Alan is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington and an Adjunct Professor in the Information School. He is also project co-director of UrbanSim, currently being developed by an interdisciplinary research group at UW.
Alan moved to the University of Washington in 1980, and (except for various sabbaticals) has been there since. His current research interests are in human-computer interaction, particularly as applied to land use, transportation, and environmental modeling, and in using and extending Value Sensitive Design in this work. He has also done work in constraint-based languages and systems, other aspects of human-computer interaction, and in object-oriented programming.
Alan’s research started out in simulation and graphical interfaces with his PhD dissertation. For most of his time at UW, he worked on constraint-based languages and systems, user interface toolkits, object-oriented programming languages, and related topics. He also had a long-standing interest in issues around computers and society; he was a founding member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility in the early 80s and was on the Board of Directors for four years. More recently, his research has shifted to urban modeling, human-computer interaction, and designing for human values in information technology. He has had a series of marvelous Ph.D. students who have done dissertations in these areas (12 so far), the last several working on urban simulation and related topics.
His primary work currently involves UrbanSim, a system that does integrated land use, transportation, and environmental modeling to help inform public decision-making about the long-term impacts of major transportation projects (such as a new rail line or freeway) and of land use changes in urban areas. This work connects well with the overall digital government research agenda, touching as it does on computer science and simulation, public deliberation and debate, and government operations.
Selected Recent Scholarly Work
Alan Borning, Batya Friedman, Janet Davis, and Peyina Lin, Informing Public Deliberation: Value Sensitive Design of Indicators for a Large-Scale Urban Simulation. Proceedings of the 9th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work, Paris, September 2005.
Alan Borning, Paul Waddell, and Ruth Foerster, UrbanSim: Using Simulation to Inform Public Deliberation and Decision-Making. Preprint of paper to appear, Digital Government: Advanced Research and Case Studies, Hsinchun Chen et al. (eds.), Springer-Verlag, in press.
BA from Reed College in mathematics, 1971
Ph.D. from Stanford University in Computer Science, 1979