Crowd-Powered Systems

January 19, 2012
2:50 pm - 4:00 pm
Halligan 111
Host: Rob Jacob


Abstract: Algorithms and design drive many innovations in computing, but their reach is limited. However, by looking beyond the user and to the crowd, we can grant interactive systems powerful new capabilities. This talk will present crowd-powered systems: interactive computing systems that embed crowdsourcing and human computation to support high-level conceptual activities such as writing, editing and photo- taking. Underlying these systems are new programming patterns and algorithms to coordinate crowd activity. I will focus mainly on Soylent, a word processor with a crowd inside, which coordinates crowd workers to produce interactive support for condensing and proofreading users' writing. I will also introduce Adrenaline, an exploration into realtime crowdsourcing. Adrenaline can recruit a crowd two seconds after request, complete simple tasks like five-person votes within five seconds, and execute large-scale searches in ten seconds.

Bio: Michael Bernstein is a PhD student in computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research lies at the intersection of computer science, crowdsourcing and social computing: designing interfaces powered by crowds and interfaces enabling new kinds of social interaction. He was awarded the Best Student Paper award at UIST 2010, Best Paper Award at ICWSM 2011, the NSF graduate research fellowship and the Microsoft Research Ph.D. fellowship. His work has appeared in venues like the New York Times and Wired. He earned an S.M. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University.