Koios research

We welcome collaboration by researchers. Please contact us to find out how we can cooperate.

We are also more than happy to provide projects for master and PhD level students.

The data and insights generated by our users are be made available in open and accessible formats.

Frontiers of knowledge and technology

Koios is an multidisciplinary translational research project. Koios builds on research from a wast set of theories, methodologies and disciplines. are (in not particular order):

Competitive distinction

As far as we are aware there are no directly competing projects.

There are, however a set of applications that share some of the same ideas. Among these are IBIS, DebateGraph, Cohere, Evidence-hub, Debatewise and TruthMapping where argumentation is at the core. bCisive Online and Compendium are example of more visual treebased systems.

Solutions targeted directly towards problem solving include Hypios, OneBillionMinds and InnoCentive. These are mostly commercial sites that advertise innovation competitions for solving specific technical challenges.

For solving internal business problems there are systems like Induct who deliver their software as a service. These are mostly commercial entities that advertise innovation competitions for solving specific technical challenges.

In the social innovation space there are ChangeMakers and Open IDEO (built on the oiengine) among others.

The closest matching platform might be Collaborating Minds, but this project is a commercial undertaking with a focus on problem solving with small effective teams. Another interesting project is Civic IQ, this project has a strong focus on Open Government. The project is also at a very early phase. Another more mature project is the Deliberatorium, however this system is very much an academic research project not really suitable for mainstream use.

Other problem solving platforms include challenge.gov. This however is far away from delivering the analytic capabilities that are planned for on Koios. e-Deliberation.com also has many similarities but is not a free open tool and it is tailored for smaller teams.

Research platforms targeted towards researchers such as MyExperiement and MyNetResearch also share some similarities.

There are many websites that has collections of social issues. Koios also has a list of social issues but we also let people solve the problem (not just read and comment on them). Some of the websites in this category is www.emergingissuescommons.org, yourview.org.au, globalissues.org

Decision support is one component of Koios and there are several products in this category, one of which is 1000minds.

A multitude Research platforms targeted towards researchers such as MyExperiement and MyNetResearch also share some similarities with Koios.

Other desktop software packages might also be seen as competitors these simulation tools such as Vensim, Powersim studio, Insight Maker, iThink, Stella etc.

Among projects with the same vision of solving the worlds' problems is the large EU funded FutureICT project.

Koios will also include a list of existing solutions that have been applied to social problems. Users should be able to also analyse why previous solutions worked. This listing can be seen as a solution repository or solution showcase. In this space you will find The future we want.

Other general collaboration platforms include Elgg, Confluence and others.

Koios separate itself from these by focusing on being bottom-up, lightweight, intuitive for common people and with an emphasis on the process of solving a complex social problem. Koios also use layman terms or simple language to help common people understand the service.

International cooperation

Koios is one of several projects of the joint international Knowledge Federation research group.

We are currently establishing a network with individuals from institutions around the world.

Underlying idea

The envisioned system is all about solving difficult social problems.

Early Koios versions were designed around the SIPS conceptual framework. For an updated list of theories, methodologies, methods and techniques see the Theoretical Foundations.

The SIPS framework (Socio-Semantic Infrastructure for Problem Solving) consists of a set of modules. At the bottom is the core platform which is responsible for system services such as user login, portal navigation, semantic interoperability and the like. Layer 2 is a service layer that provides the user with general services and common useful functionality for collaboration and increased productivity. The third layer is the main and the most important layer which is responsible for the actual problem solving process. At the top of the pyramid is the federation layer. This module has to do with holistic thinking, gestalt, communication of insight and collective wisdom. The last module of the SIPS framework is the organization which is depicted as the gray rectangle surrounding the pyramid. The organization is important as an interface to political and educational institutions as well as handling contact with end users. The SIPS organization is responsible for growth of the community.

SIPS pyramid

SIPS Level 1: Socio-semantic Core Infrastructure

The core platform consists of technologies for computing, storage, scalability, programming interfaces etc. Another important part of this layer is the organic data store that helps users evolve semantic data but at the same time in an evolutionary manner strengthen good content and weaken and ultimately delete bad content.

SIPS level 2: Sociability

This module support members in peer to peer interaction and community building. It helps people find like minded and other persons with relevant knowledge and skills etc.

SIPS level 2: Scaffolding

A key feature of the scaffolding module is to build on users intuitions, encourage knowledge integration, and foster life long learning as a continuous process.

Scaffolding also emphasizes the diversity of methods and repertoire of strategies rather than assuming that there is a single right answer or a single best path for solving a problem. This part is concerned with help and guidance through out the use of the system. Central to this model is problem solving guides that users can use as a repository of various problem solving techniques. These will often be in the form of dictionary-style set of heuristics, many of which have to do with generating a more accessible problem.

SIPS level 2: Motivation

This module is to overcome the barriers to start using the system. People in large groups, are often reluctant to replace, or even significantly modify, a piece of work authored by someone else, even if that posting has serious failings. They may be reluctant to offer diverging opinions if the bulk of the existing arguments all seem to point in another direction. Social systems also have a value proportional to the number of users using it. Getting an adequate amount of users to use it is of utmost importance. Motivation during normal use is important to make sure the user continues using the system. Reward systems and ways to display rank, reputation and renownment are to be developed.

SIPS level 2: Collaboration

This module has to do with collaboration, facilitation, moderation, access control, group and task management.

Continuity is important to the success of virtual teams. Collective remembering and the bridging of interactional discontinuities allow teams to expand the referential horizon so that the objects created by themselves or by other teams can be expanded, reconsidered or challenged. This module allows team to evolve a sense of colloquial engagement when building new knowledge which makes it possible for them to interlink their collaborative interactions with those of other teams.

Deliberative democracy, trust and credibility are other facets of this module.

SIPS level 2: Information Retrieval

New information is usually required to solve problems. This module is concerned with Information Retrieval and helping the user in tackling common problems in information retrieval.

Information systems tend to get clogged by imprecise and fuzzy data. Poor semantics and content degrades the overall value of the system. In an open web-based system, all kinds of users can add content, often producing irrelevant information for others. As everyone can add any information it is a possibility that too much information will be added and users can not find what they were looking for among all the content. The system can also become slow to apprehend for the user and the web pages themselves can often become slow to render due to higher client and server load. Information overload cause users to read less and thus acquire less social capital, through having less in common with users. The reduction in social capital, in turn leads to erosion in the community involvement.

SIPS level 3: Defining the problem (Phase 1)

In order to solve problems the first step is to identify a problem and finding out what the problem looks like. Defining the problem consists of the following activities:

  • Becoming aware of the problem
  • Extending the mental idea
  • Putting the problem on the agenda and deciding to handle the problem
  • Forming a problem handling team and starting to analyze the problem
  • Gathering data, exchange knowledge and forming hypotheses
  • Formulating the conceptual model

SIPS level 3: Changing the problem (Phase 2)

An empirical model of the problem can be made based on the definition of the problem described in the conceptual model (phase 1). The previous phase can be seen a way to map the domain. Phase 2 is on the other hand more concerned with simulating the effects of proposed changes. The second sub-cycle is a combined process of thinking and acting. Here the focus is on interventions that might lead to a desired situation.

Changing the problem consists of the following activities:

  • Constructing an empirical model and establishing the desired goal
  • Defining the handling space
  • Constructing and evaluating scenarios
  • Suggesting interventions/solutions. This phase includes argumentation which is a central sub module in the entire system.
  • Implementing interventions. Part of this stage is tools for decision making. One of the most important stages in decision-making is the identification of tasks and overcoming conflicting interdependence among outcomes.
  • Evaluating interventions with reporting mechanisms

SIPS Level 4: Holism, Insight and Federation

Collective wisdom can be defined as the capacity of communities to cooperate intellectually in creation and invention, to learn, and to solve problems over time as a cohesive wholeness whose function is larger than the components. Collective wisdom is the convergence of multiple intelligences and can shape deep insights and wide views.

This modules builds on various ideas, among them Collective Intelligence and Knowledge Federation. Some of the features contained within this module are the ability to vote on what are the most important research areas and being able to promote and federate this research as well as being able to view problems in different dimensions and with different perspectives.

Issue type


Issue title

Development issues