Our overall goal is to be able, simply and quickly, to construct computer conferencing systems for new requirements, applications, and even experimental ideas or fantasies. One way to view this requirement is as the creation of a highly parameterized conferencing system itself. Our view, however, is that of a programming language; i.e., an integrated notational system for the specification of communication structures and the associated actions or computation to be taken by the computer system hosting the structure.
A communication structure consists of a group of people (and storage devices) each endowed with some characteristics, and some means of person-to-person communication. We view the expression of such structure as a set of rules, R (a,b,c), that expresses the actions to be performed in case a participant of characteristics -a sends a communication of type –b to a participant (or set) of characteristics -c. These rules and characteristics may change over time -- a dynamic structure.
The new language to be developed must be able to express the formation of these rules (the details can be supported, of course, by existing coding systems). It must support the organization of such a scheme of dynamic rules.
This Report details the consideration (and examples) for such a language that we have unearthed in our studies.
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Computerized Conferencing & Communications Center and Anderson, Peter Gordon, "Programming Language Requirements for Human Communication Structures or Computer Conferencing" (1977). Computerized Conferencing and Communications Center Reports. 4.