INSPIRE: Teaming Citizen Science with Machine Learning to Deepen LIGO's View of the Cosmos

This newly funded project (INSPIRE 15-47880) will develop a citizen science system to support the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational wave Observatory (aLIGO), the most complicated experiment ever undertaken in gravitational physics. Before the end of this decade it will open up the window of gravitational wave observations on the Universe. However, the high detector sensitivity needed for astrophysical discoveries makes aLIGO very susceptible to noncosmic artifacts and noise that must be identified and separated from cosmic signals.

Focusing attention to improve the performance of citizen science systems: Beautiful images and perceptive observers

This SOCS project (NSF 12-11071) examines strategies for dealing with the flood of digital data that confronts researchers. New techniques, tools and strategies for dealing with massive data sets, whether they consist of vast numbers of base-pair sequences or terabytes of data from all-sky astronomical surveys, present an opportunity to establish a 'fourth paradigm' of scientific discovery, but the task is not easy. In many areas of research, the relentless growth of data sets has led to the adoption of increasingly automated and unsupervised methods of classification.

SoCS: Socially intelligent computing to support citizen science

The SOCS project (NSF grant 09-68470) investigates the capabilities and potential of social computational systems (SoCS) in the context of citizen science. Citizen science projects are a form of social-computational system. Whether it be volunteers playing a role in massive, distributed sensing networks exploring the migration of birds, or applying their unique human perceptual skills to searching the skies, human motivation and performance is fundamental to system performance. However, undertaking science through a social computational system brings unique challenges.

Theory and Design of Virtual Organizations for Citizen Science

This completed project was a two-phase theory-based study of virtual organizations that enable massive virtual collaboration in scientific research. The virtual organizations studied have a core of scientists and project leaders coordinating the work of a larger number of volunteer contributors, a format called citizen science. The project was directed at advancing the understanding of what constitutes effective citizen science virtual organizations and under what conditions citizen science virtual organizations can enable and enhance scientific and education production and innovation.

Looking for PhD students!

I am interested in finding new PhD students interested in work and technology, especially work and intelligent machines. You can find more information on the program here. Please get in touch if you have questions or are thinking about applying.

Researchers turn to “citizen scientists” for help identifying gravitational waves

University of Alabama has a nice article about Gravity Spy.

Other popular press coverage: Citizen scientists join search for gravitational waves, Symmetry Magazine.


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