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Crowdsourcing and human computation are emerging fields that sit squarely at the intersection of economics and computer science. They examine how people can be used to solve complex tasks that are currently beyond the capabilities of artificial intelligence algorithms. Online marketplaces like Mechanical Turk and Figure Eight provide an infrastructure that allows micropayments to be given to people in return for completing human intelligence tasks. This opens up previously unthinkable possibilities like people being used as function calls in software. We will investigate how crowdsourcing can be used for computer science applications like machine learning, next-generation interfaces, and data mining. Beyond these computer science aspects, we will also delve into topics like the sharing economy, prediction markets, how businesses can capitalize on collective intelligence, and the fundamental principles that underlie democracy and other group decision-making processes.

NETS 213 will be offered in Spring 2019! The lectures will be Tuesday and Thursday 3-4:30pm. To request permission to the enroll in the course, you can sign up for the waitlist, starting on Monday Oct 29.
Course number
NETS 213 - students from all majors are welcome!
Chris Callison-Burch
Teaching Assistants
Course Staff
Discussion Forum
Time and place
Spring 2019, Tuesdays and Thursdays 3-4:30pm, Location TBA
Office Hours
CIS 120 or prior programming experience
Course Readings
Each lecture has an accompanying set of academic papers
This is a project-based course. Instead of exams, you will do a series of hands-on assignments and a final project.
  • Weekly assignments (45%)
  • Final project (45%)
  • Peer grading (5%)
  • Participation (5%)
Late day policy
Each student has five free “late days”. Homeworks can be submitted at most two days late. If you are out of late days, then you will not be able to submit your homework. One “day” is defined as anytime between 1 second and 24 hours after the homework deadline. The intent of the late day policy it to allow you to take extra time due to unforseen circumstances like illnesses or family emergencies, and for forseeable interruptions like on campus interviewing and religious holidays. You do not need to ask permission to use your late days. No additional late days are granted.
Course materials
Students should expect to spend around $50-$100 of their own money on CrowdFlower or MTurk or other crowdsourcing platforms. If this will cause you undue financial hardship, please let the instructor know.