Notable Paper Award at HCOMP 2017

Adam Kalai, Jeff Nichols, and Steven Dow presenting Notable Paper Award to Kurt Luther at HCOMP 2017

Our paper on crowdsourced image geolocation and diagramming won the Notable Paper Award at HCOMP 2017. Congrats to Crowd Lab alums Rachel Kohler and John Purviance, co-authors of the paper, for this recognition. In the photo above, Dr. Luther receives the award certificate on behalf of his co-authors from Adam Kalai and Steven Dow (HCOMP 2017 co-chairs) and Jeff Nichols (Awards committee).

You can read the award-winning paper, Supporting Image Geolocation with Diagramming and Crowdsourcing, in the online proceedings.

Second GroupSight workshop at HCOMP 2017

People sitting around a poster board with sticky notes on it

Dr. Luther, along with Danna Gurari (UT Austin), Genevieve Patterson (Brown University and Microsoft Research New England), and Steve Branson (Caltch), co-organized the second GroupSight Workshop on Human Computation for Image and Video Analysis at HCOMP 2017.

The workshop featured two keynote speakers, Meredith Ringel Morris (Microsoft Research) and Walter Lasecki (University of Michigan), along with seven paper presentations, a poster session, break-out groups, and a sponsored lunch. At the conclusion of the workshop, Dr. Luther handed out the Best Paper and Best Paper Runner-Up awards.

For more details, check out the Follow the Crowd blog post written by Dr. Luther. There will also be a short write-up in AI Magazine.

GraphSpace published in Bioinformatics journal


Our work on GraphSpace, an online hub where scientists can share network data, was published in Bioinformatics journal. The title of the article is, GraphSpace: stimulating interdisciplinary collaborations in network biology. The authors include Dr. Luther, his collaborator Dr. T.M. Murali, and Crowd Lab alum Divit Singh.

Here’s the abstract for the article:

Networks have become ubiquitous in systems biology. Visualization is a crucial component in their analysis. However, collaborations within research teams in network biology are hampered by software systems that are either specific to a computational algorithm, create visualizations that are not biologically meaningful, or have limited features for sharing networks and visualizations. We present GraphSpace, a web-based platform that fosters team science by allowing collaborating research groups to easily store, interact with, layout and share networks.

This work was partly funded by our NIH Big Data to Knowledge grant.

Paper accepted for GroupSight workshop at HCOMP 2017

Our paper on GroundTruth, a system that allows experts to collaborate with crowds on image geolocation tasks, was accepted for the second GroupSight workshop at HCOMP 2017. Congratulations to Crowd Lab alumni Rachel Kohler and John Purviance, co-authors on the accepted paper.

Here’s the abstract for the paper:

Geolocation, the process of identifying the specific location where a photo or video was taken, is an important task in verifying evidence for investigations in journalism, national security, human rights, and other domains. However, experts typically perform geolocation work as a time-consuming, manual process. This paper introduces GroundTruth, a web-based system that leverages the powerful vision system of crowd workers to support experts in image geolocation tasks. We describe the technical contributions of GroundTruth and present preliminary results from an evaluation with expert geolocators and novice crowds.

For details, please check out the paper and and the corresponding video.

Crowd sleuthing featured on local NPR affiliate


The Crowd Lab’s research on crowdsourced investigations was featured in an article, Crowd Sleuthing: Harnessing the Power of Crowds, by our local NPR affiliate, WVTF & Radio IQ. Dr. Luther is quoted multiple times discussing the lab’s Photo Sleuth and GroundTruth research projects, as well as general potential risks and benefits of crowd sleuthing. The story also includes an accompanying radio broadcast.

Held transcribeathon at Blacksburg Public Library

Dr. Luther and Dr. Paul Quigley hosted a Fourth of July transcribeathon at Blacksburg Public Library to coincide with Independence Day weekend. Ph.D. candidate Nai-Ching Wang and computer science major Liyan Li, both Crowd Lab members, were also on hand to help new users from the local community get started with our Incite software and the Mapping the Fourth of July project. The event also featured a variety of delicious and patriotically themed snacks provided by Andrea Linkous of the CS Department. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped organize!

Held reception for Mapping the Fourth exhibit

We held a well-attended reception at VT’s Newman Library for the opening of our exhibit for Mapping the Fourth of July in the Civil War Era. The exhibit, designed by Scott Fralin and his talented team at VT University Libraries, featured a kiosk to try our Incite software, colorful full-size panels and 3D elements showing historical maps and primary sources about July 4th and the Civil War, a visualization of the project’s many interdisciplinary collaborators, and an introductory video narrated by Paul Quigley:

Another video provides a great overview of the exhibit for those who aren’t able to attend in person. Thanks to Liz McVoy for producing these videos.

More photos of the reception are available on the Mapping the Fourth Facebook page.

Incite featured on local NPR affiliates


WVTF & RADIO IQ, the NPR affiliate for Southwest Virginia, produced a radio segment and accompanying article about our Incite software and the Mapping the Fourth of July project. The story includes quotes by Dr. Luther and Mapping the Fourth project director Dr. Paul Quigley.

Additionally, Richmond’s NPR affiliate produced a different  radio segment and accompanying article about our project a few days later.

Led Creativity & Cognition 2017 Graduate Student Symposium in Singapore

After much preparation, the Creativity & Cognition 2017 Graduate Student Symposium took place on June 27. The event was held at the National Gallery of Singapore. Dr. Luther and Dr. Elizabeth Churchill of Google co-chaired the event. Dr. Luther had to video conference in using Google Hangouts (see photo above) due to flight problems, but otherwise the GSS went off without a hitch. We had 13 talented graduate students working on creativity and computing research join us from universities all over the world. Thanks to Elizabeth and the other conference organizers, the students, and NSF for financial support!