Crowd-Powered Systems

Spring 2017 :: ECE 69500 :: Purdue University


Tue/Thu, 12:00-1:15 PM, ME 1012
1/10/2017 to 4/28/2017 – except no class Tue 3/21


Prof. Alexander J. Quinn
Office hours: M-F, 1:15-2:15 PM, MSEE 262 (except 1/13, 1/27, 2/13, spring break, 3/20-21, 4/3-4)


Crowdsourcing and human computation have enabled systems that combine human intelligence and creativity with machine computation. It is now possible to "automate" tasks that could not previously be computed to adequate accuracy/quality, and yet would be inefficient to do with human labor alone. These methods are now used extensively in industry.

In this course, you will learn the principles and practice of building systems that leverage crowd labor. Since these systems are generally web-based, you will need to learn the basic tools of web application development. In the first half of the semester, you will do small "warm-up" exercises designed to help you get up to speed. These will cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Flask, and Tornado. At the same time, you will plan your project, write a short proposal, and start building your system. In the second half of the semester, you will focus on building your project. Throughout the entire semester, there will be readings to help you understand the state of the art, as well as the current challenges facing this area.


Some programming experience is expected.

As a rule-of-thumb, if you have contributed ≥1000 lines of your code to any single project, you should be able to learn anything you need for this class.  This could be in any programming language (e.g., C, C++, Java, Python, etc.).