Biographical Info

I am currently a Research Fellow in the Interactive Intelligence Area at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), where I’ve been pursuing studies of human information interaction since 1991. Before joining PARC, I was a Professor in the School of Education at UC Berkeley. I received my doctorate in cognitive psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985.  I received a B.Sc. in psychology and anthropology from Trent University. I have been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the National Academy of Education, and the ACM Computer-Human Interaction Academy. Please see my  book titled “Information Foraging Theory: Adaptive Interaction with Information.” I’m currently an Associate Editor for Human Computer Interaction.

Peter Pirolli

Position: Research Fellow
Where: PARC
Publications:  CV
email: pirolli at parc dot com

Disruptive technologies to support healthy behavior, information foraging theory, sensemaking, human-information interaction


Social Information Foraging

Information Foraging Talk


Lebiere et al. (in press). A functional model of sensemaking in a neuroscience architecture. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience.
Mangel, Satterthwaite, Pirolli, Suh, & Zhang (in press). Invasion biology and the success of social collaboration networks, with application to Wikipedia. Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution.
Pirolli & Kairam (2013). A knowledge-tracing model of learning from a social tagging system. UMUAI.
Fu & Pirolli (2013). Establishing the micro-to-macro link in cognitive engineering: Multi-level models of socio-computer engineering. Handbook of Cognitive Engineering
Paik, Pirolli, Dong, Lebiere, & Thomson (2013). An ACT-R model of sensemaking in geospatial intelligence tasks. BRIMS 2013
Peng, Zhang, Pirolli, & Hogg. (2012) Thermodynamic principles in social collaborations Collective Intelligence.
Canini, Suh, Pirolli (2011). Finding credible information sources in social networks based on content and socisl structure. SocialCom 2011 [BEST PAPER AWARD]
Fu & Pirolli (2007). SNIF-ACT: A cognitive model of user navigation on the World Wide Web
Shneiderman, Preece, & Pirolli. Realizing the value of social media requires innovative computing research. CACM
Suh, Hong, Pirolli, & Chi (2010). Want to be retweeted? Large scale analytics on factors impacting retweet in Twitter. SocialCom 2010.

Ch 1 of  Information Foraging Theory (uncorrected proof)


PARC library
ACM Digital Library
DBLP Bib Server

Check out: Surfing Ocean Beach
Home break:  Sloat (OB)
Vacation break:  The Rock
Shortboard:  6’8” Robin Prodanovich Reality Pro swallowtail
Longboard:  9’0” Stewart
Article:  Chairmen of the boards
Other interests:  Mountain biking, X-country skiing

Nice, France

Surfing Baja

Baja road trip 2007

Baja road trip 2006Photos/Pages/Nice,_France.htmlPhotos/Pages/Surfing_in_Baja.htmlPhotos/Pages/Baja_Trip_2007_-_On_the_Road.htmlPhotos/Pages/Baja_Road_Trip_2006.htmlPhotos/Pages/Surfing_in_Baja.html


Once there were brook trout in the streams in the mountains. You could see them standing in the amber current where the white edges of their fins wimpled softly in the flow. They smelled of moss in your hand. Polished and muscular and torsional. On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.

-- Cormac McCarthy, The Road


  1. Search Engine Land blogpost: Human Hardware: Foraging for Information

  2. A. King’s review of my book

  3. J. Nielsen: Deceivingly Strong Information Scent Costs Sales

  4. J. Nielsen:  Information Foraging: Why Google Makes People Leave your Site Faster

  5. J. Nielsen: Long vs short articles as content strategy

  6. R. Chalmers’ New Scientist Article: Surf like a Bushman