Edited on 17 Mar 2013: to update information on the project.
The Kutachi Project works toward a visual vocabulary to convey the sense of situations. A goal is to leverage deep intuitive, possibly extra-logical cognitive skills. Both a coherent theory and usable examples are intended. An example application is in human-guided knowledge mining where Kutachi guides the extraction of a coherent causal narrative.
A small group guides the project. Key insights are from Sirius-Beta's prior work, the rights to which are preserved. Sirius-Beta sponsors the site and edits the essays here on key principles. The community-generated insights are managed by a non-profit corporation, the Kutachi Foundation, with the goal of a public license.
Kutachi is a coined word, inspired by the Japanese concept of katachi, which has an introduction here. (link)
The Kutachi Project is based on a set of concepts:
Visual, Form-Centric and Symmetry-Based
The Project aims at next generation user interfaces, so we want to focus on visual grammar. Existing studies on the nature of form can be leveraged, and these include work in cognition and the arts. We ally with the group of mathematicians and scientists who believe that the world (or our perception of the world) is inherently geometric and that symmetry is a fundamental primitive.
Deep Intuitive Perception
We assume that effective designers and powerful artists use Kutachi every day. Most probably, cognitive anthropology can inform the work; artists were working in form with stone tools, weaving and knots long before modern humans or even language appeared. The very basic ability to interpret faces and body movement may be relevant.
We purport that people structure and understand facts as narratives. In particular, we employ the notion of a story that is continuously re-interpreted based on new information. The Kutachi display will therefore in some basic sense be a display of the form of the narrative. We exploit a specific quality in narrative: causal linkages and change. In this we are working in the same area as the Foundations of Information Science group, and others concerned with self organizing systems. (link)
Dynamic Flow Paradigm
The project assumes that the metaphor of dynamic narrative flow may best use visual paradigms and intuitions associated with fluid flows. This would be integrated with conventional displays, notations and visualizations using current particle rendering tools.
Calligraphic Glyph View
While the main goal is a dynamic display of the big picture, revealing some essential qualities, a second use for the insights is planned: an ‘alphabet’ of kutachi-inspired glyphs. The idea is to empower a new notation not bound to a paper metaphor.
The project works outside the normal bounds of what is ordinarily called logic, but we still require a formal (meaning mathematical) basis. The mathematics of abstraction is category theory, and we use it fearlessly in this role. We also rely on a well-founded body of work in mathematical logic called situation theory. It forms a coherent philosophical framework for the approach.
A Functional, Reactive Prototype
Many of the contributors will not be logicians, mathematicians or programmers, but it is the intent of the project to build useful, trustworthy tools. Since Kutachi is outside the bounds of ordinary logic, we need an extraordinary set of programming techniques. We expect to employ higher order functional programming.
If this appeals to you, contact Ted Goranson (tedg(junk)@(junk)sirius-beta.com) to participate, or just register with Disqus and comment on the essays here.