Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Kevin Crowston will present “SoCS: Socially intelligent computing to support citizen science,” a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Crowston’s presentation is part of the Brown Bag Lecture Series and will take place at noon on Friday, November 12 in the Katzer Room, 347 Hinds Hall.

Crowston’s project will investigate the capabilities and potential of social computational systems (SoCS) in the context of citizen science, that is, research projects involving “partnerships between volunteers and scientists that answer real-world questions.” The projects to be studied include a core of scientists and project leaders coordinating work of a large number of distributed volunteer contributors in a variety of scientific disciplines.

Whether it be volunteers playing a role in massive, distributed sensing networks exploring the migration of birds, or applying unique human perceptual skills to searching the skies, human motivation and performance are fundamental to SoCS system performance. To understand and address the unique challenges of undertaking science through SoCS, Crowston’s proposal presents a three-phase study of SoCS supporting scientific research, grounded in group theory and rooted empirically in case studies and action research.

Crowston earned an A.B. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University in 1984 and a Ph.D. in Information Technologies from MIT in 1991. His research examines new ways of organizing made possible by the use of information technology. In addition to the program outlined in the upcoming Brown Bag, He is currently a principal investigator on two other NSF-sponsored programs, including “VOSS: Theory and Design of Virtual Organizations for Citizen Science” and “Collaborative Research: CRI: CRD: Data and analysis archive for research on Free and Open Source Software and its Development.”