Tom Gruber


Tom Gruber <> (This page is from 1994. See also Tom's personal website.)

The keywords I wear on my sleeve:

knowledge management, knowledge representation, knowledge sharing, collaboration, computer-mediated communication, ontology, virtual document, explanation, intelligent agent, design rationale, human-computer interaction, interface design, machine-generated documentation, model formulation, Hypermail, Ontolingua, KIF, KQML, rock and roll.


From 1990-1994 I was a research associate at the Stanford Knowledge Systems Lab, working on the How Things Work, SHADE, and Knowledge Sharing Technology projects.

I did a short a stint at EIT, where I designed virtual environments for collaborative learning and work over the Internet

I have since started a company, called Intraspect Software, with Peter Friedland and Craig Wier. We deliver collaborative knowledge management solutions for the enterprise intranet. Our software is the application of years of research at Stanford and elsewhere in knowledge sharing, knowledge acquisition, collaboration, and human-computer interaction.

Web Offerings

A listing of my publications, with HTML and Postscript versions available. I've identified my favorites. In the HTML versions of the latest papers, the examples and figures are live from the Web. It's getting harder and harder to present this material in static, linear form...
Virtual Documents
I've been crazy about virtual documents since the beginning of the Web. Find out what the possibilities of this new medium, and see some interesting examples. We're not talking about form-based front-ends to databases.
Active Documentation
Demos of an AI system generating explanations of how things work. It's delivered as a kind of virtual document that generates pages of natural language text in response to reader questions. Serving up explanations since February 1994.
Knowledge Sharing Effort digital library
A public library for the ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort. Includes papers, software, archives of group discussions, and a repository of ontologies.
Ontolingua is a language and set of tools for writing, analyzing, translating, and publishing ontologies. The last release of Ontolingua as a Lisp program included web-resident documentation and code for generating hypertext reports on ontologies. These days, the hippest ontologists use the on-line, freely available, interactive KSL Ontology Editor.
Hypermail turns ordinary email into hypertext on the Web. My first foray into groupware. It finds threads, cross references, and embedded references to Web documents. Some examples of its use: the WWW-Talk, WWW-HTML, WW_VRML, and WWW-Style lists, the Java discussion lists , the ARPA Knowledge Sharing lists. Thanks to Kevin Hughes at EIT for rewriting it in C and releasing it to the world...
Nude Photos
In response to user requests...
Gruber FAQ
This is a set of answers to questions that you might have asked me if I were still working at the KSL, like how to maintain the Knowledge Sharing Library. Everybody should have a personal FAQ!

Personal Research Statement:

(What I Did at the KSL)
My research objective is a Knowledge Medium for engineering: a knowledge and information infrastructure that supports communication and collaboration among human and software agents. To realize this vision, I have been working on projects that address the design of sharable languages and representations for design and product knowledge; integrating engineering software in distributed, agent-based architectures to support collaborative design and concurrent engineering; merging interactive applications and machine-generated documentation to produce shared, hypermedia design notebooks on the World Wide Web; and developing interactive systems that can help formulate engineering models, capture design rationale, and explain how devices work.

Education/Other Relevant Experience:

Gruber received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, where he did work in automated knowledge acquisition and computer-mediated communication prosthesis. His undergraduate education in Psychology and Computer Science included research on computer-assisted instruction. He serves on the editorial boards of several AI journals and conferences and is chair of the ARPA Knowledge Sharing Effort group on sharable, reusable knowledge bases.

For traditionalists, my somewhat incomplete CV is also available.

Personal Interests:

Music, cooking, skiing, kayaking, biking, and the art of argumentation.