I am a PhD student in the field of human-computer interaction based in Denmark. My research focuses on computational media as a possible future of software.
I am a computer scientist in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). I obtained both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Konstanz in Germany. During my master’s degree, I started working as a research assistant for the HCI group in Konstanz. During that time, I was able to partake in several HCI-related projects—both for course work and research.
Currently, I am a PhD student in the department of computer science at Aarhus University in Denmark. I am under the supervision of Susanne Bødker and Clemens Klokmose. My current PhD research focuses on computational media as a possible future of software.
Exploring Possible Futures with Computational Media
In thinking about software, we often think about monolithic applications on specific devices: We use our laptop to write text in Microsoft Word or edit photos in Adobe Photoshop, use our tablet with pen input to read and annotate documents in Adobe Acrobat Reader, and use our phones to chat in WhatsApp on the go.
By doing so, applications compartmentalize functionality into fixed silos—applications are good at doing what they do, but going beyond that, they are usually highly inflexible. When editing photos, one would rarely take up Word, and vice versa, one would not use Photoshop for writing text documents. Further, are options to tailor and extend applications often sparse and centered around visual changes such as toolbars, rarely allowing users to extend functionality itself without using additional development software.
The notion of computational media looks at software from a different angle. Instead of seeing it as tools for a specific task, it sees it as a malleable medium that the user can form and mold to their own needs and easily share with others. Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg compare computational media with paper or clay, allowing for many different ways of using it. Recently, research and commercial products picked up this sentiment of software as a medium in platforms such as Webstrates or Notion—their potentials and limitations, however, are mostly unexplored.
My research aims to explore computational media and contributes by defining properties and values of it, exploring potentials and limits of it, and identifying domains and use cases where computational media thrives. As these aims are rooted in exploratory research, my approach focuses on qualitative methods and the creation of high-fidelity prototypes. These prototypes allow people to glance into possible futures of software as a malleable medium rather than monolithic applications. The insights of my work intend to shift the focus of software towards a malleable and shareable foundation, overcoming boundaries of applications and devices.
Projects I participated in during my master’s and PhD studies:
2019 — Research Project
2018 — Master’s Thesis
2018 — Master’s Project
2017 — Master’s Course
Publications related to my PhD research:
Between Scripts and Applications: Computational Media for the Frontier of Nanoscience. Midas Nouwens, Marcel Borowski, Bjarke Fog, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2020. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '20). DOI: 10.1145/3313831.3376287.
Exploring the Benefits and Barriers of Using Computational Notebooks for Collaborative Programming Assignments. Marcel Borowski, Johannes Zagermann, Clemens N. Klokmose, Harald Reiterer, and Roman Rädle. 2020. In Proceedings of the 51st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE '20). DOI: 10.1145/3328778.3366887.
Codestrate Packages: An Alternative to “One-Size-Fits-All” Software. Marcel Borowski, Roman Rädle, and Clemens N. Klokmose. 2018. In Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '18). DOI: 10.1145/3170427.3188563.
Publications of other projects I was involved in:
Learning Patient Transfers with Technology: A Qualitative Investigation of the Design Space. Maximilian Dürr, Ulrike Pfeil, Jens Müller, Marcel Borowski, Carla Gröschel, and Harald Reiterer. 2019. In Proceedings of Mensch und Computer 2019 (MuC'19). DOI: 10.1145/3340764.3340784.
Blended Museum: The Interactive Exhibition “Rebuild Palmyra?”. Moritz Skowronski, Jonathan Wieland, Marcel Borowski, Daniel Fink, Carla Gröschel, Daniel Klinkhammer, and Harald Reiterer. 2018. In Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM 2018). DOI: 10.1145/3282894.3289746.
I am also interested in photography in my free time. You can find my photos and artistic work on my photography website.