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hci g

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complexity theory

The study of how much time or resources are required to compute things. The complexity of an algorithm or problem is typically measured relative to the size of the problem, n, and expressed in order notation. For example, a time complexity of O(n2) means that the time it takes to perform the calculation increases with the square of the problem size.

computational equivalence

Two representations that, in addition to being informationally equivilent, make the same information equally readily accessible. See also informational equivalence.

computational metaphor (of cognition)

Hutchins (1995a, 117) defines a “computation” as referring to “the propagation of representational state across representational media.” The computational metaphor is the position taken that cognition is a form of computation, and that mental state is encoded analogously to computer representations. The term “metaphor.” Within cognitive science, the computational metaphor is also known as the “representational theory of mind,” in which computations are actions on representations. DCog claims that the computational metaphor can be applied to a unit of analysis broader than an individual’s mind (i.e., the functional system).


computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW)

The design of systems to support interaction and cooperative working. It emerged in the late 1980s as a result of dissatisfactions with the predominantly cognitivist paradigm employed in human-computer interaction (HCI) and in recognition of the importance of questions regarding organizations, work, and interaction for the design of computer systems.

conceptual framework

A structure describing the concepts in a cognitive system, less specific than a cognitive architecture.


In the context of cognitive work analysis, factors that limit, but do not prescribe, how effective work activity might be carried out.

controlled cognitive processes

Processes that require monitoring and effort or attention during their execution. See also automatic cognitive processes.

control task analysis

A way of analyzing work that focuses on the control that must be exercised over a work domain and the tasks implied to exercise such control. An analytic phase of cognitive work analysis.

conversation analysis

Originated by Harvey Sacks, this is often coupled with ethnomethodology and is the study of the way in which conversationalists order and accomplish their exchange of speech with each other as a situated and locally organized matter.

cost structure of information

An analysis of the resource and opportunity costs involved in accessing and handling information from a physical or virtual information system.

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