I recently received an email that held gold. Well gold in the way of interesting reading material, but gold nonetheless. It was a link to a PDF on "Test Automation Architectures" by Bret Pettichord, and linked off of the famous CSTER website.
The entire concept of testing and automation patterns is one that interests me, and I think is one that is ripe for some research and further investigation. Patterns in software development are common now with the Gang of Four's famous book, Design Patterns. But the development of niche patterns, in areas like testing and automation, are very interesting indeed. I am aware that work in this field is being distributed and collected by testing.com, and I think their work is fantastic.