Gerhard Fischer (professor)

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Gerhard Fischer
Gerhard Fischer at CU Boulder
Räckelwitz, Germany
NationalityGerman and American
Alma materUniversity of Hamburg
University of Heidelberg
AwardsCHI Academy, ACM Fellow, RIGO Award (SIGDOC), Honorary PhD (University of Gothenburg)
Scientific career
FieldsHuman-Centered Design
Learning Sciences
InstitutionsUniversity of Colorado, Boulder
Doctoral advisorKlaus Brunnstein (German page)
Other academic advisorsHerbert A. Simon (Habilitation Advisor)

Gerhard Fischer (born 1945) is a German-born computer scientist, Professor of Computer Science, a Fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science, and the founder and director of the Center for LifeLong Learning & Design (L3D) at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Academic career[edit]

In 1971 he graduated with a Masters (Mathematics and Physical Education) from the University of Heidelberg. With a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), he spent the following two years at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and the University of California, Irvine. He obtained a PhD from the University of Hamburg in Computer Science (1977), followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT, Cambridge, (working with Seymour Papert and the LOGO community) and Xerox Parc (working with Alan Kay and the Smalltalk community).

From 1974 to 1977 he was Research associate at the Center for Educational Technology at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany. From 1977 to 1978 he was Research Associate at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] From 1978 to 1984 he served as an Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Stuttgart. During these six years, he spent several extended visits at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh to study with Herbert A. Simon who served as the primary advisor for his "Habilitation" degree that he obtained in 1983 from the University of Stuttgart. In 1984 he accepted a position in the Computer Science Department of the University of Colorado, Boulder combined with being a Fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science. During the years at CU Boulder, he was Stiftungsprofessor at the Department of Computer Science of the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany (1994-1995) and Erskine fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand (2002-2003).[1]

He was awarded a "Chair of Excellence" at the Charles III University of Madrid (UC3M), Spain and he spent 6 months in 2012 and 2013 as a visiting professor at UC3M. He obtained a fellowship from the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK)[2] an Advanced Study Institute in Delmenhorst, Germany and he spent 6 months in 2014 and 2015 at the HWK as a fellow. He was invited as a Visiting Professor to the Technical University, Vienna, Austria (October 2018) and the University of Hiroshima, Japan (April 2019).


Early Work (1978-1984). In his early work at the University of Stuttgart, he explored theoretical frameworks and system developments for Human-Computer Interaction and co-founded conferences in Germany on "Mensch-Maschine Kommunikation" (1980) and "Software Ergonomics" (1983).

Work at CU Boulder (1984 – 2012). His early work at CU Boulder was centered on domain-oriented design environments,[3] critiquing systems,[4] and the exploration of high-functionality environments.[5]

In 1994, the Center for LifeLong Learning & Design was founded and in the following years, he (in close collaboration with numerous colleagues, including specifically Ernesto Arias, Hal Eden, Michael Eisenberg, and Walter Kintsch and a large number of PhD students) explored themes in meta-design,[6] social creativity,[7] cultures of participation,[8] computer-supported collaborative learning,[9] support environments for people with cognitive disabilities,[10][11] and collaborative problem solving and decision making with table-top computing environments.[12] He participated in the characterization of numerous NSF research programs (including: Lifelong Learning, Science of Design,[13] Creativity and IT[14]). He served as the principal advisor of 20 PhD students[15]

Recent Work (2013 – 2020). His research activities are centered around

  • supporting collaborative problem solving and decision making with table-top computing environments.[12]
  • identifying design trade-offs associated with wicked problems and exploring quality of life as a fundamental objective of human-centered design [16]
  • rethinking and reinventing learning, education, and collaboration in the digital age [17]
  • serving on numerous advisory and editorial boards
  • continuing to be involved in combining European and American research traditions.


He was inducted into the ACM SIGCHI Academy[18] in 2007 and was elected as a Fellow of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)[19] in 2009, for contributions to human computer interaction and computer-mediated lifelong learning. In 2012, he received the RIGO[20] award from the ACM Special Interest Group on Design of Communication (SIGDOC). In 2015, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden [21] and was featured as one of the Pioneers of HCI [22]


  1. ^ a b "Gerhard Fischer's Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg - Institute for Advanced Study: Home".
  3. ^ Fischer, G (1994). "Domain-Oriented Design Environments". Automated Software Engineering. 1 (2): 177–203. doi:10.1007/bf00872289. S2CID 3116302.
  4. ^ Fischer, G., Nakakoji, K., Ostwald, J., Stahl, G., & Sumner, T. (1998) "Embedding Critics in Design Environments." In M. T. Maybury, & W. Wahlster (Eds.), Readings in Intelligent User Interfaces, Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco, pp. 537-559.
  5. ^ Fischer, G. & Reeves, B. (1995) "Beyond Intelligent Interfaces: Exploring, Analyzing, and Creating Success Models of Cooperative Problem Solving" in R. Baecker, J. Grudin, W. Buxton, & S. Greenberg (Eds.), Reading in Human-Computer Interaction: Toward the Year 2000, Morgan Kaufmann, pp. 822-831.
  6. ^ Fischer, G., & Giaccardi, E. (2006) "Meta-Design: A Framework for the Future of End User Development." In H. Lieberman, F. Paternò, & V. Wulf (Eds.), End User Development, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 427-457.
  7. ^ Fischer, G., Giaccardi, E., Eden, H., Sugimoto, M., & Ye, Y. (2005) "Beyond Binary Choices: Integrating Individual and Social Creativity," International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (IJHCS) Special Issue on Computer Support for Creativity (E.A. Edmonds & L. Candy, Eds.), 63(4-5), pp. 482-512.
  8. ^ Fischer, G. (2011) "Understanding, Fostering, and Supporting Cultures of Participation," ACM Interactions XVIII.3 (May + June 2011), pp. 42-53.
  9. ^ Fischer, G. (2007) "Designing Socio-Technical Environments in Support of Meta-Design and Social Creativity." In Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2007), Rutgers University, July, pp. 1-10.
  10. ^ Carmien, S., Dawe, M., Fischer, G., Gorman, A., Kintsch, A., & Sullivan, J. F. (2005) "Socio-Technical Environments Supporting People with Cognitive Disabilities Using Public Transportation," Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction (ToCHI), 12(2), pp. 233-262.
  11. ^ "Clever: Home". Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2012.
  12. ^ a b Arias, E., Eden, H., & Fischer, G. (2015) The Envisionment and Discovery Collaboratory (EDC) -- Explorations in Human-Centered Informatics with Tabletop Computing Environments, Morgan & Claypool, doi:10.2200/S00670ED1V01Y201509HCI032
  13. ^ "Science of Design nsf04552".
  14. ^ "CreativeIT Community Wiki". Archived from the original on 29 May 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  15. ^ "L3D PhD Graduates (Gerhard Fischer, Advisor)".
  16. ^ Fischer, G. (2018) "Design Trade-Offs for Quality of Life " ACM Interactions XXV.1 (January + February 2018), pp. 26-33.
  17. ^ Fischer, G. (2014) "Supporting Self-Directed Learning with Cultures of Participation in Collaborative Learning Environments" in E. Christiansen, L. Kuure, A. Mørch, & B. Lindström (Eds.), Problem-Based Learning for the 21st Century – New Practices and LearningEnvironments, Aalborg University Press,, pp. 15-50.
  18. ^ "2007 SIGCHI Awards". Archived from the original on 6 June 2017. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
  19. ^ "ACM Fellows - ACM Award".
  20. ^ "RIGO Award".
  21. ^ "Gerhard Fischer new honorary doctor at the IT Faculty". University of Gothenburg. 19 October 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  22. ^ Shneiderman, B. (2019) Encounters with HCI Pioneers: A Personal History and Photo Journal, Morgan&Claypool (Synthesis Lectures on Human-Centered Informatics) and

External links[edit]