Tom Erickson  Tom Erickson photo       

contact information

Research Staff Member, Cognitive Objects and Environments
T. J. Watson Research Center (remotely from Minneapolis)


Professional Associations

Professional Associations:  ACM SIGCHI  |  IEEE

more information

More information:  My external page  |  Publications  |  Cognitive Computing


I'm an interaction designer and social scientist at IBM Research in New York (to which I telecommute from Minneapolis). I worked in the Social Computing Group from its founding in 1998 to its dissolution in 2013; I'm now a member of the Symbiotic Cognitive Systems Lab.

My research has to do with designing systems that enable groups of people to interact coherently and productively: originally focused on online systems for distributed groups, the scope of my work has expanded to include real world environments ranging from rooms to cities.

My aim is to apply social computing ideas to cognitive systems, smart rooms, smart grids, and smarter cities and other things that may benefit from smartness. My view -- and a perspective I push within IBM -- is that much of the smartness that will come to infuse our systems and infrastructure will come from people rather than from digital systems.

More generally, I am interested in topics such as genre theory, pattern languages, urban design, real and virtual communities, and the sociology of human-human interaction, all of which inform my approach to systems design. I've been at IBM since June '97; before that I spent 9 years at Apple, and before that 5 years in a now-defunct startup that competed with another startup called Lotus.

You can find a complete description of my work and a complete list of publications on my external home page at I have also begun sharing presentations at