Christian Kohls

Christian Kohls

TH Köln, patterns, programming and design thinking
· Elephants, Patterns, and Heuristics


Christian teaches as a professor at the TH Köln, a University of Applied Sciences. His courses include design patterns, programming languages, design thinking, sociotechnical systems, and computer ethics. He has been an active member of the pattern community for a long time and his PhD was about the theories of design patterns. He is doing research about new ways of collaboration, teaching and learning using digital media.

Elephants, Patterns, and Heuristics (Talk, Main Conference)
by Rebecca Wirfs-Brock, Christian Kohls

Elephants are an observable phenomenon, a pattern in nature. Software patterns are observable phenomena of design solutions. Many different descriptions, representations, and accounts of elephants exist. And many people claim to know what an elephant is. Yet they actually have little or limited knowledge of them. This analogy helps to understand how at the same time we both know and do not know what a thing is. This talk will explore the dilemma faced by patterns authors: What to include in a pattern and what to leave out? We also show how experienced designers unfold and generate new solutions based on pre-existing design knowhow and the central role personal design heuristics play in the design process. As this folding and unfolding of information and knowledge seems to be quite an abstract concept, we will choose to make our case by discussing elephants.

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