Posted by Rob Knies

Jonathan Grudin 

After years of investigating computer-supported ways to help groups work collaboratively, Jonathan Grudin’s achievements are being recognized by one of computer science’s most esteemed groups.

On Dec. 11, Grudin, a principal researcher in the Natural Interaction Research group at Microsoft Research Redmond, was named one of 52 newly named Fellows of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

The ACM Fellows personify the highest achievements in computing research and development from the world’s leading universities, corporations, and research labs, with innovations that are driving economic growth in the digital environment.

The citation for Grudin’s Fellowship reads: “For contributions to human computer interaction with an emphasis on computer supported cooperative work.”

That’s precisely what he’s been doing for Microsoft Research for the last 14 years. It was a bit of a circuitous, though rewarding, path getting there, though.

“After earning degrees in physics and mathematics, I worked as a systems developer,” Grudin recalls, “then returned to graduate school in psychology. Through the years, I’ve worked to bridge disciplines and establish human-computer interaction [HCI], including social and organizational elements, as integral to computer science.

“ACM’s recognition of HCI researchers is a wonderful validation of the contributions of many of us who left other professional fields to join forces with computer scientists and engineers.”

Grudin’s research has examined the design, adoption, and use of group-support technologies, even as such technologies have been evolving rapidly.

“Prior to joining Microsoft,” he says, “I studied email, shared calendars, and desktop conferencing; the past 15 years, it has been video, IM, blogs, wikis, and social networking. In the early 1980s, only organizations could afford systems that supported collaboration, and my focus has remained on enterprise use.

“My work has succeeded because supporting groups is trickier than people expect, and my first love—programming, developing technology—and subsequent graduate training in psychology were a good fit.”

Congratulations, Jonathan!