Seminar Announcement

Crowd-based Problem Solving: Steps toward Technology to Support Collaborative Work on Difficult Problems

  • Speaker: Dr. Yla Tausczik,
  • University of Maryland, School of Information
  • Date: Friday, Nov. 13, 2015
  • Time: 1:00pm - 2:00pm
  • Location: Room 325 (NVC)


Innovations in crowdsourcing and online communication enable us to direct large numbers of people toward solving a common problem. Capitalizing on these advances, companies have created platforms to support crowd-based problem solving on a diverse set of problems from research and development (InnoCentive) to data science (Kaggle) to medical diagnosis (CrowdMed) and research mathematics (MathOverflow). In this talk I will discuss the collaborative processes of a community of mathematicians engaged in open collaborative problem solving online. This work aims to understand how communities can coordinate people's efforts and expertise to successfully solve difficult problems. Generalizing from this example, I will discuss the development of a theory of crowd-based problem solving and the design of technology to support problem solving in other nascent areas including personal genomics and use of open data to address civic problems.

Speaker's Biography

Dr. Tausczik is an Assistant Professor in social computing at the University of Maryland, College Park's School of Information. Her research focuses on improving collaboration in peer-production communities such as Wikipedia or Stack Overflow. She works on a variety of questions, including how to enhance computer-mediated communication to make group conversations more efficient and how to design peer-production systems to support distributed problem solving at an unprecedented scale. Through naturalistic observation, field experiments, and surveys she examines social motivations, interactions and communication. Prior to a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon's Human Computer Interaction Institute, she received her PhD in social and personality psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.