Research Topics

Cross-Media Information Spaces and Architectures (CISA)

We investigate conceptual models and architectures for the representation and integration of information across media boundaries. It is time to question existing document formats which are very much based on the simulation of paper on static desktop computers and to come up with innovative information concepts for the representation of open and fluid cross-media "documents".

Serious Games

Serious games have great potential as they allow people to acquire knowledge and skills as they play. Serious games include board and card games, as well as digital games. In particular, digital games provides opportunities that traditional methods cannot offer, e.g., simulations that immerse the player into different situations, or incorporating social aspects such as interpersonal skills.

Dynamic Data Physicalisation

We are developing a conceptual as well as software framework that can be used for the rapid prototyping and experimentation with dynamic data physicalisation solutions. For a more systematic approach in the design and development of data physicalisations, there is a need for a conceptual data physicalisation framework which can then also serve the development of a software framework for dynamic data physicalistion.

Tangible Holograms (TangHo)

We are developing a tangible hologram (TangHo) platform for simulating reconfigurable physical objects via tangible "holograms". The combination of holograms, created by a Microsoft HoloLens, and a pair of wearable robotic arms with spherical controllers enables innovative ways of interacting with tangible holograms and experiencing their numerous physical variables including shape, texture or temperature. We are applying our mobile TangHo solution for the collaborative exploration of large data sets (Big Data) via dynamic data physicalisation.

End-User Computing & Domain-Specific Tools

Domain experts, such as pharmacologists, are often faced with a steep learning curve when adopting computational approaches developed and still under development in the domain of computer science (CS) as they often have a limited CS background. The  absence of CS experts or knowledge are stalling the uptake of these technologies in many domains. By using an end-user computing approach (Goodall & Howie, 1997) this can be remediated. End-user computing refers to systems in which non-programmers can create their own software applications.

Personalisation of Serious Games

Although, dedicated tools, methods, guidelines and knowledge are essential to realise effective serious games, they still are not a guarantee for success. An important reason is that all people are different: they have different preferences, different abilities, different performance motivations, different personality treats, and so on. What works for one person, may not work for another person. A (serious) game that is engaging and effective for one person may not be engaging and effective for another person.

Presentation Tools

With more than 30 million PowerPoint presentations that are created every single day, we cannot ignore the widespread and heavy use of slideware presentations in domains such as education or business. Within WISE various projects revolve around the domain of presentation tools and their related aspects.

Design Methods for Serious Games

The purpose of this research topic is to perform research on development methods for serious games, which are games used for training, advertising, simulation, education, ....  

The goal is to develop multidisciplinary tools to assist the development of serious games, as well as dedicated development methods, guidelines and knowledge about serious games. Essential is that these tools, methods and guidelines explicitly support the integration of knowledge from different domains, i.e. they deal with the interdisciplinary character of serious games and allow for a greater involvement of the different stakeholders during the development process. 

Personal Cross-Media Information Management

On a daily basis users struggle to organse and re-find their stored documents, photos or emails. Personal Cross-Media Information Management investigates the opportunities to provide the user with an alternative to the Desktop Metaphor where we step away from the file hierarchies used to store our information. Our cross-media PIM system is a solution which unifies all organisational structures such as email, bookmark and file hierarchies but also the physical classification structures such as bookshelves or piles of papers on the desk.

Interactive Paper and Augmented Reality

While there have been dramatic increases in the use of digital technologies for information storage, processing and delivery over the last few decades, the affordances of paper have ensured its retention as a key information medium. We are interested in conceptual models and software platforms for the integration of paper with digital as well as other cross-media resources.

Domain-specific Modeling Language for Narrative-based Serious Games

ATTAC-L is a visual domain-specific modeling language for specifying the educational scenarios of serious games. Its syntax is based on a Controlled Natural Language (CNL), which is a strict and controlled subset of natural language. The models are specified in a graphical way. Using a CNL-based syntax for our DMSL provides an easy and human-readable, yet flexible and expressive way to specify (i.e., model) the story of a game. This makes it significantly easier for people without programming knowledge (such as most subject-matter experts) to understand, and even create models, and in this way a better communication and collaboration within multidisciplinary teams can be achieved. ATTAC-L also allows to specify the pedagogical design used fro the game and the pedagogical interventions needed during the story. This is done by an annotations system.

ATTAC-L is supported by a web-based tool and a simulator is available to try out the modeled stories in a 3D environment.

Multimodal and Multi-Touch Interaction

We are developing multimodal and multi-touch interaction frameworks with a focus on the declarative definition of gestures and interaction patterns and the reusability as well as extensibility of existing gestures. Our solution supports the rapid prototyping and investigation of novel multimodal and multi-touch gestures.

Context-aware Applications

Context-aware applications are applications that take into account a user's context (e.g. personal preferences, characteristics, agenda) and environment (e.g. people, places and things in the user's vicinity), in order to provide an improved user experience.

Conceptual Modeling

One of the core research topics of WISE is conceptual modeling. During conceptual modeling, we create models for the system to be developed or for the domain under considerration without consideration implementation aspects. While in the past, the conceptual modeling techniques, such as ORM, UML or ER where very general and could be used for different domains, nowadays domain-specific modeling languages are preferred. These domain-specific modeling languages are tailored to their domain and provide first-class modeling concepts for concepts that are specific for the domain under consideration.


Different research topics and projects of WISE are related to e-learning.

Mobile Applications

In this research we concentrate on the development of mobile applications running on mobile devices such as smartphones.

Visualization to Support Transparency and Interaction

We are researching visualization techniques to support transparency of and interaction with a wide variety of applications.

Adaptive Web-based Systems

This research concentrates on making Web-based systems adaptive, i.e. how can the content and services provided in a Web system adapt automatically and dynamically to the characteristics, needs and context of the user. The research includes techniques to provide adaptivity but also authoring support for specifying the required adaptivity. Adaptivity is investigated for web-based systems in general and more in particular for web-based e-learning systems, Virtual Reality based web sytems and games.

Graph Databases and RDF Stores

Graph databases can be seen as a special case of NoSQL databases, however they usually have very specific different implementation techniques and application domains that are different from other NoSQL databases. For example graph database play an important role in graph analytics for domains such as social media, the life sciences, telecommunication and crime fighting.

Large-scale and Distributed Data Processing Platforms

Many platforms for big data processing have emerged in recent years, and many are still emerging with different platforms focussing on different types of data processing such as memory-based data processing, graph processing or stream-based processing.

Conceptual Modeling and Design Methods for Virtual Reality

The focus of this research track is on the development of conceptual modeling, design and development methods and tools for Virtual Reality applications.

Domain-Specific Requirement Engineering

In Domain-Specific Requirement Engineering, the requirement engineering is tailored to the domain for which a software system needs to be developed. This means that a vocabulary based on domain abstractions is used and that knowledge about requirements engineering in the domain is reused. Carrying out the requirement engineering in a domain-specific manner has the advantages that it allows to involve domain experts and end-users, and that existing knowledge on requirement engineering can be reused.


Ontologies are an important research domain in the context of the Semantic Web. In general, WISE is applying the research results from the domain of ontologies in its own research. However also some research on ontology evolution has been performed in the past.

Semantic Web Languages and Technology

Semantic Web technology and languages (like RDF(S) and OWL) is an important area in Web Engineering and for semantic interoperability. WISE is mainly using the results of research done in this domain, but we also contribute to it in the context of different research project.

Software Variability

Modeling and Management of Software Variability in Software Product Lines

Web Development Methods

This research track focusses on methods for designing and developing web systems.