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.

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.

Debuted Civil War Photo Sleuth software in Gettysburg

Dr. Luther unveiled our new Civil War Photo Sleuth software to the public for the first time in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The software uses crowdsourcing and face recognition to identify unknown people in photos from the American Civil War era.

On Friday, Dr. Luther demonstrated the software at an invitation-only event for Civil War photography experts at the Adams County Historical Society. On Saturday and Sunday, he joined Ron Coddington (pictured below), editor and publisher of Military Images magazine, at the 44th Annual GBPA Civil War Artifact and Collectibles Show. We had a table set up showcasing the Civil War Photo Sleuth software and invited collectors to bring their historical photos to us for scanning and real-time analysis and identification. Many took us up on the offer, and by the end of the weekend, Civil War Photo Sleuth had created quite a buzz. More photos of the event are posted on the Military Images Facebook Page.

We look forward to improving the software based on the feedback we received and preparing for a wider release. Meanwhile, anyone interested in beta testing can sign up on a new website for the project,

Rachel Kohler successfully defends MS thesis

Rachel Kohler, a computer science MS student advised by Dr. Luther, successfully defended her master’s thesis today. Rachel conducted interviews with geolocation experts that led to an accepted poster at the upcoming Collective Intelligence 2017 conference. She then led the development of GroundTruth, a software tool that uses crowdsourcing to support expert geolocators. She also conducted several experiments showing that crowds can substantially narrow down an expert’s search space. Congrats Rachel!

Panel accepted for American Historical Association 2018

Dr. Luther’s panel, titled “The Design, Development and Implementation of Funded Transdisciplinary Digital History Projects: Illustrative Cases of K-16 Collaboration in Action,” was accepted for the 132nd annual meeting of the American Historical Association, to be held January 4-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The panel will introduce two funded digital history projects, including Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era, that enhance the teaching of historical inquiry in K-16 settings. The panelists include Craig Perrier (Fairfax Public Schools), Paul Quigley (Virginia Tech), David Hicks (Virginia Tech), Kelly McPherson (Montgomery County Public Schools), Dr. Luther, and David Cline (Virginia Tech).

Presented at 2017 ICAT Creativity & Innovation Day

The Crowd Lab was well represented at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) Creativity & Innovation Day, an annual event at VT full of demos, presentations, and artworks that represent the cutting-edge intersection of art, design, science, and engineering.

We presented demos for five of our projects: Civil War Photo Sleuth, Connect the Dots, GroundTruth, Incite, and Personalized Paths. It was a pleasure to share our work with many VT faculty members, staff, students, and members of the Blacksburg community.