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Colloquium - McDonald

Social Computational Systems: A Research Agenda for HCC
University of Washington
2/7/2012
3:30pm-4:30pm

The rise of large-scale systems that allow a diverse community of individuals to each contribute their unique talents, perspectives and skills has necessitated a in how we think about the relationship between people and computing. Systems like Wikipedia, PatientsLikeMe, InnoCentive, or Mechanical Turk illustrate the potential for these new systems to interleave the talents of people and machines to begin solving problems that neither people nor machines can solve alone. I define these types of systems as Social Computational Systems (SoCS). One aspect of SoCS is that any single disciplinary stance (computational, behavioral, or social) is insufficient to elaborate characteristics for which we must account when designing and building future SoCS.

In the talk I claim that the paradigm of Human Centered Computing (HCC) is shifting to encompass larger numbers of connected participating users and, as a result, SoCS is important to the future of HCC. I outline a small selection of prior research that illustrates a progression of my own research thinking about how to study, characterize, design and build systems where computation and people are essential to the way the systems perform. I illustrate working in a disciplinary intersection through a study that applies machine learning techniques to understand how members of one large online community identify behavioral patterns of other members of the community. The talk concludes by outlining key challenges for a Social Computational Systems research agenda.

Dr. David W. McDonald is an associate professor in The Information School at University of Washington. Dr. McDonald's research focuses on the design and implementation of systems that support large-scale collaboration. He has published research on ubiquitous sensing for behavior change, collaboration in distributed contributor systems, collaborative authoring, recommendation systems, and public use of large screen displays. His research interests span Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) topic areas. Dr. McDonald earned his PhD in Information and Computer Science at the University of California, Irvine. At UC Irvine he was part of the Computing, Organizations, Policy and Society (CORPS) group. He worked at FX Palo Alto Laboratory in the Personal and Mobile technology group and at AT&T Labs in the Human Computer Interaction group. Dr. McDonald recently finished serving as a Program Director for the Human Centered Computing (HCC), Network Science and Engineering (NetSE), and Social Computational Systems (SoCS) programs at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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