Widespread use of the Internet has fundamentally changed the computing situation not only for individuals, but also for organizations. Settings in which many people and many computer systems work together, despite being distributed both geographically and in time, dominate individual use. This major shift in the way people use computers has led to a significant challenge for computer science: to construct computer systems that are able to act effectively as collaborative team members. Teams may consist solely of computer agents, but often include both systems and people. They may persist over long periods of time, form spontaneously for a single group activity, or come together repeatedly. Participation in group activities---whether competitive, cooperative, or collaborative---frequently requires decision-making on the part of autonomous-agent systems or the support of decision making by people.
In this talk, I will briefly review the major features of one model of collaborative planning, SharedPlans (Grosz and Kraus, 1996,1999), and will describe efforts to develop collaborative planning agents and systems for human-computer communication based on this model. The model also provides a framework in which to raise and address fundamental questions about collaboration and the construction of collaboration-capable agents. In this context, I will discuss recent approaches to commitment management and group decision-making.