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CACM Research Highlight: AutoMan Platform for Integrating Human-Based and Digital Computation

Communications of the ACM

The June 2016 issue of the Communications of the ACM (CACM) features a paper by CICS PLASMA Lab researchers Dan Barowy (UMass Amherst CICS PhD student), Charlie Curtsinger (UMass Amherst CICS PhD alum, now a professor at Grinnell College), Emery Berger (UMass Amherst CICS faculty), and Andrew McGregor (UMass Amherst CICS faculty) entitled "AutoMan: A Platform for Integrating Human-Based and Digital Computation."

The paper presents a new domain-specific programming language, AutoMan, which integrates human-based computations into a standard programming language as function calls that can be intermixed freely with traditional, CPU-based, computations. AutoMan addresses the challenges of harnessing human-based computation at scale, opening the door for increased collaborations between humans and computers and allowing each to focus on the types of computations they do best.

The paper is preceded by one-page "Technical Perspective" summary of the article and its significance written by Siddharth Suri of Microsoft Research who observes that AutoMan's ability to "express human computation and interleave human and machine computation opens up interesting new research directions in human computation and organizational dynamics."

Each month, the CACM publishes one or two "Research Highlight" papers chosen from across all of Computer Science.  These papers are intended to showcase cutting-edge work in various sub-disciplines of computer science research for the wider tech audience.