Indiana University Bloomington


The research at CRCC predominantly applies the parallel terraced scan to so-called microdomains. A microdomain is a very limited set of problems, but is ideally selected in such a way that it is able to demonstrate the essence of human creativity, so that elusive concepts such as elegance, absurdity, lameness, fun, and so forth, can be modeled. Our most thoroughly understood microdomains are the letter-analogy problem domain of the Copycat series, and the gridfonts of the Letter Spirit project.

Microdomains can best be understood as an acquired taste. It's easy to look at a program which functions in a microdomain and dismiss it as a mere toy. Yet a microdomain possessing only a few elements (concepts to be manipulated -- Copycat, for instance, can be said to "understand" a mere thirty or so concepts) is still rich enough to provide entertainment for a human being. It can be argued that the ability to find entertainment in a microdomain may be dependent on a certain amount of brainwashing, but there is indeed an incredible depth in a well-tempered microdomain. And so a program which works in a microdomain can truly be said to have captured some essence of human cognition. Watch Copycat as it struggles to produce an elegant solution to a sticky letter analogy problem, and you see your own mind in microcosm, or at least in nano- or femtocosm.

For more detailed descriptions of our two chief microdomains, read about letter analogy problems or gridfonts. We've also got a teaser page for Bongard Problems.