HCI Seminar Series

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MIT CSAIL HCI Seminar Series
Cliff Lampe- "Earn Your Bull$&!*": User Lifecycles in Social Media
Social media sites, or online communities, depend on user participation and contribution in order to be viable. Users contribute comments, articles, pictures and more to flesh out the architectures these sites provide. Some users take on leadership roles in user-generated content communities, becoming mentors and administrators of the sites. There's a debate about whether these contributors are socialized in some way to become valuable participants in the site, or whether they come to the sites already primed for the role they will eventually take.

Andy Ko- Defect Detection for the Wayward Web
The web is becoming an increasingly popular place for interactive software applications. And with good reason: it is platform-independent, information-rich, and highly flexible, enabling developers to rapidly prototype and deploy ideas with a range of dynamic languages such as JavaScript, Python, and PHP. Unfortunately, in trade for this flexibility, defects are often difficult to find without significant testing efforts. In this talk, I discuss two tools that detect defects in web applications automatically by exploiting patterns in how developers write web applications.

John Riedl- The Effects of Diversity on Productivity, Member Withdrawal, and Decision Quality in a Social Production Community
The "wisdom of crowds" argument emphasizes the importance of diversity in online collaborations, such as open source projects and Wikipedia. However, decades of research on diversity in offline work groups have painted an inconclusive picture. On the one hand, the broader range of insights from a diverse group can lead to improved outcomes. On the other hand, individual differences can lead to conflict and diminished performance. We examine the effects of group diversity on the amount of work accomplished and on member withdrawal behaviors in the context of WikiProjects. We find that increased diversity in experience with Wikipedia increases group productivity and decreases member withdrawal -- up to a point.

Nicole Ellison- The benefits of Facebook “Friends”: The social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices
This talk will provide an overview of research exploring the social capital implications of social network site use. Specifically, I will report on a program of research exploring Facebook use and the ways in which the site is used to gather information, deepen relationships, garner social support, and access diverse information and perspectives. Building upon our 2007 article in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007), we extend our findings regarding the link between Facebook use and social capital to explore specific behaviors that are most predictive of social capital accrual.

Adam Perer- Making Sense of Social Networks
The increasing amount of digital information in society has ushered in a golden age for data analysis. Ample data encourages users to conduct more frequent exploratory data analyses to explain scientific, social, cultural and economic phenomena. However, access to data is important but ultimately insufficient without understanding patterns, identifying outliers, or discovering gaps. Modern databases are simply too large to examine without computational tools that allow users to process and interact with the data. A growing trend in data analysis is sensemaking of linked data as networks. My research focuses on understanding these (social) networks because they are topical, emerging and an inherently challenging process for analysts.

Kuang Chen- Data in the First Mile
In many disadvantaged communities worldwide, local low-resource organizations strive to improve health, education, infrastructure, and economic opportunity. These organizations struggle with becoming data-driven because their communities still live outside of the reach of modern data infrastructure, which is crucial for delivering effective modern services. In this talk, we summarize some of the human, institutional and technical challenges that hinder effective data management in "first mile" communities.

Joel Brandt- Example-Centric Programming
The Web is fundamentally changing programming. The increased prevalence of online source code—shared in code repositories, documentation, blogs and forums—enables programmers to build applications opportunistically by iteratively searching for, modifying, and combining examples. These Web resources are a ubiquitous and essential part of programming: in one of our studies, programmers spent 19% of their time consuming relevant online information. But our development tools haven't yet embraced these changes. How do we leverage the latent opportunity of Web-based example code in the next generation of programming tools? My talk will explore the roles that online resources play in creating software.

Ken Perlin- The Future of Human/Computer Interfaces
What will the interface between people and computers look like in five years? In ten years? In twenty five years? Will we still have screens? Keyboards? Will we all be seeing Princess Leia in a beam of light? Based on current trends and inspired guesswork, we will go together on a tour of the future.

Jennifer 8. Lee- Technology's Role in the Changing Media Landscape: Innovating the News
If journalism is the immune system of a healthy democracy, then the white blood cells have historically been the newspapers, television stations and magazines who have focused their energies on revealing corruption and abuse of power. Now that cell count is dropping due to the cataclysmic shift in media. How will that functionality be replaced? In a wide-ranging discussion that looks at WikiLeaks, YouTube, local wikis, emerging revenue models, open source technology, and data, Jennifer 8. Lee will share some of her insights from her role at the Knight News Challenge, which awards up to $5 million annually for news innovation. Specifically she can discuss what is the role of technologists can play in the new infrastructure.

Mira Dontcheva- Graphic Design Tasks and the Web
The Web is an increasingly important part of everyday life. Today, the Web is no longer just used for making travel plans, reading the news, and connecting to social networks. It's part of almost every task. But some tasks are better suited for current Web infrastructures. For example, programming is text-oriented which means that programmers can make use of general purpose search and browsing interfaces. In contrast, graphic design is a visual task and graphic designers often struggle to use the Web to accomplish tasks. In this talk I will describe our research with graphic designers and discuss major challenges and opportunities for Web tools for graphic designers.