obtained his MS and PhD in Computer Science.
At Cal Poly, he is the coordinator of the human-computer interaction lab, and teaches courses in the areas of artificial intelligence, knowledge-based systems, user-centered design and development, and human-computer interaction. His main areas of research are artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction, with particular interest in the usability and interaction aspects of knowledge-intensive systems. He is currently investigating a framework for the analysis of “interaction spaces,” consisting of the physical space where interaction between humans and computational systems takes place, and a conceptual space delineated between the shared communication channels, symbol systems, vocabularies and languages, and the conceptual model of the domain and the world. So far, humans have been able to accommodate the limitations of computational systems concerning such interactions fairly well. When expanding interaction to situations where robots (or computational systems in general) have to communicate with other robots, it becomes much more critical to have a coherent framework for interaction in place.