Funding for the Methods Network ended March 31st 2008. The website will be preserved in its current state.

Thinking Through Computing Event Report

Report by Steve Russ and Meurig Beynon


Empirical Modelling (EM) is a long-term research project in Computer Science at Warwick that is principled, practical, and yet has strong, explicit, philosophical roots. It involves regarding the computer as primarily offering a modelling medium: one that can be used by, or with, people to carry out a multitude of tasks, and even, characteristically, no specific task at all. (By the latter we have in mind the imaginative activity of exploring, experimenting or designing in which we formulate, in a new domain and perhaps for the first time, provisional worthwhile tasks – soon to be reformulated in the light of better understanding.)

This outlook subsumes, without replacing, the more familiar roles of the computer in implementing algorithms, processing information, being a communication medium and so on. Far from being a mere change in perspective on computing however, the approach challenges many conventional assumptions about computing and has some radical theoretical and practical implications. Many others, though travelling different paths in different territory, have also found the need to seek a broader perspective on the nature of computing. It was with a view to exploring and articulating these issues, and to joining forces in their understanding, that this meeting and network was conceived. Because of the emphasis on modelling (and therefore semantics), the perceived need to include human aspects within the computational framework, and our interest in a more phenomenological outlook on computing, it was natural to invite experts from humanities computing (Willard McCarty, King’s College London) and philosophy of technology (Don Ihde, SUNY, Stony Brook) to be major contributors.

Read the report...

AHDS Methods Taxonomy Terms

This item has been catalogued using a discipline and methods taxonomy. Learn more here.


  • General


  • Strategy and project management - Usability analysis