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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 CrowdFlower 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.

Check out the excellent final projects from last year’s class.

The class will be offered in Spring 2019.

Course number
NETS 213 - students from all majors are welcome!
Chris Callison-Burch
Teaching Assistants
Course Staff
Discussion Forum
Time and place
Spring 2016, MWF 2-3PM, LRSM Auditorium
Office Hours
See calendar page
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
Everyone can have 5 free late days without penalty. After you have used your free late days, you will lose 20% per day (or fraction thereof) that your assignment is submitted late. The final project will have its own late day policy.
Course materials
CrowdFlower has generously provided each student with $50 credit on their platform. Students should expect to spend an additional $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.