INF385T/CS395T: Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (Spring 2014)
The University of Texas at Austin

INF385T/ CS395T: Human Computation and Crowdsourcing (Spring 2014)

THIS COURSE IS CROSS-LISTED; IF ONE SECTION IS FULL, PLEASE ENROLL IN ONE OF THE OTHER SECTIONS. All students will receive the same credit toward graduation requirements regardless of which section they enroll in.

  • Computer Science students: If the CS listing is full, enroll in the INF listing and email csadmis@cs.utexas.edu to request the CS major credit.
  • ON THE WAITLIST?: I will try to get everyone interested a place in the class. If you are on the waitlist, come the first day and I will do my best to get you in.

Instructor: Matt Lease
Day and Time: Fridays 1-4pm
Location: UTA 1.204 (note room change)
Unique IDs: 28770 (INF) and 54054 (CS)

Syllabus
Course Schedule: Readings & Assignments

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Past offerings: Spring 2012 · Spring 2011

NOTE: As the title change of the course implies (vs. previous offerings of the class), this class will focus primarily on computational aspects of human computation (e.g., assigned readings will center on mathematical equations, statistics, and computer algorithms), in contrast with past offerings of the course. Since we are computing with people rather than machines, we will also explore issues of human factors design, such as incentive engineering for crowdsourcing tasks: what motivates people to do them? We will have roughly the same administrative organization, with weekly research paper readings and discussion, and with a semester-long course project. As in 2012 (and not 2011), the current plan is to lead all discussions myself rather than asking students to give presentations on readings.

Human computation and crowdsourcing (aka crowd computing, or social computing) are rapidly transforming data collection and how we build intelligent systems in research and industrial/professional practice. Read all about it here.

Introductions and examples:

  • Quinn, Alexander J., and Benjamin B. Bederson. Human computation: a survey and taxonomy of a growing field. Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2011.
  • Kittur, Aniket, Jeffrey V. Nickerson, Michael Bernstein, Elizabeth Gerber, Aaron Shaw, John Zimmerman, Matthew Lease, and John Horton. The Future of Crowd Work. In Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, pp. 1301-1318. ACM, 2013.
  • Law, Edith, and Luis von Ahn. Human computation. Synthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning 5, no. 3 (2011): 1-121.
  • Bernstein, Michael S., et al. "Soylent: a word processor with a crowd inside." Proceedings of the 23nd annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology. ACM, 2010. Watch the video and read the paper here
For further reading, see papers accepted to HCOMP 2013: The 1st annual conference on Human Computation & Crowdsourcing (after four years as a workshop)

Want to publish original research?

In every previous offering of the course, several of the best, most innovative course projects have been extended beyond the semester until the work was in publishable form. If you have a great idea and are willing to work hard to get it published, the course project provides a great opportunity to refine the idea and get started developing the project with regular feedback and advising from the instructor.

Ways to publish your course paper online as a technical report:

Looking for a funded Research Assistant (RA) position? I typically do not offer RA positions until a student has taken a course with me and demonstrated their abilities and drive to succeed. While the availability of an RA position depends on available funding, I am often looking for new RAs to help me build the next generation of search engines.


Prerequisites: No prior knowledge is required; all interested and motivated students are invited to attend. This course typically attracts significant student participation across a wide variety of disciplines: information science, computer science, linguistics, electrical engineering, and design studies. Course activities are intended to serve the needs of both (1) those studying to work professionally in the area or conduct research in IR, and (2) non-specialists interested in gaining broader exposure and understanding of human computation and crowdsourcing methods and systems.

Textbook: none required, all readings online

Graduate-level course: undergraduate seniors may enroll only with instructor permission

The course culminates in a public poster session where course projects are presented

Syllabus
Course schedule and readings

Paper ideas from Spring 2011 on IdeaScale