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Algorithms and theory47205 (247)
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Neha Gupta, David Martin, Ben Hanrahan, and Jacki O'Neill

Previous studies on Amazon Mechanical Turk (AMT), the most well-known marketplace for microtasks, show that the largest population of workers on AMT is U.S. based, while the second largest is based in India. In this paper, we present insights from an ethnographic study conducted in India to introduce some of these workers or ‘Turkers’ – who they are, how they work and what turking means to them. We examine the work they do to maintain their reputations and their work-life balance. In doing this, we...

Publication details
Date: 9 November 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM Conference on Supporting Groupwork
Abhimanyu Das, Sreenivas Gollapudi, Arindam Khan, and Renato Paes Leme

Social networks serve as important platforms for users to express, exchange and form opinions on various topics. Several opinion dynamics models have been proposed to characterize how a user iteratively updates her expressed opinion based on her innate opinion and the opinion of her neighbors. The extent to how much a user is influenced by her neighboring opinions, as opposed to her own innate opinion, is governed by a measure of her “conformity’ parameter. Characterizing this degree of conformity for...

Publication details
Date: 1 October 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: Proc. Intl. Conference on Social Networks (COSN)
Edith Cohen, Daniel Delling, Thomas Pajor, and Renato F. Werneck

Closeness centrality, first considered by Bavelas (1948), is an importance measure of a node in a network which is based on the distances from the node to all other nodes. The classic definition, proposed by Bavelas (1950), Beauchamp (1965), and Sabidussi (1966), is (the inverse of) the average distance to all other nodes.

We propose the first highly scalable (near linear-time processing and linear space overhead) algorithm for estimating, within a small relative error, the classic closeness...

Publication details
Date: 29 August 2014
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Choose...
Number: MSR-TR-2014-71
Stuart Schechter and Cristian Bravo-Lillo

We surveyed 3,539 workers on Amazon's Mechanical Turk to gauge their response to five scenarios describing scientific experiments---including one scenario based on Facebook's emotional contagion experiment. Respondents who reported being already aware of Facebook's experiment responded very differently to the scenario based on it than those who reported being unaware, so we focused on 2,102 respondents who reported being unaware. We asked these respondents whether they would want someone they cared...

Publication details
Date: 15 July 2014
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Choose...
Number: MSR-TR-2014-97
Winter Mason, Siddharth Suri, and Duncan J. Watts

Cooperation in repeated games has been widely studied in experimental settings; however, the duration over which players participate in such experiments is typically confined to at most hours, and often to a single game. Given that in real world settings people may have years of experience, it is natural to ask how behavior in cooperative games evolves over the long run. Here we analyze behavioral data from three distinct games involving 571 individual experiments conducted over a two-year interval....

Publication details
Date: 8 June 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Daniel G. Goldstein, R. Preston McAfee, and Siddharth Suri

The “wisdom of crowds” refers to the phenomenon that aggregated predictions from a large group of people can rival or even beat the accuracy of experts. In domains with substantial stochastic elements, such as stock picking, crowd strategies (e.g. indexing) are difficult to beat. However, in domains in which some crowd members have demonstrably more skill than others, smart sub-crowds could possibly outperform the whole. The central question this work addresses is whether such smart subsets of a crowd...

Publication details
Date: 8 June 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Abhimanyu Das, Sreenivas Gollapudi, and Emre Kıcıman

One of the key factors guiding the act of communication between individuals in a social network is the desire to persuade or influence one another. In this paper, we study the interplay between a person writing (selecting) a message to send to another and the effect that the message has on its recipient. Using large-scale online user studies, we focus on a single effect (persuading or changing a recipient’s opinion about a topic) and its relationship to various measurable properties of the written...

Publication details
Date: 1 May 2014
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2014-69
Alex Bigelow, Steven Drucker, Danyel Fisher, and Miriah Meyer

In recent years many popular data visualizations have emerged that are created largely by designers whose main area of expertise is not computer science. Designers generate these visualizations using a handful of design tools and environments. To better inform the development of tools intended for designers working with data, we set out to understand designers' challenges and perspectives. We interviewed professional designers, conducted observations of designers working with data in the lab, and...

Publication details
Date: 1 May 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Benjamin Livshits and Todd Mytkowicz

Crowd-sourcing is increasingly being used for providing responses to polls and surveys on a large scale. Companies such as SurveyMonkey and Instant.ly are attempting to make crowd-sourced surveys commonplace, by making it easy to pose survey questions using an easy-to-use UI and retrieve results with a relatively low latency by having dedicated crowds at their disposal.

In this paper we argue that the ease with which polls can be created conceals an inherent difficulty: the survey maker does not...

Publication details
Date: 15 April 2014
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2014-50
Rakesh Agrawal, Behzad Golshan, and Evimaria Terzi

Given a class of large number of students, each exhibiting a different ability level, how can we form teams of students so that the expected performance of team members improves due to team participation? We take a computational perspective and formally define two versions of such team-formation problem: the MaxTeam and the MaxPartition problems. The first asks for the identification of a single team of students that improves the performance of most of the participating team members. The second asks for...

Publication details
Date: 1 March 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Aaron Shaw, Haoqi Zhang, Andres Monroy-Hernandez, Sean Munson, Benjamin Mako Hill, Elizabeth Gerber, Peter Kinnaird, and Patrick Minder
Publication details
Date: 1 March 2014
Type: Article
Publisher: ACM
Meredith Ringel Morris

In this paper, we present the first formal study of how mothers of young children (aged three and under) use social networking sites, particularly Facebook and Twitter, including mothers’ perceptions of which SNSes are appropriate for sharing information about their children, changes in post style and frequency after birth, and the volume and nature of child-related content shared in these venues. Our findings have implications for improving the utility and usability of SNS tools for mothers of young...

Publication details
Date: 1 February 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Benjamin Livshits and Todd Mytkowicz

Crowd-sourcing is increasingly being used for providing answers to online polls and surveys. However, existing systems, while taking care of the mechanics of attracting crowd workers, poll building, and payment, provide little that would help the survey-maker or pollster to obtain statistically significant results devoid of even the obvious selection biases.

This paper proposes InterPoll, a platform for programming of crowd-sourced polls. Polls are expressed as embedded LINQ queries, whose...

Publication details
Date: 7 January 2014
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2014-3
Michael Massimi and Carman Neustaedter

Video chat programs for home and personal use (e.g., Skype) are becoming increasingly popular for doing more than simply conversing with a remote friend or family member. This creates a need to understand the broader use of video chat that moves “beyond talking heads.” In this paper, we investigate one emergent scenario: major life events where video chat is used to connect remote participants to a ritual gathering (e.g., a wedding, a funeral). To explore this scenario, we conducted an online survey...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Munmun De Choudhury, Andres Monroy-Hernandez, and Gloria Mark

Social media platforms have emerged as prominent information sharing ecosystems in the context of a variety of recent crises, ranging from mass emergencies, to wars and political conflicts. We study affective responses in social media and how they might indicate desensitization to violence experienced in communities embroiled in an armed conflict. Specifically, we examine three established affect measures: negative affect, activation, and dominance as observed on Twitter in relation to a number of...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Proceedings
Publisher: ACM
Haoqi Zhang, Andres Monroy-Hernandez, Aaron Shaw, Sean A. Munson, Elizabeth Gerber, Benjamin Mako Hill, Peter Kinnaird, Shelly D. Farnham, and Patrick Minder

Many celebrate the Internet's ability to connect individuals and facilitate collective action toward a common goal. While numerous systems have been designed to support particular aspects of collective action, few systems support participatory, end-to-end collective action in which a crowd or community identifies opportunities, formulates goals, brainstorms ideas and develops plans, mobilizes, and takes action. To explore the possibilities and barriers in supporting such interactions, we introduce...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: AAAI
Michael Massimi, Richard Harper, and Abigail Sellen

Planning a wedding is arguably one of the most complicated collaborative tasks people ever undertake. Despite the commonplace use of technologies in “wedding work,” little research has looked at this from an HCI perspective. Based on an interview study, we illustrate how technology is used to deliver the sought-after fantasy and a practical, yet entertaining, affair. We identify four ways that technology helps people do this: (a) by allowing much of the practical planning work to become “invisible;” (b)...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Michael Massimi, Jackie L. Bender, Holly O. Witteman, and Osman H. Ahmed

Online health communities are places where people can come together in order to exchange social support at a particular point in an individual's life. There are, however, relatively few accounts that look across multiple communities across the lifespan. In this paper, we reflect on four case studies of research on different online health communities in order to identify patterns in how individuals selectively adopt, use, and disengage from these communities throughout their lives. We argue that users...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Robert Douglas Ferguson, Michael Massimi, Emily Anne Crist, and Karyn Anne Moffatt

Hospice is a medical setting for patients with terminal illnesses where active treatment is withdrawn in favor of providing comfort and dignity at the end of life. Providing comfort extends beyond managing physical pain to include social, emotional, spiritual, and environmental aspects of care. We studied technology's role in achieving these multifaceted dimensions of comfort through interviews with 16 family members of past hospice patients. Comfort was an ongoing pursuit, requiring the involvement of...

Publication details
Date: 1 January 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Edward Cutrell, Srinath Bala, Andrew Cross, Naren Datha, Rahul Kumar, Madhusudan Parthasarathy, Siddharth Prakash, Sriram Rajamani, William Thies, Chetan Bansal, and Aldo John

Students in the developing world are frequently cited as being among the most important beneficiaries of online education initiatives such as massive open online courses (MOOCs). However, very little research has actually been done on the effects of online education in developing contexts. We describe a case study of our experience building and deploying Massively Empowered Classroom (MEC), an experimental project designed to explore how online educational content and techniques in blended learning can...

Publication details
Date: 31 December 2013
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Technical Report
Number: MSR-TR-2013-127
Nimmi Rangaswamy and Melissa Densmore

This paper seeks to bring scrutiny to ‘Jugaad’ as concept of user driven innovation in the context of ICTD research. We collate and organize a variety of definitions denoting adoption and innovation of technology in constrained eco systems. We attempt to bring a nuanced understanding of contextual processes supporting or hindering use adoption and innovation of ICTs by probing the multi-meanings of Jugaad as ground-up processes of technology adoption

Publication details
Date: 1 December 2013
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM
Monojit Choudhury, Ranjita Bhagwan, and Kalika Bali

Hindi film music, which is commonly referred to as Bollywood music, is one of the most popular forms of music in the world today. One of the reasons for its popularity has been the willingness of Bollywood composers to adopt and be influenced by various musical forms including Western pop, jazz, rock, and classical music. However, till date, we are unaware of any systematic quantitative analysis of how this genre has changed and evolved over the years since its inception in the early 20th century. In...

Publication details
Date: 1 November 2013
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: International Society for Music Information Retrieval
Rakesh Agrawal

This paper summarizes the results of our recent investigations into how information propagates, how people assimilate information, and how people form relationships to gain information in Internet-centric social settings. It includes key ideas related to the role of the nature of information items in information diffusion as well as the notion of receptivity on part of the receiver and how it affects information assimilation and opinion formation. It describes a system that incorporates availability,...

Publication details
Date: 1 November 2013
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Technical Report
Number: MSR-TR-2013-115
Nina Mishra, Daniel Romero, and Panayiotis Tsaparas

Link structure in online networks carry varying semantics. For example, Facebook links carry social semantics while LinkedIn links carry professional semantics. It has been shown that online networks are useful for predicting users’ future activities. In this paper, we introduce a new related problem: given a collection of networks, how can we learn the relative importance of each network for predicting user activities? We propose a framework that allows us to quantify the relative predictive value of...

Publication details
Date: 27 October 2013
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM)
Nimmi Rangaswamy and Payal Arora

Photoshopping of newlyweds, downloading the latest movies, teens flirting on social network sites and virtual gaming may seem like typical behavior in the West; yet in the context of a village in Mali or a slum in Mumbai, it is seen as unusual and perhaps an anomaly in their new media practice. In recent years, some studies (Ganesh, 2010; Mitra, 2005; Arora, 2010; 2012; Rangaswamy & Cutrell, 2012; Kavoori, Chadha & Arceneaux, 2006) have documented these leisure-oriented behaviors in the global...

Publication details
Date: 1 September 2013
Type: Article
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