The American Soldier in World War II launched on Zooniverse

On May 8, the anniversary of Victory in Europe (V-E) Day, we launched The American Soldier in World War II, a crowdsourced transcription project featured on the Zooniverse platform. This project is the result of a year-long collaboration between Virginia Tech’s History and Computer Science departments, University Libraries, the National Archives, and Zooniverse, with funding by the NEH. VT History professor Ed Gitre is the PI. Dr. Luther is Co-PI and technical lead of the project, and Crowd Lab Ph.D. candidate Nai-Ching Wang is the lead developer.

Our launch included a transcribe-a-thon event at multiple physical and online locations and was based in the Athenaeum digital humanities center at VT. In its first 24 hours, the project attracted over 5,000 contributions. More photos of the event are available on VT Department of Computer Science’s Facebook page.

Thanks to our many collaborators and transcribers for making the event a success!

Please check out some of the publicity for the project to learn more:

Placed 3rd at 2018 VTURCS symposium

Congratulations to Crowd Lab undergraduate researcher Anne Hoang for winning 3rd place in the Faculty Choice category at the 2018 Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research in Computer Science (VTURCS) Symposium. There were 37 submissions including 22 capstone projects and 15 research projects.

Anne also won 1st place in the Capstone category and 1st place in the Marston Awards (industry pick) category. Amazing!

The Crowd Lab regularly participates in the VTURCS Symposium. Last year, our teams placed 1st and 3rd in the Faculty Choice category.

Presentation accepted for Collective Intelligence 2018

Our preliminary work on the Civil War Photo Sleuth project, which combines crowdsourcing and face recognition technology to identify unknown American Civil War soldier photos, was accepted to ACM Collective Intelligence 2018 in the most competitive oral presentation category (32% acceptance rate). We’ll be traveling to Zurich, Switzerland to present this work. The extended abstract is available online.

Congratulations to co-authors Crowd Lab Ph.D. student Vikram Mohanty and computer science undergraduate David Thames.

Preston Award for Best STEM Master’s Thesis

Congratulations to Crowd Lab alumna Rachel Kohler for winning the William Preston Society Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis at Virginia Tech. The Preston Award recognizes the best original research with the potential to benefit all people. Rachel won in the STEM category, which includes any field of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics at VT.

According to a VT News article, “The William Preston Society is comprised of former members of the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors and the current president and past presidents of Virginia Tech.”

Rachel graduated from VT in 2017 with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. Her thesis committee was Dr. Luther (chair), Dr. Chris North, and Dr. Mike Horning.

Received ICTAS Junior Faculty Award

Dr. Luther received an Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) Junior Faculty Award. The award includes a two-year, $80,000 grant to support his lab’s research on using crowdsourcing and computer vision to identify people in historical and modern photographs. The co-PI on the grant is Prof. Paul Quigley of Virginia Tech’s History department.

Dr. Luther previously received a $10,000 seed grant from ICTAS to support his research on crowdsourcing and context slices, in collaboration with Dr. Chris North in the Computer Science department.

More details are available in the VT News press release.

Paper accepted to CHI 2018 Sensemaking workshop

Our paper, Crowdsourcing Intelligence Analysis with Context Slices, was accepted to the CHI 2018 Sensemaking in a Senseless World workshop in the most competitive long presentation category (21% acceptance rate). Congratulations to Crowd Lab co-authors Tianyi Li (Ph.D. student) and Asmita Shah (undergraduate researcher), as well as Tianyi’s co-advisor, Dr. Chris North.

Dr. Luther gave the presentation at the conference in Montreal, Canada, in April.

Workshop on Designing Socio-Technical Systems of Truth

Dr. Luther chaired the “Designing Socio-Technical Systems of Truth” workshop at Virginia Tech on March 1-2, 2018.

The workshop brought together over 50 faculty, student, and staff attendees to discuss the role of social technologies in promoting truth and preventing misinformation. Computer Science, History, Sociology, Communication, and Science and Technology Studies were just some of the disciplines represented by presenters.

Events included a weekly reading group, faculty lightning talks, a graduate student poster session and community reception, and several hands-on working sessions.  The workshop also featured invited keynotes by four external speakers: Jay Aronson (Carnegie Mellon), Travis Kriplean (Invisible College), Alice Marwick (UNC Chapel Hill and Data & Society Institute), and Mor Naaman (Cornell Tech).

The workshop was supported by VT’s Center for HCI, ICAT, and Dept. of Computer Science.

More information, including abstracts for the presentations and posters, is available on the workshop website. Tweets and photos are also available on the workshop’s Twitter hashtag, #SystemsOfTruth.