CHI 98 Basic Research Symposum

Note:  Submissions Still Being Accepted -- Contact Program Chairs

Joseph A. Konstan
Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA
+1 612 625-1831
Jane Siegel
HCI Institute
Carnegie-Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA
+1 412 268-6764

Welcome to the CHI 98 Basic Research Symposium home page.  In this page you will find:

BRS Overview

The CHI Basic Research Symposium (BRS) is a long-running special event that presents an opportunity for researchers from different disciplines to exchange new developments and insights from their own fields and thereby expand their vision of human-computer interaction.  This two-day event is a cross between a mini-conference and a workshop.  Participants are selected by a program committee that reviews submitted position papers to bring together a diverse group of researchers with innovative research underway.  The symposium itself includes interactive research presentations, group discussions around common themes, and small-group break-out activities.

The goal of the BRS is not to become a "mini-CHI."  Both the format and content are selected to emphasize thoughtful discussion of research while that research is still malleable enough to evolve from the discussion.  The BRS has always been limited in size, specifically to prevent it from becoming a place to present papers.  The spirit of the BRS is best captured by some of the quotes from last year's participants.


The BRS will be held on Sunday April 19 and Monday April 20.  The BRS is a two day event with group lunches and optional group dinners (accompanying persons welcome).  The CHI conference charges $100 for participation in the BRS, to cover facilities, coffee breaks, etc.  Lunches and dinners are at your own expense.

The BRS and CHI Conference

Starting in 1997, the CHI conference decided that it was too administratively challenging to provide special administrative support to the BRS.  At the same time, BRS participants and organizers insisted that the independence of the BRS, particularly of its program selection and format, was critical to the success of the event.  A compromise was reached in which the BRS is treated by the conference as a workshop, for administrative purposes.  The symposium chairs and committee, however, retain control over the content and format of the BRS.

BRS Topics and Themes

Like the CHI conference itself, the Basic Research Symposiumís content is based on the research topics addressed in submissions.  Past symposia have spanned all subfields of human-computer interaction ranging from human notions of time to interface construction tools to research methods to education and beyond.  The program committee selects submissions based on quality alone, and only afterwards attempts to organize a thematic program.

This year, the symposium embraces the CHI 98 application domain focus areas by making a special effort to reach out to researchers with a background in the areas of education, entertainment, and health care.  Researchers from these fields who are working on basic human-computer interaction research are especially invited to share their research ideas, learn what others are doing, and further broaden the diversity of the symposium.

Misson and Vision

The mission of the CHI Basic Research Symposium is to provide a venue where researchers conducting ground-breaking, controversial, and emerging research can discuss that research with a diverse group of peers.

This mission has three important components:

Our vision for this yearís Basic Research Symposium is for each participant to leave with a better understanding of the research methods, goals, and frontiers of a wide range of HCI disciplines.  Each participant should contribute to the collective understanding and leave with new ideas for conducting, integrating, and applying research.

The BRS Format

The specific format of the BRS changes based on the submissions.  At the minimum, we expect the CHI 98 BRS to include: To help capture the results of the BRS, we will be creating a web page for the CHI community that summarizes the happenings.

Submission Guidelines and Timetables

The BRS welcomes two types of participation: All submissions should be in HTML format, and sent (either as a file or a URL) to  If you have questions about your submission, or have difficulty generating HTML, please send e-mail to

Submitters of papers by the original February 15 deadline will receive decisions by March 1. Submissions will continue to be accepted until the symposium is full, but earlier submissions have a greater opportunity for acceptance for presentation. Contact the program chairs ( to discuss potential submissions if they would not be submitted before March 15. Revised position papers will be accepted through April 1, after which papers will appear on a private web page for participants.

On April 1, a private web page for participants will be established so all participants can read the position papers and statements before the symposium.  To encourage cutting-edge thoughts that may not be ready for wide distribution, position papers and statements will not be published for a general audience (though you are certainly welcome to do so yourself).

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out about the results of the BRS?

This year, the BRS will create a web page summarizing the highlights of the discussion.  To preserve the feeling of safety and openness in the symposium, however, we will continue to distribute copies of position papers only to participants.  (  Written reports on the BRS have appeared in SIGCHI Bulletin in recent years.

Must one submit a position paper and present research to participate in the symposium?

While preference is given to authors of accepted position papers, others with an interest in participating are invited as space allows.  Each year the symposium includes a few graduate students and other researchers who are interested in hearing about and discussing othersí research without presenting their own.  These participants submit a one- or two-page position statement that outlines their background and interests for the other participants.

What are the demographics of BRS attendees?

The BRS draws attendees from all demographic groups.  We have had a mix of students, faculty, and industry researchers from around the world.  Overall, the BRS is more reflective of the research community than the CHI conference, with more academic researchers and a broader representation of non-North American researchers.

Must one register for the conference to attend the BRS?

We expect that all BRS attendees will want to take advantage of the whole conference.  It is CHI conference policy to require conference attendance of participants in pre-conference activities.  If, however, this policy causes a hardship, please let us know as soon as possible so we can attempt to arrange some accommodation.

How can I combine the BRS and tutorials or workshops?

You've hit on a wonderful challenge of the whole CHI conference--there is simply too much going on to take advantage of it all.  Indeed, you do have to choose between these valuable alternatives.  Remember that good tutorials are often offered more than one year (and often at other conferences).  Also, this year some very interesting tutorials are offered on Saturday and Monday evenings.

What if I have other questions?

Send them to us at  If they are of general interest, we'll post the answers here after sending them to you by e-mail.