Guest Lecture on Crowdsourcing Change by Hari Sundaram

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Crowdsourcing Change: The Role of Computing in Tackling Major Societal Problems

Hari SundaramSpeaker: Hari Sundaram, Associate Professor

3:15 PM, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Electrical Engineering Building (EEB), Room 303
University of Washington, Seattle campus


Many of the pressing challenges facing contemporary society concern sustainability and public health. For example, how can sustainable behaviors—such as reducing individual energy consumption—be encouraged? How can participation in activities that reduce overall healthcare costs—such as compliance with preventive care routines and leading healthy lifestyles—be supported? Common to these challenges is a fundamental question: how can we facilitate cooperative behavior adoption on a large scale?

The conditions for self-governance found in small groups do not apply in large populations. As a result, the question of how cooperation can be facilitated in large populations remains unanswered and is the focus of my work. In this talk, I shall discuss the computational tools needed—analysis of social signals from networks and knowledge of human activity from physical sensors—to engender cooperation in heterogenous populations. I shall discuss in depth our work on discovering homogenous groups, and discuss in brief two data science challenges: network sampling, compressed sensing techniques to analyze large scale network changes. Central to our framework of cooperative behavior is the idea that individuals are resource constrained and these constraints affect how they participate in activities. I shall also present connections between information theory and networks: the social cooperative capacity of a group, and the design of signaling schemes for cooperation.

About the Speaker

Hari Sundaram is an associate professor with the School of Arts Media and Engineering, as well with the School of Computing, Information and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. He received his PhD from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University in 2002. His research and teaching focus on using network analysis tools and sensors to understand and influence individual decision making. His research has won several best paper awards from the IEEE and the ACM. He also received the Eliahu I. Jury Award for best PhD dissertation in 2002 . He is an associate editor for ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications and Applications and IEEE Multimedia.