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Agent-Assisted Task Management that Reduces Email Overhead

Andrew Faulring, Brad Myers, Ken Mohnkern, Bradley Schmerl, Aaron Steinfeld, John Zimmerman, Asim Smailagic, Jeffery Hansen and Daniel Siewioreck.

In Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces, Pages 61-70, ACM Press, Hong Kong, China, 7-10 February 2010. Honorable Mention Award in the Best Paper Contest. DOI.

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RADAR is a multiagent system with a mixed-initiative user interface designed to help office workers cope with email overload. RADAR agents observe experts to learn models of their strategies and then use the models to assist other people who are working on similar tasks. The agentsí assistance helps a person to transition from the normal email-centric workflow to a more efficient task-centric workflow. The Email Classifier learns to identify tasks contained within emails and then inspects new emails for similar tasks. A novel task-management user interface displays the found tasks in a to-do list, which has integrated support for performing the tasks. The Multitask Coordination Assistant learns a model of the order in which experts perform tasks and then suggests a schedule to other people who are working on similar tasks. A novel Progress Bar displays the suggested schedule of incomplete tasks as well as the completed tasks. A large evaluation demonstrated that novice users confronted with an email overload test performed significantly better (a 37% better overall score with a factor of four fewer errors) when assisted by the RADAR agents.

Keywords: RADAR.  
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